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Sears Helped End the Jim Crow Era

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What? I knew Sears was the retail giant of America in the late 19th and early 20th century, but how did they help stop Jim Crow?

By now I'm sure you've heard that Sears is closing its doors after more than 100 years in business. But like me, you probably never thought of Sears as a champion of civil rights, however it makes sense when you think about American economies.

Sears made consumption possible for communities with few stores and fewer choices during the Jim Crow era. People who lived in small communities, especially small rural communities, might only have one choice when it came to purchasing goods -- the general store. Not to say all general stores were racist or evil capitalists who preyed on their customers, but most general stores had a small range of goods and no competition, so prices could be steep and owners might unfairly prey on their consumers
Over at Open Culture they describe Sears' innovation this way: "the democratizing power of the Sears Cata…