Detroit-linked leaders aim to help rebuild Black Wall Street in Tulsa
DETROIT, Michigan (WXYZ) – One hundred years ago, an angry white mob torched the nation’s richest black business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was an area known as Black Wall Street. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have lost their homes.
“The money and wealth that was lost, there were people out there who were millionaires who died broke, never taken back,” said Reverend Horace Sheffield, president of Restore Black Wall Street Project. “They estimated that over $ 2.5 million lost that year is probably $ 200 million now.”
Reverend Sheffield of New Destiny Christian Fellowship Church in Detroit works to raise funds to restore historic buildings, teach history and support black entrepreneurship.
Hill Harper, who stars on ABC’s “The Good Doctor” and owns Detroit’s Roasting Plant Coffee, is co-chair of the Restore Black Wall Street project. He met two survivors in Tulsa over the centennial weekend.
“People over 100 who, if it had never happened, would have grown up with such prosperity, but they didn’t,” Harper said.
Harper announced that he had pledged $ 1 million for survivors and descendants of the Black Wall Street Massacre from money sourced from his financial platform, the Black Wall Street App, which was launched on June 1st. to the opportunity.
“If we don’t remember and talk about history, we lose track of how we got to where we are,” Harper said. “In 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, black people in America held just under 1% of American wealth. Today, May 31, 2021, centenary of the Black Wall Street massacre, black people in America own just under 1% of America’s wealth. “
Men with ties to Detroit see a parallel between Detroit’s history and what happened in Tulsa. Although Detroit did not endure a massacre, it did experience what they see as an attack on black wealth. In 1959, Paradise Valley, a community where hundreds of black businesses were destroyed for the construction of I-375.
“All of this has been deliberately, deliberately undermined and destroyed,” Reverend Sheffield said.
Black entrepreneurs have lost nightclubs, restaurants, grocery stores, casinos, hospitals and offices. Sheffield says her family has lost a business.
“My uncle, when I was a kid, had a business in Hastings,” he said. thing in Detroit. “
Sheffield wants to see investments made to build black business districts.
“And we can replicate that city after city,” Harper said. “Detroit is one of the best people in the world. Great young entrepreneurs. Great young minds. It’s not the fact that they don’t have ideals. They just don’t have the capital. This is why the digital wallet is so important, because eventually on this platform we will be doing micro-loans and peer-to-peer lending so that we don’t have to ask other people for help. We can help each other. “