Airplanes were weaponized against American citizens in an unspeakble act of terror. This is not a story about September 11, however — we are speaking of the Greenwood Race Massacre that exploded on June 1 of 1921. In its aftermath we are told over 300 Blacks were killed, over 10,000 were left homeless and countless others fled the city in fear. Hundreds of Black owned businesses were burned to the ground and most tragic, the incident was largely buried in history. Today we are not here to mourn Black Wall Street but rebuild it.
The Greenwood District in North Tulsa was dubbed “Black Wall Street” because of its prosperity. In the aftermath of the the 1921 campaign of terror, roughly 40 blocks were burned. Churches, businesses, schools and homes were desecrated, overnight. I personally lived in Tulsa for three years during the mid-2000’s and learned of the many driveways that led to houses which no longer existed. Survivors tell us bodies were dumped into mass graves or into the river. The Tulsa Tribune removed its front-page story from May 31 that ignited the terror from its bound volumes and scholars have discovered police and state militia archives about the riot were missing as well. They made it all simply disappear.
But we can do more than lament what was lost. Today we are rebuilding Black Wall Street. Yes, we’ve lost much in decades past but what they have destroyed in a night can be rebuilt in a day. Soul Food Market will be a one-stop grocery shopping experience with all the products that we need. More importantly, all those products will come from our community. Soul Food Market will be an economic engine like few others, powering the new Black Wall Street, in communities around the country. In an instant, Soul Food Market will not only prop up hundreds of Black owned food producers and farmers but also, create a singular destination for Black people to easily recycle millions back into our community.
Each time a Black entrepreneur succeeds, they do so because the spirit of Black Wall Street lives within them. All of us are part of the rebuilding, with each stand we take to support our own. Soul Food Market is simply a continuation of the Black Wall Street legacy. In 2018 Amazon brought in $232.89 billion in total revenue. The United States is home to 38,000 supermarkets and they bring in $650 billion a year. Soul Food Market is an attempt to reclaim what is rightfully ours — a piece of that $650 billion pie. We must never forget what happened on June 1 of 1921. We must, however, move beyond mourning and continue building. Give $10 today to help our efforts to rebuild Black Wall Street.