I like the tone of the blog. I'm a Black man, 37-years-old, and this blog is perfect for expressing my feelings about what is going on in America right now. Here's some of my past published work, click on any of the articles or eBooks to read! virtualvocations.com/portfolio/104162/limus-woods-portfolio__limus-woods-professional-writer-editor.html
Almost 100 years ago, Black Wall Street was developed when a large number of
Black business owners in the early 1920’s got together and created the most
prosperous community by Black people inAmerican History. The community was
located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had over 600 Black-owned businesses that ran
things themselves. It was a period that showed what African-Americans can
accomplish when we work together with unity. This wonderful, liberated
community was eventually burned to the ground because of racial hatred.
As a Black man, I think about what we look at as racism today, and compare it
to back in the 1920s. Even with all of that adversity, the Black people of back then
were able to overcome it all, and create a community by hard work and dedication.
They did not complain about what was being done to them by racism, but instead
saved their money and created a community that was even larger and more
prosperous than their White neighbors.
Many of the Black children who grew up on Black Wall Street did not even have
to leave the community in order to get everything they needed on a daily basis.
The business mindset of the time was one that was taught to the children at a
young age. It showed in the way they dressed, and how they respected everyone
around them. These kids wore suits and ties to school, and carried themselves with
pride. When I look around today, and see just the way the culture is in the Black
community, it is refreshing to know that we can look back and see what was
accomplished by those hard working folks 100 years before...which is what we
should be trying to emulate.
Many times we have heard it said that when it comes to color classification in
America, it ultimately doesn’t matter what your skin looks like. What makes
hateful, racist people do the things they do and act the way they act will never truly
be understood by those who are not racist, because non-racist people just don’t
understand what makes one person dislike someone just because of how dark or
light they are. But, one color that even people of the same races will hate on each
other for is the color green. That, of course, is the color of money.
That is why Black Wall Street was burned to the ground, an event that is also
known as the Tulsa Greenwood Massacre. Black people did not have any intention
of hurting Whites when the community was being developed, and Little Africa was
originally a place that was to be run by Blacks and Indians. All they wanted to do
was create a region where they would not have to live in fear all the time,
somewhere that they could go about their daily lives in a community that was built
with Black dollars. But, the racist groups of the time (such as the KKK) wanted to
put a halt to Black Wall Street getting bigger and bigger, so they destroyed it.
These types of incidents in history are normally labeled as holocausts. The thing
is, Black people do not readily associate themselves or their culture with such a
word that is so graphic in nature. But, the truth is that this event is so purposefully
hidden that many of the Black youth today do not even know that their
grandparents and great-grandparents actually went through a holocaust on the days
of May 31st and June 1st of 1921. It is important that you realize just how
horrifyingly brutal and devastating this event was.
If you were to look at the amount of damage that was done to Black Wall Street,
it would be the equivalent of about $30 million in 2020 in damage to businesses
and homes in Tulsa, Oklahoma those two days. Estimates say that there were
anywhere from 50 to 400 people in all killed, all just because they were living well
in a sustained Black community. There were about 10,000 people living there, but
by the end of the massacre about 9,000 of them were left homeless. What had
taken them years to build, and was named “Little Africa”, was destroyed overnight.
Little Africa aka Black Wall Street stood out most because of its businesses.
When you look at the amount of money that was being rotated within the small
city, even income of jobs of today almost 100 years later cannot compare to what
the entrepreneurs and business owners of that period brought in. For example, it
was not uncommon for a hard working Black man to bring home a few hundred
dollars every day in this 100% Black sustained community that was about 30
blocks in length.
It is important to paint a picture of just how wonderful things were before
jealousy and hatred of racist Whites took over. Black and Whites of the time were
not only separated because of racism, but also because of culture differences.
Blacks and Whites simply did not act the same, and Black Wall Street is just what
Black people of the time needed in a society that hated them.
The businesses that were created on Black Wall Street were ones that made it
possible for the Black families in that area to not depend on the outside White
businesses, and also gave Blacks the freedom of thought and expression in their
daily activities. For example, there were twenty-one churches on Black Wall
Street. As we know, Black people are a very religious group overall, and love to
praise the Lord. But, take a look at a Black church and a White church. Look at the
styles of worship at both types of services. A Black church is most times more
lively, upbeat and vibrant in nature. These church members jump, shout, and have
a good time. Can you imagine trying to attend a White church in 1921? It is not so
hard to see why places of worship were on the top of architect’s lists on Black
There were also twenty-one restaurants on Black Wall Street. When it comes to
food, Black people will always be unique. But, the difference of cooks on Black
Wall Street is that they were not cooking as slaves, but as business owners. Their
kids did not have to worry about having to deal with ‘White’s Only’ signs that
restricted them from sitting down and having a meal. What is even better is that
these parents knew that their children would be safe eating the food that was
prepared there in their own community.
Not only did the people of Black Wall Street have their own eateries, but they
had their own grocery stores as well. In fact, within that community, there were
thirty grocery stores that residents got their items from every day. All of the money
within Black Wall Street stayed there for a while before it got out. It was recycled
dozens of times between those Black business owners in order to keep everything
right there in that area, Little Africa. Handling revenue in this fashion allowed the
children the possibility of taking over the businesses when they got old enough,
and to have Black business partners nearby that their family had done business
with for years already.
The entertainment arenas that were built on Black Wall Street were also
amazing. For example, during the height of this growing revolution of
independent-minded Black people, there were two movie theaters constructed.
Although being a hard worker was put first, having fun was just as important for
balance within the community. Now that the residents had a place to go and view
films freely without prejudice Whites breathing down their necks, Black families
got together and enjoyed movies of the time in their own built establishments.
During a time when it was weird to Whites if a Black person had any large
possessions, the business owners and entrepreneurs on Black Wall Street again
made it known that it didn’t matter what color of skin you were in as long as you
had a smart mindset, even back in those days. Would you believe that there were
six private airplanes that were owned by the residents of Black Wall Street? Blacks
barely even had cars back then, so when you think about the fact that these
pioneers in business and entrepreneurship owned aircraft in the early 1920s, it is
nothing short of mind-blowing.
Black Wall Street also had its own hospital. It would not really be a community
without a health care system, and Little Africa developed a great one. Why would
they want to have all of those businesses, and not have a place to heal the workers
and their families when they got sick or hurt? A hospital is supposed to care for the
community, but can you imagine if these rich black business owners had to go to a
White hospital for treatments and/or injuries? With the overall mentality of Whites
during those times, an ill Black person wouldn’t get the care that they need. In fact,
they may come out even sicker or even die at a White hospital, if they were even
admitted in the first place.
There is also another thing that every community needs, and that is a bank.
Black Wall Street had business owners who had a main goal of keeping all of their
money there in Little Africa. So, architects got together and built their own place to
put their money. As the businesses continued to work together with each other, the
money began to grow to the point that it surpassed the amount that neighboring
Whites outside of Black Wall Street had, and that’s why the murderous, hateful
event of the Black Holocaust on Black Wall Street occurred.
Still, what was the most impactful area of the Black Wall Street community were
the schools. It was completely unheard of at the time, but the community created
its very own school system right there in Little Africa.
Black Wall Street was full of doctors, teachers, architects, and thousands of
other educated individuals with different skills who came together in the time
when racism was at its worst, and accomplished something that the many Black
people of today struggle with - Black Unity. If even a fraction of that mentality
could be put into Black culture today, just imagine what could be accomplished
now in 2020.
20 June 2020. What to Know About the Tulsa Greenwood Massacre. NY Times.
Black Wall Street, A Black Holocaust in America. Retrieved from
23 June 2016. A Holocaust: How Black Wall Street Was Destroyed. New York
New Amsterdam Times. Retrieved from
Fain, K. 5 July 2017. The Devastation of Black Wall Street. JSTOR Daily.