Many of us didn’t realize what the GAP Band was singing about in the August 1982 hit ‘You Dropped a Bomb on Me’. GAP, it should be noted, stands for Greenwood, Archer and Pine.
May 31-June 1, 2021 signifies 100 years since the destruction of Tulsa’s Greenwood section, home of the most magnanimous demonstration of Black self-determination in American history. There were 35-square blocks with hundreds of businesses, beginning on Greenwood Avenue. It was the wealthiest Black community in America.
However, within 24 hours, it was annihilated. Bombed from the air and burned to the ground by a mob of angry white people, over 10,000 Black people were displaced. At least 300 Black people were killed. And all of the Black businesses were destroyed.
As the world is currently engulfed in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is our hope to inspire our communities across the nation and across the globe to support our Black-owned businesses. As COVID is reportedly killing Black people at a 3-to-1 rate compared to our white counterparts, much the same is true for the health and well-being of Black business owners and entrepreneurs.
While some Black businesses did benefit from the Paycheck Protection Plan, others believe that the President’s CARES Act/COVID stimulus package has done little to effectively help Black business owners across the nation. When America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu. If this is true, many Black businesses will undoubtedly fold.
At the same time, though, people like O. W. Gurley, the Father of Greenwood’s Black Wall Street, was also familiar with tough times. Truth be told, there are countless examples of Black business titans throughout America’s racially-hostile history who excelled against all odds. They just are not discussed much.
William Leidesdorff, the first Black millionaire who reigned in San Francisco. Annie Turnbo Malone, the Matriarch of the Black Beauty industry. Maggie Lena Walker, the Matriarch of Richmond’s Black Wall Street, also known as Jackson Ward. Philip A. Payton, Jr., the real estate giant who came to be known as the
Father of Harlem. And let’s not forget James Weeks, who founded Weeksville in Brooklyn, New York back in 1838.
To say the least, we have many glorious heroes and sheroes who are bright, shining examples of what Black people have accomplished in business and every other industry. In short, Black businesses can survive and thrive right here, right now – even in the midst of COVID.
Hence, over the next year, we aim to inform and inspire the Black entrepreneur and others.
We believe that it is imperative to highlight this significant chapter in American history as well as the countless other examples of Black self-determination and economic development beyond Tulsa – particularly in the eastern half of the United States. And we cannot forget Texas and California. If our ancestors’ businesses could survive and thrive through the turbulence back then, then we can do the same thing today!
Further, we aim to encourage individuals and groups alike to host Black Wall Street Centennial events worldwide. We’re willing to do all that we can in order to assist.
Call us direct at 443.858.2684 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support of the ORIGINAL Black Wall Street SERIES *NYC *MD *DC *ATL *NOLA over the years. Because of the community’s support, we have honored over 1,700 Black entrepreneurs and professionals as well as the people who support them regardless of race in 6 US cities since 2011: New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Atlanta and New Orleans. Honorees received the coveted Joe Manns Black Wall Street Awards.
Please continue to keep our efforts in your prayers. Sponsorships are always welcome.