In Tulsa, the home of Black Wall Street, the ancestors of Black entrepreneurship are still legends. As the world learns more about Black Wall Street, the founders, creators, supporters, and innovators still inspire generations. Many Black entrepreneurs Tulsans are trying to do their part to uphold the high standards left by the Black Wall Street founders. Although the area of Greenwood has not prospered as it should have over the past 100 years, other areas in North Tulsa have grown. The area of Greenwood that housed the entrepreneurs' efforts and dreams in the early 1900s has experienced its own internal destruction; the entrepreneurial spirit still can be felt when you walk down Greenwood.
For Black Tulsans to create a financial district to rivals other areas within Tulsa is a testament to the hard work and risk-taking efforts by its creators. This financial district was created with no internet, no big bank financing, limited segregation, and it flourished. The founders made history, but to them, they were just creating products and services out of necessity. They did not have the freedom to travel throughout the city, to connect with the world at the touch a button, or to have a city supportive of their infrastructure or financial programs. These facts should provide a collective challenge to other Black entrepreneurs, regardless of their income. The Black Wall Street was created by those who bootstrapped, bargained, and bartered to realize their dreams.
Current entrepreneurs have a plethora of available resources to create and expand their businesses. It is up to North Tulsa entrepreneurs to see Tulsa realize what it should have for the past 100 years, and that is a vibrant North Tulsa. North Tulsans must create jobs for North Tulsans, but now have the networking opportunities to partner with other entrepreneurs within Tulsa or outside of the borders of Oklahoma. North Tulsans are no longer boxed in by a train track. Some people think the reason it has not grown as it should have, seeing the start it had 100 years ago, is due to limited segregation, but that should still have allowed for more customers.
As Tulsans celebrates100 years since the ascension of the Black Wall Street, they must continue to build businesses and support entrepreneurs with funding, networking, partnerships, and mentorship. Black Tulsans have long built small businesses, but there is a need for aid with growing the businesses past one-person shops. The drive is there for our entrepreneurs, and they must continue to take calculated risks to realize their dreams.
The businesses created on Greenwood 100 years ago have become global in memory. It is time for Black businesses to become global in product and service offerings. North Tulsa needs those who do not live in the area to support businesses there. North Tulsa has had stereotypes the area is fighting hard to change. I invite all readers to try to spend money in North Tulsa before the end of the year. You will help a business in Tulsa succeed, and your support is much appreciated.
Corey Carolina is an NSU graduate, North Tulsa entrepreneur and activist, and owner of Carolina Food Co.
He is also an author, his first book being "The Absent Father."