In 2014, Jessica published ‘Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice’ based on 15 years of research. Building on the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, it is a path-breaking study of the role of African American cooperatives from the eighteenth-century to the present. 

Jessica’s work reveals the hidden history of African American cooperatives and its role in the social movements for civil rights and economic equality. She puts forward a compelling argument for why such institutions offer a promising route towards self-sufficiency in black communities. Her work brings the cooperative values of equality, openness and solidarity into economics, and challenges the absence of community from neoclassical economics.

How this differs from mainstream economics

Cooperative organisational forms are rarely studied and probably even more so the African-American economy. Friedman (1976 Nobel Prize winner) proposed in 1970 that managers of economic organisations should maximise returns to shareholders and this has dominated the mainstream ever since.

For more on Jessica's work see:

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