The Program

An Introduction to Urban Capitalism teaches young Black men what they will need to succeed in the world as it is, in the capitalist economy we have.  Students learn what success in capitalism looks like, that most people with money got it by getting a job, getting married and saving.  Students learn  that it’s up to them to protect their interests and emotions and to measure success and failure in dollars and cents.  To never stop building relationships, or looking for opportunities.  To think of themselves as capitalists, to understand what it takes to accumulate their own little pile of wealth.  Students learn how character and value and self-discipline are necessary to succeed in capitalism, and ultimately in their lives.  Students learn the many small skills that most of us take for granted, even how to shake hands.

Students also learn how racism and White Supremacy historically tried to keep African Americans from participating in our capitalist system, from accumulating economic power.  We talk about this history not to make the students angry, but to help them understand its possible impact on their thoughts and actions.  Racism can hold a person back in two ways – it can keep them from being offered opportunities, and it can keep them from acting upon opportunities.  We want the students to understand how the legacy of racism could have crept into their minds, and made them doubt their ability to succeed in mental pursuits – make them doubt their ability to succeed in our capitalist economy.  We want them to understand the internal and external pressures that tell them they can’t and learn to move beyond the pressures to choose the direction of their lives.

Program Structure

The Urban Capitalism program consists of 30 one-hour classes. The frequency and timing of the classes can be adjusted to fit the calendar and schedule of the implementing school or social services organization. The program classes can be offered in school, after school, or as a summer program.

Options include

Once a week over a full school year

Twice a week as a one semester/quarter program

Daily as a six week after school or summer school program


The program is designed to be learned and taught by teachers with experience in job placement, character training and general education and business.  This could be high school teachers or job training specialists.  It can be taught by one teacher or co-taught, with a second teacher with business experience.

Partner Organizations

Numerous organizations have existing staff, facilities and grants to serve at risk populations.  The IUC’s goal is to work with these existing organizations to offer the program and to provide program teachers for in-school classes.