In 1905, a man named Ottwa Gurley bought 40 acres of land in Tulsa Oklahoma that he vowed to only sell to other Black people/entrepreneurs. This was the birth of Greenwood, dubbed the legendary “Black Wall Street.” The Black Wall Street community was legendary for its number of businesses, the wealth of its residents, and the tenacity of its Black entrepreneurs. At its height, the Greenwood community boasted hundreds of businesses that included 32 grocery stores, a hospital, law offices, a bank, a trolley system, and even six privately owned airplanes. All of this was built by people less than a generation removed from slavery. Black Wall Street painted a new reality that proved Black potential was limitless, even in a country that enslaved us and made racism the cornerstone of its identity.
It is this new story, written by the founders of Black Wall Street that was its crown Jewel and greatest gift. And it is truly an incredible blessing that this was the case. because in 1921, the ineffable achievement of entrepreneurial genius that was Black Wall Street, was burned to ashes.