History of Urban Intellectuals, Inc.
Urban Intellectuals, Inc. makes learning Black history fun and easy. With a series of historical education products, services, and travel experiences, we write the Black community back into the pages of world history and the hearts and minds of its people.
We love to say the story of this company starts in 1929 with the birth of Mr. Taylor, our founder’s father. His love of history laid the foundation and fertile ground for Urban Intellectuals to come into being.
Growing up, Mr. Taylor would pay our founder $10 per chapter he read in a designated book after completing a healthy discussion of the topics. This sent our founder down the trail of learning and loving Black history.
But it wasn’t until he was in college at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale did things really start to come together. Freddie Taylor II, the founder and CEO of Urban Intellectuals, was getting his Master’s in Business Administration in 1999 and taking a history of American economics. The white professor suggested that he write a paper on Black Wall Street.
At the time, the internet was only 5 years old, Google was just being born, and there wasn’t much conversation or education on Black Wall Street at the time. So, he decided to dive in to the paper and was blown away by what he learned.
Our founder quickly realized if he wasn’t aware of this history, there must be more he doesn’t know, he isn’t being taught and the rest of the Black people on campus were in the dark as well. So he decided to start creating Black history profiles and began selling them around campus to recoup the printing cost. This was a great project and the forerunner of something much more impactful and meaningful.
Soon after this, Freddie and his wife Krystal were married. By 2003, their young family had blossomed into four members. The second child was born, but Freddie’s interest in Black history only grew because now he is seeing the educational system from the eyes of a parent and it was worse than he thought.
The same lies and half-truths the American educational system taught when he was growing up were still being taught. His children weren’t going to get a proper dose of Black history, which is essential to self-love and confidence.
In 2004, Freddie purchased the domain UrbanIntellectuals.com but quickly lost ownership of the domain in 2005. He didn’t realize he had to renew the domain name each year, neglected to do so, and someone purchased the domain.
Freddie was devastated over this.
Nevertheless, each year, Freddie continued to check to see if the domain name became available, but 2006, 2007, and 2008, there was no luck. Then came 2009!!!
In 2009, the Founder, Freddie Taylor, secured the website domain, UrbanIntellectuals.com and in 2015 the business was incorporated with Mr. Taylor as the sole owner and operator.
Over the years, a community has formed which today has over 1M social media fans and an extensive customer base who are invested in the company’s products, services, and mission.
In 2016, Urban Intellectuals, Inc. began manufacturing their flagship product-the Black History Flashcards- with the product going to market in May 2017 with a 500 deck order. These cards sold out almost immediately followed closely by another 2,000 and then 10,000 decks selling out as well. By 2018, over 125,000 decks of Black History Flashcards had been sold. Since 2021, these Flashcards have sold over 400,000 units all over the world.
Recognizing a gap in the marketplace for African centered educational resources,
the company began to increase its footprint with the introduction of the Sankofa Club. The Sankofa Club teaches live Black history classes to children ages 3-12 years and boast over 100 different online courses on Black empowerment, innovation, technology, leadership, courage, love, and more. In addition, there are corresponding worksheets, activites, and live events, children and their families embark on a journey towards greater self-confidence and love of themselves and their community.
As if this wasn’t enough, in 2022 the Black history company mented the relationshiops to make Black history travel experiences come to life. The Urban Intellectuals Travel Movement takes people to the motherland, Africa, to learn the history and culture up close and personal. Accomondations, history tours, lectures, dining, cultural shows, shopping, and more are included. Some of the countries included are Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal, and the Gambia.
As of May 2023, Urban Intellectuals has taken over 135+ people to Africa and are just getting started.
Urban Intellectuals, Inc. remains focused on helping adults, families, and children understand the global contributions to humanity of Black / African people. In the words of Dr. John Henrik Clarke,
“History tells a people where they’ve been but more importantly, where they have to go.”
We have found that exposing adults and children to the richness of their Black history builds their self-confidence and esteem, which translates into a number of wins; they do better in school, avoid the school to prison pipeline, are more likely to graduate high school and attend college/trade school, and become better professionals, parents, and community members.
We believe we are doing important work.