Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Black America's forgotten center of black commerce, and entertainment.
Last week I received an email entitled “Black Wall Street, a Semi-Formal Casino Charity Event.” The event is sponsored by Patron Spirits Company. I guess they used the “Black Wall Street” name to make the event sound classy. They even attached a flyer with black folks dressed up in clothes from the Roaring Twenties. These days it is truly all about how you market your events. I’m sure they will attract the Ballers and the pseudo Ballers looking to have a good time. For critics that think they’re desecrating the Black Wall Street name, I will say this. They did give a shout out and brief history of the real Black Wall Street. It was the Greenwood, Oklahoma Black Wall Street that they gave the history on. But not the Durham, North Carolina Black Wall Street, that in my opinion never gets enough press.
Because of the shame that comes with what happened to the Oklahoma Black Wall Street, it is never talked about in history books. I’m sure the State of Oklahoma wants to forget what happened as well. And because some black folks do such a horrible job teaching their children their history….well…I digress. When I looked up Black Wall Street on Google it came up with a lot of stuff. And I’m being kind when I use the word “Stuff.” Sure you had information on the North Carolina and Oklahoma Black Wall Streets’ but you also had information on rappers and their labels. What?!?! What does a rapper have to do with black businesses that were sustained by black folks? A model of business that is used by ever other minority in America is synonymous with Rap now? It was even worse when I used Google Images. I saw Rims, Gold Teeth, and Guns. Really?!?! The Miseducation of the Negro is still in effect as far as I can tell. Instead of associating yourself with Black Wall Street because you have some gold records. How about starting some businesses (key word business is multiple) in your neighborhood? How about providing jobs for the residents of your community?
It seems that the spirit and intent of Black Wall Street died along with the community. What was started by the residents but never passed on will always be a mystery to me. It’s not to say that what was accomplished in Black Wall Street was in vain. Oprah, Jay Z and a host of other blacks have become business leaders in their own right. I believe they are standing on the shoulders of those that came before them. And because of that, those residents of Black Wall Street need to be honored for what they created.