The byname habituated to the Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma by Booker T. Washington, Black Wall Street, refers to the prosperous business district built by African Americans on what was former Indian Territory. Created at the turn of the 20th century, African American entrepreneurs founded and developed the district turning it into a thriving community that flourished as a Black economic and cultural mecca.
Derived from the belief that African Americans had a better chance of economic progress if their resources were pooled and worked together to support each other’s businesses; Black owned businesses clustered on the strip of land that would become known as Black Wall Street in 1905, when African Americans acquired the land in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. Businesses included its very own grocery stores, barbershops and salons. As well as pubs, clothing stores and hotels; the neighborhood also had its own newspaper, schools, movie theaters and places of worship. The business district thrived throughout the first half of the century, even during the Great Depression of 1929.
The residents of Black Wall Street created the means to keep money circulating in their own community by collectively funneling their cash into the local Black owned businesses that dotted the district. Turning Black Wall Street into a robust and self-sustaining community.