In the early 1900’s there was a phenomenon happening in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the sons and daughters of former slaves were paving the way for what would become known as, The Black Wall Street. Tulsa would become the epicenter for our country’s premiere socio-economic boom in the Midwest.
With over 600 businesses owned and operated by black citizens, Tulsa, Oklahoma, would become the breeding ground for entrepreneurial excellence and accelerated extravagance, that would place the black businessman head and shoulders above his contemporaries. The list included: 21 churches; 21 restaurants; 30 grocery stores; 2 movies theaters; 6 privately owned airplanes; boutiques; a hospital, a bank, a post office, schools, libraries, Hotels. law offices, Doctors, and even a bus system!
The fifteen million acres of land, we once owned in America, have been replaced by less than 3 million acres held by 18,000 farmers who still hold the deeds to land once promised. The Tulsa promise land, like Boley Oklahoma, helped to house some of the world’s richest African Americans and helped to sustain the cultural trend for black wealth in America. The Greenwood District meant the black dollar would exchange hands one-thousand times before leaving the community. In today’s financial boom, the black dollar leaves the black community in six-hours.
I am proposing instead of “Black on Black Crime,” how about, “Black on Black Entrepreneurialism.” How about holding each other responsible for building the future through shared partnerships, where a man’s word is still his bond. Where a baby’s momma doesn’t have to come looking for the baby’s daddy because he’s there, teaching the principles of wealth building and financial literacy; while reading and writing bedtime stories that provoke his children toward educational excellence and celebration dances that cover the fifteen million acres we used to own.
If Gordon Gekko or Jacob Moore could see us now, standing in the reverberations of the 1921 fires that burned in Tulsa, that seared our thinking and melted our greatest passions and focus for generational emancipation, they too would cringe. Our greatest opportunities are still ahead, waiting to be revealed, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be unleashed by the proclivity of our genius.
Thank God from A to Jay Z, we are thinking again and casting off the mental chains of complacency and reaching for the star that represents our true identity. Madam C.J. Walker would stand up and shout for joy at the mention of our expose’s on Financial Empowerment, Generational wealth Building, Lunch N Learns, and Master Mind Groups.
We must always remember, what we bequeath to the future is ourselves, our best self, and the fires that once burned through the Black Wall Street must be kept burning, if we are to see the resurrection of our dreams.
Keep Standing on the Rock!