Oct. 6, 2022

600: Black Liberation Through the Marketplace - Hope, Heartbreak, and the Promise of America

If we face America’s racial history squarely, will it mean that the American project is a failure? Conversely, if we think the American project is a worthy endeavor, do we have to lie, downplay or equivocate about our past?

On today's episode, I'm joined by Rachel Ferguson and Marcus Witcher to discuss their new book, "Black Liberation Through the Marketplace: Hope, Heartbreak, and the Promise of America".

If we face America’s racial history squarely, will it mean that the American project is a failure? Conversely, if we think the American project is a worthy endeavor, do we have to lie, downplay or equivocate about our past?

Join us as we discuss the topic of black liberation through the marketplace in an optimistic tone that takes into account both hope and heartbreak in our nation's history.

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Brian Nichols  0:03  
focusing on winning arguments. We're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. If we face America racial history, rarely will it mean that the American project is a failure. Firstly, if we think the American project is worthy of evidence, never do we have to lie downplay or equivocate about our past. We're going to talk about that on today's episode. Happy Thursday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. Thank you for joining us on of course, another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble host and thank you for joining us. Yes from the Stratus ip Studios here in lovely, lovely Eastern Indiana. Don't let outdated technology or your cybersecurity threats put your company at risk head the Brian Nichols show.com forward slash Stratus ip and get your free Business Technology consultation today. One more time, Brian Nichols show.com forward slash Stratus ip Business Technology simplified Alright folks, well hey, thank you for joining us on today's episode looking forward to yes digging into things but first, I want to go ahead and give a shout out to one of our awesome sponsors. And that's going to be right strategies. Now folks, if you are a candidate or if you are a small business owner, and you are looking for some help to reach where both your voters or your customers are spending their time will look no further right strategies. They specialize in the unique challenges that both you're going to face if you're running for political office, but also you're going to face if you're in the world of a small business owner specifically talking about the digital landscape with a proven track record of helping clients win their elections, but also help grow their businesses using smart strategic digital marketing. Right strategies is the perfect partner to help you reach your goals. With their amazing team of experts. They're going to help you save time and money while amplifying your message to help you win your elections and also win in the marketplace. Also, they have a really cool SMS texting tool with smart strategies that will give you an efficient, affordable and smart way to focus your marketing budget by helping you reach 1000s of voters and customers right strategies will help you make a powerful impact on the outcome of your elections and your business growth. from social media management to expert graphic design work to marketing your product or campaign or building your brand, right strategies can put together a plan that makes sense for you and your goals. And hey, guess what they're gonna do so within your budget. So if you want to learn more about how right strategies can help you win your elections and grow your business head, the Brian Nichols show.com forward slash Rs. This is really cool. You can get your free campaign or your free campaign or marketing plan report card. Yeah, and of course, please do me a favor to make sure you get that make sure you let Morgan know and the rest of the right strategies team know that I sent you one more time Brian Nichols show.com forward slash RS amplifying your message where voters and customers spend their time Brian Nichols show.com forward slash Rs. Alright folks, so onto the program today looking forward to uh, yes, digging into specifically what it is that we're going to talk about black liberation through using the marketplace, Rachel Ferguson and Marcus Witcher. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Thanks for joining us.

Marcus Witcher  3:26  
Thanks for having us.

Brian Nichols  3:28  
Absolutely. Well, thank you for for joining me on today's episode, looking forward to discussing Yes, black liberation through the marketplace. Now before we get there. Let's do this. Rachel, do us a favor, introduce yourself to The Brian Nichols Show audience and then maybe we can go into introducing Marcus and then talk about what brought us into writing this book black liberation through the marketplace.

Rachel Ferguson  3:47  
Sure. So Rachel Ferguson, I'm from Concordia University Chicago, my PhD is in philosophy. So I've always been working on the philosophy of politics and economics. And I'm director of the Free Enterprise Center. They're at Concordia, Chicago, but I live in St. Louis, Missouri. So that's me.

Brian Nichols  4:05  
All right, Marcus.

Marcus Witcher  4:07  
Hi, I'm Marcus Witcher. I'm a historian and got my PhD from the University of Alabama and I work specifically in 20th century American economic, intellectual political history. First Book was titled getting right with Reagan. And I'm really excited to have co authored this book Black Liberation to the marketplace with Rachel.

Brian Nichols  4:23  
Awesome. And let's talk about this this book, right black liberation in the market through the marketplace. And this is something that we actually talked about on one of our past episodes, we're talking about the Old Black Wall Street's right in the idea of trying to get that back into our conversation of today trying to reinvigorate a Black Wall Street so this seems to be something that you know, is definitely carrying through the conversation, but there's still stuff that we have to work through. And that is a lot of what is behind the motivation behind writing this book. So jump ball, what brought you guys together to writing a black liberation through the marketplace?

Rachel Ferguson  5:02  
Well, I'll just say that I think that classical liberals have and libertarian scholars have an incredible amount to offer on race and discrimination. But no one knows that. That's not something we're known for. We're not the people you think of when you think of race and discrimination. And yet as a scholar myself, I was familiar with Robert Higgs and Gary Becker, and the history of Zora Neale Hurston and Rose Wilder Lane, you know, one of the three mothers of libertarianism working for black newspaper, there's so much in this history that need needed to all be put together into one place. And so that was really the the impetus for the book. And Marcus studied under David Baito, who is is one of the great libertarian historian, and looking specifically at civil rights heroes and people who you may not expect a libertarian historian to, to focus on. And so it's been really, really wonderful to have two libertarian, classical liberal thinkers, one philosopher, one a historian, bringing our different insights together,

Brian Nichols  6:05  
Marcus, yeah, just say, What are your thoughts there?

Marcus Witcher  6:09  
Yeah, really early on. I mean, Rachel had this idea. She had a series of lectures, and they were quite good. And somebody recommended that you reach out to David, and she reached out to David, I think David told her, this is a great project, but I'm too busy. But I have a graduate student who just graduated, right? He probably has the time. And so he put us in touch with one another. But just to echo what Rachel said, black Liberation's in the marketplace, really brings together this deep, deep, deep intellectual tradition and a deep sort of well, of work that's been done by classical liberal and libertarian thinkers. And we've put it all in one place, you can kind of think of it as a narrative history of black America. But you can also think of it as, as a place we could go and really access all this sort of as sort of a jumping off point into all the scholarship that's out there, if you were to like, follow the footnotes, etc. And also, I think that what we offer is a sort of a third way, if you will, right, between sort of the 1619 projects narrative for America, and sort of what you might call the sort of American exceptionalism narrative of sort of maybe American conservatives, we're in between, we want to recognize past and justices, while not jettisoning our liberal values.

Brian Nichols  7:18  
Talk to us about that, too. I'm curious, how does that breakdown look, because this is something you see a lot of folks don't even want to have a conversation because it seems like if you even if you even acknowledge the the past injustices or the past sins of america, that somehow you're you're not on board with the American you know, the idea of America, right? You're you're not a patriot, you're not a nationalist, wherever the new ism you want to attach to it. Right? So what what are you guys seeing is kind of being that middle ground where you're bridging that divide?

Marcus Witcher  7:51  
Yeah, go ahead. Yeah. I always tell my students, I mean, one of the things that makes America sort of exceptional is the fact that we're willing to actually grapple with past injustice that's been committed by Americans. If you think about the Soviet Union, you think about the sort of type of censorship about their past about their history about the whole, the more that Stalin committed against Ukraine, right, these things are swept under the rug. And so one of the things that actually makes America exceptional and great, is the willingness to engage into acknowledge right past and justices, whether it be against Native Americans, whether it be against black Americans, whether it be against native Japanese Americans, right Japanese internment during World War Two, part of the greatness of our liberal society is that it's flexible and sort of able to account and acknowledge injustice, without saying that, you know, the fundamental ideals are flawed. And that's what Rachel and I have tried to do throughout the book is demonstrate that the problems and the atrocities oftentimes that black Americans face more because of market capitalism. They weren't because of free enterprise, they weren't because of liberalism. In many cases, it was the abrogation of our values. It was the abandonment of our values that led to those abuses.

Rachel Ferguson  9:02  
Yeah, that's what I was gonna say, if what we're conserving is a classical liberal and smaller Republican founding, then we're, we're thinking about the values of private property and freedom of contract and an equal protection of the rule of law. And if I really believe in those things, and I really do, I wrote my dissertation on private property rights, okay, I really believe that this is part of human dignity, truly, then I have to be just as angry and upset when those things are violated among some subset of the population. And as a free market here, I have to really grieve the fact that a huge part of the population couldn't fully participate in the economy, and we all lost out on what they had to offer. And that's part of our story, too. So if we really believe in the values that Americans describes you, then we have to in a way, answer for the ways in which we violated those very values.

Brian Nichols  9:55  
Jump ball, what's something that as you're going through, and maybe this is more of a markers question? Because you're the historian, but maybe as you're going through the history, you're digging through the text and stuff. What's something that was surprising that you uncovered that you'd like to share?

Marcus Witcher  10:10  
Yeah, I think the thing that always horrifies me the most is the convict leasing system that was set up in the United States during reconstruction, and just after reconstruction, and that history is quite horrifying, you know, I had I've read about the Gulag I teach the global Cold War, and what was set up in the south, from 1873, to, you know, on the series of convict leasing was just really quite horrific. What would happen oftentimes is there's a whole new series of laws that were passed to called the pig laws that criminalize behavior that before hadn't been criminal. There were new vagrancy laws that were passed, where if a black man was in a town, any white person could sort of stop them and ask them to identify themselves, if they couldn't identify themselves as part of the community didn't have enough money on them, usually about $10, which is quite a bit of money in 1870s 1880s, then a sheriff could take them in and charge them with vagrancy and hit them with fees. And then what that locality could do is rent that person out to a corporation such as the calmer minds in Birmingham, and those people predominantly black men, but some white men were caught up in the system as well then went to work in horrific conditions in which the we're talking 10s of 1000s of people died because of lack of food, you know, sort of very unsanitary conditions, hard work hard labor. It's even been described, as you know, worse than slavery, because there was no economic incentive of the corporation or the minds to sort of take care of the individual. And so those stories reminded me a great deal of sort of the the work canceled the gulags in the Soviet Union, and I was really troubled when we delved into that history.

Brian Nichols  11:53  
Wow. Yeah, that's something that I mean, I never heard of it. I'm sure most of the audience listening today. They never heard that either. Rachel, was there anything that you were going through that you uncovered that you were like, wow.

Rachel Ferguson  12:04  
Yeah, absolutely. Since since Marcus did did kind of a negative one. I'll do a positive one.

Brian Nichols  12:11  
During the positivity back,

Rachel Ferguson  12:12  
no, but I was as shocked by the conduct leasing program as he was the thing that shocked me because I've been in the liberty movement all my life is that I was unaware of what a role really proto libertarians played in the abolitionist movement to discover that William Lloyd Garrison was a free markets here, I didn't know that no one ever told us that in school, he was a serious free markets here, he was a student of Richard Cobden. In England, who was anti corn law and anti slavery and William Lloyd Garrison said he wanted to close every tariff house in the across the globe. You know, he was very extreme, and so were a lot of his followers. Frederick Douglass became a loud and proud classical liberal himself. And then you end up getting this stream of pro black classical liberals, two of the founders of the NAACP, people like Rose Wilder Lane writing for the Pittsburgh Courier and fighting for black rights from a libertarian perspective. So it was really exciting actually, to discover that. And maybe we're not known for that. But maybe we should be. There's actually quite a pro black classical liberal tradition.

Brian Nichols  13:19  
Interesting. See, we're learning some new stuff every single day here in the episodes of The Brian Nichols Show, you don't usually sign up for that usually, folks sign up for like the sales and marketing tips as it pertains to politics and business. But every now and then we'll get a history lesson. I love it. And hey, we'll uncover some new things every now and then too. So that's exciting, too. But let's talk about this idea of black liberation. Yes, through the marketplace. And I think that's something that is super important to focus on. Because we talked about this past episode I mentioned earlier, where there used to be this Black Wall Street, right. And this was, it was it was something that not only was a predominantly like, a predominant area where blacks were having success, but in many cases, they were outperforming their white counterparts in those areas. So what what does that look like black liberation through the marketplace?

Rachel Ferguson  14:11  
Well, I think we need to remember that black Americans are Americans, and they're very entrepreneurial. They have, you know, as as a community, you know, obviously, we're always I don't want to say stereotyping, but we're always thinking statistically, right? So yes, there may be some black Marxists out there who hate capitalism. But I think the far left really overplayed their hand in this regard. I think Black Americans are Americans, they they want to be capitalists, they want to own business. They want to make money just like everybody else. And so I think, you know, in the book, what we say is, yes, we have this history, many times, you know, there was a white envy and envy is something it's a vise that's deeply incompatible with a free society because you have to know that when some What else is doing? Well, they're doing well because they're serving you, right? And so we're all winning together. And that's a really important insight that if we lose that we can become violence, in our envy towards others. And so taking that as a history lesson, and then moving forward and looking at economic freedom as a major, major solution for black Americans, and there's a ton of ideas that we discussed, but of course, you have favorites of the liberty movement, like occupational licensing reform, good old blower taxes and deregulation, right, but many others, like, for instance, people who are on welfare, not punishing them for saving money, right, treating them like favors, just like we reward rich people for saving. Instead of treating them like mere consumers. You know, there's lots of little things that we can do to free up black America economically so that they can flourish as well. Yeah, I

Brian Nichols  15:53  
don't want to interject, Marcus, but one thing that I will say we're gonna give credit where credit's due, one thing we can do is focus on the war on drugs and how that has disproportionately impacted a lot of our black Americans. And you know what credit where credit's due today, President Biden just announced that he's going to start looking at getting rid of a lot of these. Number one, the classification of marijuana as a level one, I think, is the classification ridiculous. It same as fentanyl and heroin. Insanity. So the fact that that's the case, but also, if you were in jail, from your possession of marijuana, looking at expunging those records, it looks like you know, hey, step in the right direction and absolutely credit where credit's due, they it's important for us to talk about not just, you know, the politics, but the principles, the issues that really matter that are going to bring people closer to freedom, regardless of who those people are. They're the ones bringing it forward. Now, yes, of course, was entirely a political ploy, because he could have easily done this back in 2021. But at the same point in time, I am not going to, you know, cast a dispersions because of the fact that he's actually doing this now. So wanted to say that that's that's a step in the right direction. Marcus, what were your thoughts?

Marcus Witcher  16:59  
Yeah, so I think that when we talk about Black Wall Street, it's it's important to remember you know, that's an illusion to Tulsa. It's an illusion to Greenwood, the Greenwood community that was right across the street from right across the tracks, right from white Tulsa. And I think the lesson we go through that in sort of excruciating and painful detail in the book, but one of the lessons from that episode is that entrepreneurship was great, it lifted black Americans and Greenwood to a level of prosperity that was on par with many of their white neighbors. But what what broke down was the rule of law and Tulsa, right. And so black Americans can be liberated through entrepreneurship, they can pull themselves up, you know, as as Booker T. Washington said, sort of, you know, you know, put your bucket down where you are, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, etc. But we've got to have, you know, the, the adherence to the just rule of law, because without that, then envious sort of racial appeal to earlier can kick in, and then you can have an atrocity like we saw in Tulsa. And so I think, I think entrepreneurship is extraordinarily important, I think, you know, getting the state out of the way removing sort of regulatory barriers. And I think also, it's really important that we recognize right the past injustice as communities like I live in Montgomery, Alabama, and there's a lot of really good work being done here by the Equal Justice Initiative by Bryan Stevenson and others, to acknowledge sort of past and justices in a way that can bring both white and black people who live in Montgomery and and Alabama together to sort of share in our past, right, and then perhaps once we've dealt with the past, we can reconcile and move forward together as simply Alabamians rather than white. Alabamians are black Alabamian.

Brian Nichols  18:37  
So Marcus, could you take a step further, maybe even like, what what does that look like? Because I think sometimes, and I'm not saying that that's what this is. But sometimes it's like, we will still hear politicians say like, yes, we're gonna come together and just feels like an empty platitude. And it's like, well, what, what does that actually look like when we can we can say, yeah, we can move forward. Now, what does that moment? Look,

Marcus Witcher  18:59  
Rachel, do you want to talk about transitional justice?

Rachel Ferguson  19:02  
Yeah, I mean, I think one of the ideas that we borrow this from our friend Anthony Bradley, at the King's College, he's black classical, liberal thinker. You know, he's applying this idea that's really from international situations called transitional justice, post apartheid societies and things like that. Um, you know, that has to do with handling the past well, and I think one of the confusions, it's like, you can fall off the horse on either side, right? So if you go totally on the social justice side, what you end up doing is you want to it's like a mission creep, you want to sort of address every possible oppression ever. And then you end up inventing some that don't even exist, right? And you're rolling them all in and so nothing is really ever addressed. Right? If everything is being addressed, nothing's being addressed. Then on the other hand, you have law law law, I don't want to hear it, you know, we fix it. Let's move on. Right? And that doesn't really work either because these wounds are very real. And so I think one of the things that conservatives and libertarians and classical liberals can add to this A project of transitional justice is keeping our projects hyperlocal. And hyper focused on real crimes that actually happened. So I always use the example of the Bruce family, the Bruce family in California, had a Black Beach, they were harassed constantly by everyone. And then finally, the city just took it, and then a domain of use, right? The city just took it. And then years later now finally, the Bruce family has received that beach back and it's worth millions of dollars, good for the person that was their property, it should not have been taken. And it was right to return it. So there are cases like that where we can actually fix what happened. And there are other cases where we just need to properly memorialize it, right. We need to have the right kind of institutional memory for people who survived. And I think sometimes there's too much talk about when we talk about things like reparations, or institutional memory, we're always going that way back to slavery. But Jim Crow is in living memory. My friends, we have friends who perpetrated it, and we have friends who suffered through it, and they're still alive. Yep. And so there's a lot we can do, to memorialize those people and honor honor their memory and their their children are still, you know, paying for what happened.

Brian Nichols  21:12  
1985. So I, I lived in Philadelphia for about seven and a half ish years until I moved out here to Indiana back in the beginning of the year, because things got really bad. But one thing I didn't realize in learning about Philadelphia history is I was living out there. 95 was the move by gangs. And for those of you who are unfamiliar, there was a group of I'm not sure what you'd want to call them, activists more or less in a predominantly black neighborhood. And the city of Philadelphia Police Department and them did not get along and there ended up there was a standoff of some sorts. And the rational thing that the police department did was, of course, to firebomb an entire row of row homes. Now for those of you unfamiliar with Philadelphia, and how that the housing looks in Philadelphia, every home in greater like that the actual city itself are all connected. They're all row homes. So you have a you know, usually like 1100 or so square foot, wrote like rectangle rowhome. That's a connected. So what ended up happening was 300 people lost their homes. 11 people lost their lives, I think half of them were children. So this is 1985. That's not even just you know, what, 37 ish years ago, 38 years ago. So you talk about being fresh in in memory, it's not even a matter of it having to be Jim Crow or slavery. It's a matter of people that I was probably neighbors with that saw this happen and had family that was impacted by it. Because the 300 families, you don't think that that it's exponentially more than just those 300 families, it's it's them, and then their surrounding families, their friends, their community, they are all impacted by it. So yes, the wounds are very real. It's something that I think we have to you know, not just as libertarians, but also in the greater liberty movement. Conservatives, Republicans don't care what you identify as we have to do a better job and having these conversations because, yeah, the wounds are there. They are real. So yeah, thank you for both Rachel and Marcus, helping raise this conversation up onto our regular discourse. So with that being said, we are already unfortunately at the part where we have to get ready to start saying goodbye. But before we get there final thoughts for the audience? And how about this? I'll kick things off for you guys, because I'm gonna go ahead and put the old feather in my cap. Yeah, Episode 600. We are there today, folks. 600 episodes. And not only that, and I truly cannot do it. Without all you guys out there. The Brian Nichols Show audience of 10s of 1000s of folks out there who listened to the episodes that we dropped five days a week, I can't thank you guys enough. And I honestly we wouldn't be doing this unless we knew it was making a difference in Hey, it is we're able to go out and have, you know, the opportunity to go on platforms like Tim Poole. You know, and Tim cast and reach quite literally hundreds of 1000s of folks in one sitting. Yeah, that's pretty darn cool. So thank you guys. I'm getting all choked up. Yeah. No, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. Rachel, final thoughts you have here for The Brian Nichols Show audience today? Well, I

Rachel Ferguson  24:05  
just want to say this, which is that Marcus and I worked very hard to make this book very readable. This is written for a popular audience. And it moves it moves right along. We cover a lot of ground and we move quickly. And and we're getting really good reviews. So please actually buy the book. I know it's fun to listen to podcasts. But there's so much more in the book itself. And I would love for you to actually read it and review it on Amazon and follow me on Twitter and tell me what you think. Please engage with the book.

Brian Nichols  24:33  
Perfect, Marcus.

Marcus Witcher  24:35  
Yeah, I think that Americans to jump off of what Rachel just said, are searching for a sort of a new narrative, right? And that narrative is currently being provided by the loudest voices on the left, okay, we've got the 6019 project. And they're, they're putting forward a particular narrative, what we offer them, your audience what we offer Americans is a narrative that really does address past injustice, true injustice that happened in the past. So without jettisoning those, those founding principles that we all love, most of us love as Americans, right. And so I really do think that the book is important for a variety of reasons, not just because we wrote it, we actually we wanted someone else to write the book. But we eventually were like, no one else has written the book. So someone has to write the book. And I really do think that black liberation to the marketplace offers a true narrative that addresses past injustice, but also a hopeful narrative of how we can come together as Americans and move forward into the 21st century,

Brian Nichols  25:30  
black liberation through the marketplace. Rachel Ferguson, Marcus Witcher, thank you for joining us today. And folks, I guess a couple things. We have some some homework here for you. Number one, if you got some value from today's episode, well, number one, go buy this book, we'll make sure we include the link in the show notes. So you don't have to go ahead and hunt down the book. But again, just go ahead and search black liberation through the marketplace. You'll find it over on Amazon, but yes, we will include it for you in the show notes that I mentioned. That's number one. Number two, share today's episode when you do please go ahead Tao yours truly had been Nichols, Liberty Taggart. Rachel at Liberty ethics don't tag Marcus, he didn't wanna be tagged on Twitter. But you can get your you let Rachel know that you enjoyed hearing Marcus on the episode. But number three, if folks you really enjoy the episode will go ahead and go ahead and give us a five star rating and review and tell us in the notes that you particularly enjoyed this episode tonight. And other folks like to hear about it, as well. And otherwise, thank you, Rachel Marcus, for joining us. I know this is a very important conversation. Yeah, we're gonna keep on having it. So thank you for joining us. And otherwise, folks, by the way, I'll make sure I include that other episode I was talking about when we are talking about renewing Black Wall Street right here. Otherwise, thank you for joining us on today's episode of The Brian Nichols Show, looking forward to our Friday episode. And oh, by the way, please go ahead and support our sponsors. We have right strategies in Stratus ip, our Stratus ip studio sponsor, please go ahead and support them over at Brian Nichols show.com forward slash sponsor. Oh, one last thing by the way, I'm sorry, I have I have to share this because we just got some new stuff over at at our shop. So I gotta share a couple of new designs. Now one of my secret, like passion projects I do in the side is I like to do some graphic design stuff. So we have some new swag. Here. I'm gonna scroll up. Let's see. Got a page wrong page. All right, so we have some new stuff. One we have our now that's what we call tyranny shirt. With a Klaus Schwab in the background. Always fun. We have our good ideas don't require force hoodie. New design we have our what happened in 1971 design are no farmers no food shirt.

Unknown Speaker  27:55  
And go back and do it.

Brian Nichols  28:00  
So your dog likes it. We have to go back here we go. And then on page one, here we go. We have our liberty legends shirt. That's awesome. I like You're like that one. Right. I don't know why the Back button is not working here. Goodness gracious. And then we have one more. And it is our liberty, no mark shirts. So we have some new swag folks, you will go ahead and grab any of those new designs had the Brian Nichols show.com forward slash shop make sure you use code TBNS at checkout. That's all I got for you. Go have a great rest of your Thursday, folks. With that being said it's Brian Nichols signing off here on The Brian Nichols Show for Rekha, Rachel Ferguson and Marcus Witcher.

Unknown Speaker  28:55  
We'll see you tomorrow, listening to The Brian Nichols Show. Find more episodes at the Brian Nichols show.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Rachel FergusonProfile Photo

Rachel Ferguson

Director, Free Enterprise Center and Professor

Rachel Ferguson is the Director of the Free Enterprise Center at Concordia University Chicago, Assistant Dean of the College of Business, and Professor of Business Ethics.

She is an affiliate scholar of the Acton Institute and co-author of Black Liberation Through the Marketplace: Hope, Heartbreak, and the Promise of America. She is an Acton Institute Affiliate Scholar. Her commentary has been featured at the National Review, Christian Post, the Acton Power Blog, Discourse Magazine, Law and Liberty, EconLib, and the Online Library of Liberty.

Marcus WitcherProfile Photo

Marcus Witcher


Marcus M. Witcher is an Assistant Professor of History at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. He received his BA from the University of Central Arkansas in 2011, an MA from the University of Alabama in 2013, and completed his Ph.D. in history from UA in 2017. His first book Getting Right with Reagan: The Struggle for True Conservatism, 1980-2016 was published by the University Press of Kansas in 2019. Dr. Witcher is also the co-editor of four edited collections and has been published in a diverse range of publications including: Reason Magazine, National Review, Modern Age, and the Washington Post. His most recent book, Black Liberation Through the Marketplace: Hope, Heartbreak, and the Promise of America was co-authored with Rachel Ferguson and was published by Emancipation Books in May of 2022.