Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 28 seconds. Contains 496 words
Have you ever heard of Black Wall Street? If not, don’t feel too bad. Up until a couple months ago neither had I. For those who are unfamiliar with this part of history, Black Wall Street was an area in Greenwood, OK that thrived with black owned businesses which resulted in black wealth and a higher level of black independence for its residents during a period of segregation. However, after a riot which stemmed from accusations against a young black man for harassing a young white woman on an elevator, the town was burned to the ground and many of its residents were killed by a mob of white residents in the neighboring town. Now, of course, this synopsis does no justice to the full story, but I needed to give a little background for the basis of this article.
I mention Black Wall Street to draw from that concept. We live in a time where social media is riddled with a number of black injustices (and that doesn’t begin to cover the incidents that go unreported); society has directed many to believe that the direction to wealth is by means of “white-washing”; and, black history as a part of school curriculum or even as a discussion in many households is becoming obsolete. (Before I continue, make no mistake in that this article is racist, angry, misdirected, or any combination of the above.)
So, for a second, let’s take a step back and assess the concept of change as it relates to black independence. How exactly do we create black wealth? There is no need to reinvent the wheel; the blueprint has already been laid.
1. Eliminate thinking that detriments further enslave black communities within the community.
2. Allow children of color to embrace their history and who they are without placing emphasis on inferiority.
3. Do not equate black wealth to the ability to mimic the wealth of “others”.
4. Promote the black owned businesses within the community and use those business owners as mentors to continue to grow.
5. Use community centers to teach children of color beyond the confinements of the classroom. Who knows what this simple change alone could invoke?
6. Be as unapologetically “black” and proud as possible.
There is no simple method of obtaining black independence, and the list of suggestions or directions is insurmountable depending on which roundtable you chose to sit at. Of course, there is doubt that plagues the minds and hearts of many. After all, who is to say that history won’t repeat itself if the efforts for independence are successful? Black Wall Street as well as many other movements throughout history are proof that there is power in numbers and thinking on one accord. It also proves that the African American race has overcome sufferings far greater than those existing in present times. One or two individuals obtaining success among the masses does not represent a society or create a movement. Sometimes small changes as a whole in the right direction can prove revolutionary.
For more reference, here is an article with a deeper look into the events that lead to that moment in history http://www.ebony.com/black-history/the-destruction-of-black-wall-street-405#axzz3C52fC3LF.