Friends of the African Union

We, the African Diaspora in the USA, can be a change Africa needs – now .

FAU Michigan State Chapter

Michigan is a state located in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area (the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River). Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit.

FAU Chapters in Michigan

FAU Detroit organized and managed by Tyresa Steels and President Barry Isaacs

What is now Michigan was first settled by various Native American tribes before being colonized by French explorers in the 17th century and becoming a part of New France. After the defeat of France in the French and Indian War in 1762 the region came under British rule, and was finally ceded to the newly independent United States after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The area was organized as part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Eventually, in 1805, the Michigan Territory was formed, which lasted until it was admitted into the Union on January 26, 1837, as the 26th state.

Though Michigan has come to develop a diverse economy, it is widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, being home to the country’s three major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all located within the Detroit metropolitan area).

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Michigan was 9,922,576 on July 1, 2015, an increase of 0.39% from 9,883,635 recorded at the 2010 United States Census. As of the 2010 American Community Survey for the U.S. Census, the state had a foreign-born population of 592,212, or 6.0% of the total. Michigan has the largest Dutch, Finnish, and Macedonian populations in the United States.

The 2010 Census reported:

In the same year Hispanics or Latinos (of any race) made up 4.4% of the population.  As of 2011, 34.3% of Michigan’s children under the age of one belonged to racial or ethnic minority groups, meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white.

As of 2007 about 300,000 people in Southeastern Michigan trace their descent from the Middle East.[61] Dearborn has a sizeable Arabcommunity, with many Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac, and Lebanese who immigrated for jobs in the auto industry in the 1920s along with more recent Yemenis and Iraqis.

As of 2015, 80% of Michigan’s Japanese population lived in the counties of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne in the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas.[66] As of April 2013, the largest Japanese national population is in Novi, with 2,666 Japanese residents, and the next largest populations are respectively in Ann Arbor, West Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, and Battle Creek. The state has 481 Japanese employment facilities providing 35,554 local jobs. 391 of them are in Southeast Michigan, providing 20,816 jobs, and the 90 in other regions in the state provide 14,738 jobs. The Japanese Direct Investment Survey of the Consulate-General of Japan, Detroit stated that over 2,208 additional Japanese residents were employed in the State of Michigan as of October 1, 2012, than in 2011.

Rank City Population Image
1 Detroit 706,585

Map showing largest Michigan municipalities

2 Grand Rapids 189,815
3 Warren 134,243
4 Sterling Heights 129,880
5 Ann Arbor 114,925
6 Lansing 114,605
7 Flint 101,558
8 Dearborn 97,114
9 Clinton 96,796
10 Livonia 95,958
11 Canton 90,173
12 Westland 83,239
13 Troy 81,508
14 Farmington Hills 80,258
15 Macomb 79,850
16 Kalamazoo 74,743
17 Shelby 73,804
18 Wyoming 72,833
19 Southfield 72,201
20 Waterford 71,707

Largest metropolitan areas in Michigan
Rank Combined Statistical Area Population
1 Detroit 5,318,744
2 Grand Rapids 1,379,237
3 Lansing 534,684
4 Kalamazoo 524,030
5 Saginaw 391,569

1. Highland Park, Michigan (1) 45,260 86.67 % #74
2. Detroit, Michigan (26) % Blacks in Detroit, MI 892,541 82.14 % #113
3. Inkster, Michigan (1) 30,115 67.50 % #303
4. Benton Harbor, Michigan (1) 35,153 57.14 % #505
5. Southfield, Michigan (3) % Blacks in Southfield, MI 82,592 53.92 % #578
6. Pontiac, Michigan (3) % Blacks in Pontiac, MI 66,027 47.89 % #778
7. Oak Park, Michigan (1) 32,493 45.79 % #862
8. Idlewild, Michigan (1) 685 44.52 % #912
9. Hamtramck, Michigan (1) 46,136 43.44 % #959
10. River Rouge, Michigan (1) 10,060 41.66 % #1,039
11. Flint, Michigan (7) % Blacks in Flint, MI 190,176 41.35 % #1,051
12. Ecorse, Michigan (1) 11,088 40.84 % #1,076
13. Covert, Michigan (1) 2,551 36.61 % #1,282
14. Ypsilanti, Michigan (2) % Blacks in Ypsilanti, MI 94,266 26.69 % #1,896
15. Saginaw, Michigan (6) % Blacks in Saginaw, MI 146,262 25.93 % #1,959
16. Marenisco, Michigan (1) 1,158 24.78 % #2,047
17. Romulus, Michigan (1) 29,937 23.58 % #2,149
18. Albion, Michigan (1) 14,815 22.49 % #2,244
19. Shingleton, Michigan (1) 942 21.65 % #2,319
20. Mount Morris, Michigan (1) 24,309 21.53 % #2,336
21. Kincheloe, Michigan (1) 5,075 20.07 % #2,459
22. Baldwin, Michigan (1) 4,551 19.84 % #2,491
23. Mount Clemens, Michigan (1) 17,739 19.55 % #2,526
24. Muskegon, Michigan (5) % Blacks in Muskegon, MI 128,926 18.40 % #2,619
25. Lansing, Michigan (7) % Blacks in Lansing, MI

African-Americans, who came to Detroit and other northern cities in the Great Migration of the early 20th century, form a majority of the population of the city of Detroit and of other cities, including Flint and Benton Harbor.

American economic growth from 2016 through 2116 cannot be sustained without the inclusion of African American businesses and those businesses require an infusion of capital into those businesses.

Absent broad-based institutional investor participation in African America Businesses then minority and immigrant business communities will soon be the new majority of businesses (with a smaller percentage being African American owned) – continued growth in the American economy seems to be impossible, affecting not just minority businesses but putting the nation’s macroeconomy at risk.

Minority-owned firms are surpassing the growth of all U.S. businesses, growing at a rate of 17 percent per year, six times the growth rate of all firms. Minority firms’ sales are growing 34 percent per year – more than twice the rate of all firms.

Let’s take a look at the Black Enterprise 100s, the annual listing of America’s largest black-owned businesses. First published in 1973, the combined annual revenues of the companies on that list was $492 million (an inflation-adjusted $2.6 billion today). Fast forward to our most recent BE 100s report and you’ll find that the 100 largest industrial/service companies generated combined annual revenues of $19.1 billion. This does not include an additional $7.2 billion in annual revenues generated by a separate list of the 60 largest auto dealerships, nor does it include the revenues of companies on additional rankings of the largest black-owned advertising agencies, banks, asset management companies, private-equity firms and investment banks. The nation’s largest black-owned company, World Wide Technology Inc., led by CEO David L. Steward, reported $5 billion in revenues—more than 10 times that of the companies on the original “Top 100” list combined.

World Wide Technology Inc., led by CEO David L. Steward, reported revenues of $5 billion in revenues

Progress in the growth of black entrepreneurship is not limited to the largest U.S. companies. In 1972, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded 195,000 black-owned firms. By 2007 (the most recent census figures available), that number had grown to 1.9 million, of which 6 percent were employer firms generating annual revenues of nearly $1 million each—about the size of the smallest companies on our original Top 100 list. For most of the last two decades, in particular, the growth of black-owned enterprises has outpaced that of mainstream companies.

It’s clear that over the past 40 years, black businesses have grown more rapidly and into a wider array of industries, from tech and food services to engineering and financial services, than at any previous time in American history. This is due in part to barriers to capital, corporate contracts and government contracts being lowered or eliminated by anti-discrimination legislation and equal opportunity efforts as a result of the triumphs of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and the subsequent election of African-American mayors in major cities in the 1970 and 1980s (most notably, Mayor Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. in Atlanta).

Concurrently, and perhaps more significantly, was the ability of African-American entrepreneurs to move beyond marketing to only black consumers, as a result of legal and de facto segregation, to eventually compete in national and even international markets. Through the 1980s, the nation’s largest black-owned businesses were led by companies such as Berry Gordy’s Motown record company in Detroit and John H. Johnson’s Johnson Publishing Company (best known for Ebony and Jet magazines) in Chicago, which catered primarily to black Americans. Today, none of the 10 largest BE 100s companies target African-Americans or any specific ethnic market.

The watershed event in this transition: the landmark $985 million acquisition of Beatrice International Foods by Reginald F. Lewis in 1987. The deal created America’s first black-owned company with more than $1 billion in revenues, while serving customers who were not only not African-American, but not American at all—nearly all of its businesses operated in Europe.

Breaking Down Barriers

What is the state of black entrepreneurship today, and what must happen for it to continue to grow and diversify nationally, as well as globally? The challenges are many, and include those that all entrepreneurs face. However, the following factors are critical for black entrepreneurs to continue to break barriers and compete:

Entrepreneurial education. Once upon a time, rugged individualism, intrepid determination and subject matter expertise—in food service, publishing or hair-care products manufacturing—was enough to start and grow a significant business. Today, African-American business owners must be students and ultimately masters of entrepreneurship itself, including developing a capacity for raising capital, financial management, strategic planning, brand positioning, mergers and acquisitions and other nuts and bolts of growth beyond mom-and-pop status.

The need to achieve scale. It’s relatively easy to start a business, especially given the popularity of entrepreneurship as a viable and legitimate career objective among younger Americans, and young black Americans in particular. The challenge today for black-owned businesses is achieving the scale necessary to compete, whether for government contracts or to do business with large multinational corporations.

Greater access to financing. Despite the progress made by black entrepreneurs over the past 20 years in particular, very few have been able to gain access to the predominantly white private equity, angel investor and venture capital communities that have driven investment in the innovative new companies and industries currently fueling our economy, especially in the technology space. A growing number of programs and initiatives are working to better prepare black entrepreneurs to establish relationships within those communities, and to do a better job of attracting interest and competing for investment. Perhaps most notable among these is the NewMe Accelerator brought to the national consciousness by CNN’s “Black In America 4: The Promised Land—Silicon Valley.”

The entrepreneurial spirit among African-Americans is more robust than ever, inspired by role models ranging from Oprah Winfrey and Magic Johnson to Daymond John of Shark Tank reality TV fame and hip hop icon Russell Simmons. I personally look forward to the emergence of a new generation of African-American entrepreneurs, with even greater accomplishments to celebrate during the Black History Months to come.


Current growth, technology driven, is deep, but not broad, and shared unequally. A broader participation base is mandatory to sustain growth. African Americans represent 12.5 percent of the U.S. population and 3.6 percent of firms. Latinos represent 11 percent of the population and 4.5 percent of firms. Asian Americans represent 4 percent of the population and 3.5 percent of firms.

America’s economic future is so inextricably linked with minority and immigrant groups that investment in these communities is essential.  Our job is to put African AMericans in the forefront – Michaigan is one of the top ten states that we will make that happen.

Demographic trends point to a disproportionately white retired population, directly or indirectly dependent upon an economic base whose contributors are younger members of diverse racial and ethnic makeup. Women and minorities comprise an increasingly important part of the U.S. economy that continues to rise in all sectors of the labor market. If pension funds and other institutional investors fail to invest in these emerging domestic markets they will be unable to meet the high yield returns on investment necessary to sustain the aging baby boomer population.

Many believe that minority businesses are a driving force behind growth and will be a major segment of the U.S. economy in the 21st century as a transition to a more diverse demographic majority emerges. As it goes now African Americans will be a small percentage of that growth based on current trends.

We will focus on those asset managers who subscribe to the need to tap these sources of higher profits and growth in the minority business sector to sustain yields necessary to cover longer-term liabilities demographically driven by the aging majority boomer population increasingly dependent upon the productivity and growth of an emerging new majority of firms and

The U.S. Economic Development Administration estimated Michigan’s 2014 gross state product to be $417.306 billion, ranking 13th out of the 50 states.[85] According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of October 2015, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is estimated at 5.0%. Michigan became the 24th Right to Work state in U.S. in 2012.

As of 2002, Michigan ranked fourth in the U.S. in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, which includes 70,000 in the automotive industry. Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in overall Research & development (R&D) expenditures in the United States.  Its research and development, which includes automotive, comprises a higher percentage of the state’s overall gross domestic product than for any other U.S. state. The state is an important source of engineering job opportunities. The domestic auto industry accounts directly and indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the U.S.

Top publicly traded
companies in Michigan

according to revenues
with State and U.S. rankings
State Corporation US
1 General Motors 6
2 Ford 9
3 Dow 48
4 Whirlpool 148
5 Lear 174
6 TRW Automotive 175
7 Penske Automotive 177
8 Kellogg 210
9 DTE Energy 245
10 Ally 295
11 Stryker 300
12 Autoliv 312
13 Masco 334
14 Visteon 344
15 BorgWarner 347
16 SpartanNash 359
17 CMS Energy 383
18 Auto-Owners 425
19 Con-way 456
20 Kelly Services 471
21 Meritor 641
22 American Axle 657
23 Cooper-Standard Automotive 707
24 Steelcase 759
25 WABCO 785
26 Wolverine World Wide 806
27 Metaldyne Performance 812
28 Universal Forest 821
29 Diplomat Pharmacy 946
30 Tower International 956

Seven of the state’s universities—Central Michigan University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Oakland University, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University—are classified as research universities by the Carnegie Foundation.

As leading research institutions, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University are important partners in the state’s economy and its University Research Corridor. Michigan’s public universities attract more than $1.5 B in research and development grants each year. The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory is located at Michigan State University. Michigan’s workforce is well-educated and highly skilled, making it attractive to companies. It has the third highest number of engineering graduates nationally.[