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I was never taught in school about Black entrepreneurs, investors or inventors, which I believed many of us are not. It wasn’t even mentioned in my African American Studies Honor class in High School. Why was that?

I wasn’t introduced to BlackWall Street until about three years ago. I heard the term used throughout rap music, especially the Game’s lyrics. When I started to research the history of BlackWallStreet I had mixed emotions, amazement, hurt and anger. I wondered what and how I would feel if I visited The Black Wall Street Memorial in person.

How and why was this part of American history, and more importantly African American history so forgotten? We always see African Americans portrayed throughout media as slaves, athletes or musicians, but many of the stories we see showcase us in subservient roles.

Why and when are we going to take more pride and ownership in the stories we tell the next generation? Show visual examples its possible for us to become Multimillionaires and Billionaires outside of playing sports. I’m not knocking playing sports, but sports and music shouldn’t be the main examples of how African Americans can be successful. We have the ability to invent new technologies, patent new ideas, license technology for products we use daily, and build disruptive businesses, effecting how we live and think today. We’ve done many of these things in our past but most of us still don’t know or realize that. Why?

Being in the U.S. Navy Reserves has a few upsides. In this particular situation, my unit is in OKlahoma, which meant I could plan a trip to Greenwood on the Military’s dime. 😎

So I decided to plan my trip to the BlackWallStreet Memorial before I left Austin, TX. I used google maps to plot out the distance to Tulsa, which was roughly 1.5hr away.

Immediately 3 things stood out to me.

  1. Osage County didn’t seem like a traditional American named county.
  2. Pawhuska was the seat held by the Osage County which sounded Indian to me.
  3. The location of where BlackWallStreet resided was up North from the capital of Oklahoma.

Living in Austin, TX, what 💡immediately went off in my mind was the location of BlackWallStreet in OK, resembled a whole heck of a lot like gentrification.

Could this be true? Could it be so blunt too?
This is part I of a 3 part series. Stay tuned for what happens next.

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Posted by Naji Kelley