A century ago, in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Greenwood District, black entrepreneurs created the richest black middle class in the United States at the time.
The area was so successful that well-known author and speaker, Bucker T. Washington In 1913 it was renamed “Black Wall Street America.”
However, a prosperous neighborhood was razed to the ground in 1921 by white supremacists, raping blacks and resenting good citizens. Three hundred people were killed, thousands injured and approximately 35 hectares of commercial and residential property were destroyed in the district.
Earlier this year, survivors of the Tulsa genocide recalled horrific scenes and the ruins of the city.
In May 1927, 107-year-old Viola Fletcher testified before the congressional committee on the 1921 killings: “I still see black men shooting, black people lying on the streets. I still see smoke and fragrant fire.
World War II veteran Hugh van Ellis, a two-day attack on black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma Greenwood County, survived, suffered casualties, and asked, “What could happen?” He told members of Congress.
Now, 100 years later, there is renewed pressure to rebuild Black Wall Street, but the question is how.
Some say it could be rebuilt with technology and business. As a result, computer science education programs, startups and corporate capitalists have recently dropped claims in Tulsa.
Others, especially at the academy, say the government has not given a formal apology to victims of the killings and their descendants until earlier this year.
Most black Tulsa people live in North Tulsa today, and one-third live in Tulsa below the poverty line, according to the Brookings Institution.
The massacre cost an estimated $ 200 million to the local black community, reports The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.
Currently, the Blackking Institute’s analysis shows that black businesses “account for only 1.25% of the region’s total business.”
Despite reports of black-owned businesses in Tulsa over the years since the Holocaust, the economic situation of black people in Tulsa has been overshadowed by the black-and-white wealth gap across the country. For black families in Tulsa, the average household income is less than $ 30,000. According to a 2019 Human Rights Watch report, it is more than $ 50,000 for white families. Unemployment is 2.37 times higher than that of black and white tulle, according to the same report
New Technology Ecology
Many business and technology leaders are working on the Tulsa Revival as a black resource. Some of the big business people involved include Oklahoma-based billionaire George Kaiser. John Rogers, founder of Ariel Investments, the nation’s largest black asset management company, and slain capital companies.
Our work around technology, entrepreneurship, business and capital is rebuilding Black Wall Street… Infrastructure for black asset creation. Business leaders rebuilt Tulsa.
That work, Wiggins, involves creating a pipeline for black entrepreneurs – from business idea to implementation to help and guidance.
Construction in Tulsa began in 2020. But there is a history of success, says Wiggins. Boddle Learning, a small-scale startup for Kindergarten through the sixth grade, began its work in 2006. Since its inception in 2018, it has launched a flyer for 375,000 students enrolled in the forum, Wiggins said.
Edna Martinson Tulsa, who founded Bodell with her husband, Clarence Tan, said it was the perfect place to start a business.
A.D. . She is thrilled to find that Tulsa is spending as much as she can in the past and that she has found “amazing people who are passionate about building this community and trusting each other.”
The high cost of living for technology centers around the country was also appealing to Martinson. “I can run a company without breaking it,” she said.
Tulsa is also attracting young professionals to the Tulsa remote program who are willing to transfer remote workers and $ 10,000 in grants and community building opportunities. The transfer could be even more challenging – the average home price in Tulsa is $ 208,000 by August, according to real estate station Redfin. According to Tulsa Remote organizers, the program, which began in November 2018, has attracted about 1,000 remote workers to the city for a year. More than 90% of participants chose to stay for more than a year.
The Holbertton School of Computer Science program, which recently opened campus in Tulsa, has campuses around the world. According to the school’s website, Holberton students are ages 18-58.
“The campus offers opportunities in software and engineering that have never been available before,” said Libi Edger, executive director of Tulsa at Holbertton School.
The biggest obstacle for the school to complete college education – education – by allowing students to pay a percentage of their future income after graduation.
And then there’s Tulsa Innovation Labs, a tech-based economic and human resource development company.
“Our mission is to establish Tulsan as a global technology hub,” said Nick Lala, co-founder and managing director.
Tulsa Innovation Laboratories focuses exclusively on Tulsa on three fronts: Lala – Virtual Health, Energy Technology and Advanced Aircraft.
By focusing on those sectors, we can “create opportunities for Tulsa technology expansion, especially for our indigenous and black communities. The economic opportunities we pursue are not in the Silicon Valley. They are not in New York City. “They are special to the heart and to Tulsa,” Lala told ABC News.
Another issue for compensation
Others see ways to revitalize the black community in Tulsa, saying compensation should be part of the equation.
Dr. James Thompson, associate dean of Austin State University, Erickson College of Education, is “Land and Cash.”
Thompson is one of the creators of the Tulsa Massacre victims and their descendants.
Convictions for the Tulsa massacre will not be repeated until 1997, according to Human Rights Watch, where the then-established Tulsa Racist Commission was ordered to pay the “revolt” directly to their survivors.
Earlier this year, the Tulsa-Greenwood Massacre Bill was introduced in Congress for economic compensation for victims and their descendants. There has been no law since he came to the council in May.
“Well, that’s good,” Thompson told ABC News. “But in the end, who benefits?” He asked.
Thompson said start-up and technology building in Tomsa is great for philanthropists, investors and business people.
“Black and brown people need to allocate more resources to Greenwood County,” Thompson said.
For everyday people in Tulsa, many are struggling with the basics of life, saying “mental health… employment ቤቶች housing and environmental issues” all need to be addressed.
What Tulsa is and what it could be
Despite differences over how to rebuild Black Wall Street, the attention from business and technology leaders will not diminish soon.
“We have opened an office [in Tulsa], And we spend 50% of our time there. Tulsa is our H.C. 2, ”said Brian Brakeken, a lipstick capital company focused on the founders of Brittanyp Capital. We are big believers in Tulsa and look forward to making 15 investments there over the next three years.
There are at least 209 black-owned companies in Tulsa ecosystem-based and / or supported (program, financial or other resources). Tulsa, build another Tulsa Speed Partner. Tulsa Emerging is an initiative to launch 100, plus 100-plus Tulsa-based businesses, and Mortar Tulsa, a 15-week job creation course for existing and emerging entrepreneurs.
The question still remains – how did that development benefit the Tulsan black community?
Many of these initiatives are relatively new, and the benefits to the Tulsa black community as a whole are yet to be seen.
For now, some who have been involved in the rebuilding of Black Wall Street say that their mission is more personal.
For Wiggins, the Athenian capital, Tulsa represents “the ingenuity of black Americans,” he said, “all the obstacles to Leningering, Jim Craw, and black people.”
If Tulsa had not been killed, he would have often wondered what would happen to him as a black man in business, to the Greenswood region, and perhaps to the economic situation of African Americans.
“This is what drives me every day when I wake up,” says Wiggins. “Success looks like black entrepreneurs from all over the United States. They are not limited by their color. They are not limited by their social class. They are limited in their ability to dream and execute ”
Editor’s Note – This story has been updated to correct the name of Athens Capital and to identify Randy Wiggins as a partner in Athens Capital.