THE GREATER HOUSTON BLACK CHAMBER WAS FOUNDED IN 1935. WE ARE THE SECOND OLDEST BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN THE NATION.
In September 1935, several prominent community leaders organized the Houston Negro Chamber of Commerce (HNCC) to empower and promote African-American businesses in the city. The office was housed inside the black-owned Pilgrim Temple building from 1935 until moving in 1963 to 2808 Wheeler Ave.
The HNCC sought to promote the civic, economic, industrial agricultural and social welfare of Houston residents; encourage a larger patronage of black enterprises and practical education in the trades and arts to stimulate better business; and develop a more amicable relationship between racial groups. The organization also encouraged residents to pay their poll taxes in order to become eligible to vote, promoted fair housing and employment practices, contributed to international commerce, and held contests, better business forums, and banquets to motivate the African-American community. During World War II, their office served as a rations headquarters. A Junior Chamber was organized in 1942. The chamber also provided platforms for national leaders and partnered with government programs.
In 1964, under the leadership of Mack H. Hannah, Jr., the chamber changed its name to the Houston Citizens Chamber Of Commerce (HCCC). As the Chamber membership evolved, in 2013 the chamber rebranded its look and name to the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce (GHBC).
Women have been actively involved in the HNCC since its formation and held offices as early as 1957. In 2014, GHBC appointed Vernita B. Harris as its first female Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Today, the GHBC continues to represent the interests of and promote greater unity among the African-American business community. Holding true to our mission to both secure and retain a broad and diverse base of members that reflect the culture of the Greater Houston community, and provide financial and volunteer resources to implement the Chamber’s initiatives.