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This Day in History – August 10, 1981

Coca Cola funds $34 million into black businesses

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On this day in 1981, Coca Cola funded $34 million into black businesses, ending a national boycott.

Rainbow/PUSH was formed by the merging of two non-profit organizations founded by Jesse Jackson — Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) and the National Rainbow Coalition. The organizations pursued social justice, civil rights, and political activism. PUSH became a very important political organization throughout the 1980’s.

After a nation-wide boycott of Coca Cola, the company announced that they were going to increase “black involvement” in eight areas of the business’s system:

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“Coke will appoint 32 black-owned distributorships over the next year and will commit itself to their success. The soft-drink company’s advertising in black-owned newspapers and magazines will be doubled, to $2 million. The company also will seek a black to join its board of directors.”

Coca Cola’s goal was to eventually fill 12.5 percent of its management positions with black people within the next year.

Aside from donating to Rainbow/PUSH, Coca Cola also increased its deposits and loans with black owned banks and began to make annual contributions of $250,000 to black organizations and businesses.

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