Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Black wealth, pride and unity.
Kinship. Pride. Return on Investments. Profits. Top Quality Products and Customer Service. Community. Strength in numbers. Together they stood. Together they fell. Black Wall Street.
This is a part of our history that few people know about, thus showing we have forgotten how to build up and build with others. We have forgotten how to learn from our ancestors and thus … we bask in our unknown ignorance.
Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 1900s had many African Americans immigrating to escape vicious racial tensions. As a result of the increased black population and Jim Crow laws, black entrepreneurship exploded, so much that a town was established in 1906 called “Black Wall Street”.
History says there were over 11,000 residents in Tulsa, Oklahoma with hundreds of prosperous businesses owned and operated by black Tuscans that were patronized by both whites and blacks.
At its best, the Black Wall Street community became self sufficient with theaters, hotels, grocery stores, nightclubs, drug stores, churches, funeral homes, restaurants, banks, and much more. Black Wall Street was also filled with homes of many black multimillionaires and entrepreneurs. Bolstering the true meaning of community, Black Wall Street become known for its black wealth, pride, and unity.
What happened? Some of us still have wealth, but what happened to the pride and unity? What happened to quality of products and dignity in the customer service delivered? What happened to good, honest work ethics?
Many of us have heard, “I’ll pay ya’ tomorrow” or experienced those “no show/no call” work contractors. We have heard and said, “I will not do business with black folks”, “You really can’t depend on black owned business offering the best of services”. Why do “we” always seem like we don’t care”, or “Don’t hire a black contractor, you will be sorry ”. This is so frustrating and a bad reputation for black businesses, even when we know not all black businesses are like this.
Why is it, often times, when we visit businesses with “our people” working or managing them, we leave with negative experiences and at the same time, , when “our people” patronize businesses we, often time, leave negative experiences?
I was talking with a black business owner who secured a contact with one of the local facility that needed painting done. She needed five laborers to fulfill the job, so she hired a black owned contractor to supply those five workers. The day of work, only one laborer showed up and that one said he had to leave at noon to check in with his parole officer.
Now, grant it, this doesn’t apply to all black business or service providers, but I am sure you have heard this at some point or another.
We, as a race of people, have to put quality back into black businesses. Black Wall Street should be a great influence on how we can have black wealth, pride, and unity. I am not taking away anything from other business owners and not promoting separate communities or lifestyles. However, I am stressing that we learn from our ancestors, in Tulsa, OK., who worked so hard to build a community of value, worth, and pride, and use that as our foundation of worth in our businesses.
Bottom line, I want to motivate all of us to commit to the Top Line of what I am calling “The Black Wall Street Influence”. The Top Line reflects the increase in gross sales, revenues, earning, and profits. If we all indoctrinate the “Black Wall Street Influence” into our lives, in all we do and all we say, we can again hear and see the quality in Black owned businesses.
Keeping in mind that communities are not always the next door neighbors, we, like in the 1900s, at best, will be able to build communities that are filled with Black Wall Street type business, and much more. Communities filled with homes of many respected black multimillionaire and entrepreneurs who bolster the true Black Wall Street Influence. Black business in this century must, again, become known for its black wealth, pride and unity.
“JustDorcas” Dorcas Wiley Curry Gazelle Productions and Consultants