Photo: Lateshia Beachum | The Center For Public Integrity
North St. Louis was once a thriving Black business district but today, vacant lots and dilapidated buildings are commonplace. Rather than wait for someone else to fix the problem, Black Wall Street STL is planning to create a thriving business district. The group has submitted an application to purchase 283 vacant city lots in north St. Louis from the Land Reutilization Authority, to benefit Black owned businesses.
According to Alderman Brandon Bosley, D-3rd Ward, Black Wall Street STL offered the Land Reutilization Authority $150,000 to purchase more than eight city blocks. The land consists mostly of dilapidated buildings and vacant lots today but in time, Black Wall Street STL envisions a thriving Black business district. That dream will become reality because Black Wall Street STL organized and pooled their money together, not because they waited for the city to solve the problems of Black people. This mass purchase of land will not only secure a space for Black people in the future of the city but also, give the rest of the country a blueprint to follow.
There can be no Black power without land. It’s imperative that Black people secure as much land as possible in American cities because the cities are the key power centers: without a presence in the city, there can be no strength politically or otherwise. Cities across the country are quickly gentrifying but one thing works in the favor of Black people who wish to own land: racism. Historically, property values in Black neighborhoods have always been significantly lower than white neighborhoods. At the root of it, whites simply would prefer not to live by an overwhelming number of Black people. Wherever a heavy concentration of Black people may be found, values will be lower and that means there’s an opportunity. Vacant land, blighted buildings and the like are actually a blessing and Black people must choose to value their communities, before others do: gentrifiers.
Black Wall Street STL is modeling what should be happening across the country. When we come together, pool our resources and act as one, we can control our neighborhoods, build our businesses and create wealth. The government will not come save us, nor will allies. Black people have the power to act independently, it’s simply a choice.