In the early nineteen hundreds there was a phenomenon in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Black Wall Street. Greenwood Avenue, aka Black Wall Street, was a 35 square block area where Black commerce thrived and Black people prospered as entrepreneurs. During this period of segregation, we had to develop our own communities and create centers of commerce because we weren’t allowed to integrate in many areas of the country. Black Wall Street became a model of economic empowerment to Blacks, and was envied by others because the circulation of the Black dollar was kept inside our community benefiting our people. The Black dollar was estimated to circulate within Black Wall Street from 35 to 1000 times before it left the community, which sometimes took longer than a year. Sadly enough, the Black dollar today only stays in our community six hours, before it goes to enrich another community. I figure that’s just long enough for us to get out of work on payday and then spend it at the nearest mall or restaurant.
The Real Black Power
Black economics is the real key to Black Power. Without an economic base you have no power. If you can’t come to the negotiating table in a position of strength, you are at the mercy of your adversary. There is a big myth circulating about the $1.1 trillion dollar per year spending power of Black America. People seem to think that because we spend this money that we have power. The truth is that power comes from the coordination and aggregation of spending $1.1 trillion dollars per year. If we just spend our money frivolously, then there is no power; if we have a coordinated allocation of those funds, then we have power to build a strong economic power base like Black Wall Street. Dr. Claude Anderson, founder of Powernomics, said on my podcast recently that, “Consumerism is a weakness, instead of being the consumer, let’s be the producer”. Black Wall Street created millionaires because of the coordinated and aggregated spending of the Black dollars within the Black community. At its height in 1921, Black Wall Street was a community of about 10,000 to 11,000 people that had approximately thirteen churches, four hotels, three drug stores, two theaters, two high schools, two newspapers, a hospital, a public library, and its own bus line for transportation. Not to mention there were 220 plus commercial buildings that housed doctors, dentists, lawyers, grocery stores, clothing stores, restaurants, and entertainment establishments.
A New Black Wall Street
The blueprint for Black Wall Street was laid down almost 100 years ago. Now I have a vision of what the New Black Wall Street should look like. The New Black Wall Street is now global in scope as it does not have to be confined to a 35 square block radius because of the power of the internet and social media. Our New Black Wall Street has a global scale where we can sell our manufactured products globally. We can now sell our products and services worldwide. Our New Black Wall Street is connected by social media, and our products and services are propelled to profitability by social proof (“likes” on Facebook, product reviews on Amazon and EBay, etc.). The New Black Wall Street is focused more on manufacturing and production of products, than providing services. He, who controls the product, controls the money. Our New Black Wall Street is focused on controlling vertical markets, not just controlling products. Let’s use the example of a Chinese restaurant I used in my latest podcast at Black Entrepreneur Blueprint – Episode # 45. I guarantee you that a Chinese restaurant will buy its rice from a Chinese wholesaler or manufacturer, he will buy his chop sticks from a Chinese manufacturer, he will buy his napkins and straws from a Chinese manufacturer, and he will buy the containers he serves the food in from a Chinese manufacturer. Now the Chinese have controlled the entire vertical market for the products that go along with that $12 Chinese food dinner. You just spent that $12 in one store and it trickled down to four or five other Chinese businesses just from that one transaction. Why can’t we do that in the Black hair care industry?
4 Steps To Building A New Black Wall Street
The New Black Wall Street will be just as vibrant and economically fruitful as the original Black Wall Street. Here are the four simple steps that we that we as a people need to implement immediately.
1. Make A concerted effort to spend money with Black owned businesses (actively look for them).
2. Deposit money in Black owned banks so they can fund Black businesses and social causes.
3. Start looking at manufacturing products as opposed to always starting service businesses.
4. Start your own business and provide jobs for our people. Stop waiting for someone to hire you.