Let’s be real. If it isn’t February, Black History is rarely discussed. There is so much about our history that is shrouded in mystery. Unless you are doing the research and reading between the lines, it is easy to miss the impact that Black people have had on this country, and the world at large.
Often when we are talking about Black Business, we find ourselves pointing to Tulsa and the legend of Black Wall Street and how it was decimated in the race riots of Tulsa in 1921. We talk about this place and time like a myth, or an outlier. When somehow, some way, against all odds, Black people were thriving.
And then it was destroyed.
But what if that wasn’t the only time in American History that Black people had community and were successful? What if Black Wall Street was one of a group of communities that were prosperous and ultimately lost to racism and prejudice?
Last year, on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riots, Clay Cane wrote a piece that was published in BET, entitled, Not Just Tulsa: Race Massacres That Devastated Black Communities in Rosewood, Atlanta, and Other Cities. In the piece he highlights some of these places where communities were torn apart.
This article is a reminder of why supporting Black Business is so important. It isn’t about money or getting rich; It’s about supporting the community. It’s about showing the world — more importantly, ourselves — that starting a business, providing a service, and contributing to the community is not something that we have to learn or figure out how to do. We have been doing this. Our ancestors already knew how to unify and build communities where we, as Black people, thrive together.
So supporting Black Businesses is a way of honoring and remembering who we are and what we are capable of as a people.
And so, to repeat the cliche we hear every February, support a Black Business this month. And when you do, remember it’s more than just a hat or a bottle of cologne; it is a symbol of community; a symbol of what we have done and what we can do again, together.