The New Black Wall Street: A sight to see and an experience of a lifetime
Updated: Feb 10
Bringing the family out to the New Black Wall Street Market over the weekend was met with high anticipation and curiosity.
Driving from south Atlanta to Dekalb County where the New Black Wallstreet location is in Stonecrest, Georgia, the weather was bad, and the roads were slippery. However, it didn't impede our travel.
We wanted to experience the moment, meet the people, and witness Black entrepreneurship at its best.
When we arrived, the parking lot was crowded with Black people coming and going. It was a sight to see.
Walking into this Black-owned building was like walking into a ceremony; it was that intriguing and amazing. In the center of the building, when entering, there's a big sign: "Ownership-Ownership-Ownership!"
You are easily sucked up into the moment when you first enter the building. Straight ahead is a painting of Greenwood Community residents, to my left is a big Christmas tree and the mall, and to your right is a reception desk with a background screen with Tulsa 1921 and the New Black Wall Street Market.
The History of Black Wall Street
At the turn of the 20th century, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, became one of
the first communities in the country to thrive with Black-owned businesses.
The prosperous town, founded by many descendants of slaves, earned a reputation as the Black Wall Street of America and became a harbor for Blacks in a highly segregated city under Jim Crow laws.
From May 31 to June 1, 1921, a white mob turned Greenwood upside down in one of the worst racial massacres in U.S. history.
In a matter of hours, 35 square blocks of the vibrant Black community turned into ashes and debris.
A number of Black people were killed—estimates ranged from 55 to more than 300—and over 1,000 homes and businesses were looted and set on fire.
The mall is sectioned off by areas that sell particular items. In the front of the mall, there is a grocery store and restaurant that is opening soon.
There is a painting, arts, jewelry making, and museum section. Then, there is food, clothing. health and beauty stores, as well as a bookstore, personal engraving, and movie theater section.
In memory, these sections are named by streets of the old Greenwood community in the 1920s.
This powerful phrase is everywhere inside the New Black Wall Street Market. There is renovation and construction that are being done now. Nevertheless, it is up and running!
I saw several "opening soon" signs or business owners letting everyone know they'll be opening soon. Some stores and food vendors were temporarily placed in sections until their store locations opens.
From the looks of it, what I shared on my YouTube live and some pictures of the New Black Wallstreet Market is only a partial glimpse of what is to come.
There is a whole other side to this building that's under construction, and when it's completed, they all will be set up as stores, restaurants, art galleries, theater, etc.
There is also a barbershop, nail shop and so much more to come. The site and experience will be stunning and awe-inspiring.
After the finished product, I believe the ancestors of Greenwood will be proud to see the New Black Wall Street Market. It's something the Black people of Greenwood valued, doing for self and community building.
They were great! There was so much Black love, fun, and support. No arguing. No fighting. No shooting.
People were really humble, friendly, and sociable. We met Black families from different parts of the country there, like from Cleveland and Chicago.
People were asking business owners about their products and services, and the owners did very well in fully explaining what they had to offer. Black people were making many purchases and supporting these Black businesses. I did also!
I was very happy to be there. I met a lot of people that were down to earth. I even met a Black couple who supports my YouTube channel.
When I went live, there were so many Black people jumping in front of the camera, having fun, and advertising their products. I couldn't help but laugh and act silly with them.
The Black man behind the Plan
From what I've learned about the Black man behind this brilliant idea is an extraordinary story, to say the least.
Lecester L. (Bill) Allen, the founder and CEO of the Allen Entrepreneurship Institute, is an educator at heart. He is also a philanthropist and businessman.
Born in Dumas, Arkansas, Bill Allen was reminded by his mother in his younger years about the importance of money and ownership. His grandfather owned 500 acres of land.
“That had an impact on my thinking. The seed was planted at an early age,” he said.
He told state lawmakers attending the Leroy Johnson Civil Rights Dinner at the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus (GLBC) that they must do more to provide financial literacy to the black community for it to prosper:
“As legislators, I would like to encourage you to move from just the phrase of ‘jobs, jobs, jobs to ‘ownership, ownership, ownership.’ We often make references to the ‘Black Wall Street,’ but we don’t have the ownership,” said Allen, adding that he would like to see more ownership of institutions and businesses like the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute."
He shared that his father was a slave, and he also said, “I know it is hard to believe that I am only one generation from slavery. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” Allen reminded, who learned the ins and outs of surviving and becoming financially literate.
His first real estate investment started after graduating from college in Detroit, purchasing property with his $3,000 from his savings of the $4,000 needed, in which he borrowed the remaining balance from the credit union.
Allen explained that's when he learned the concept of depreciation and capital gains.
He amassed his wealth in education and real estate. He retired to Florida but came back to Atlanta to build his mansion. In addition, he built the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute, a hotel, and a private conference building all on his land.
This was done every year. Surprisingly, Oprah Winfrey's Greenleaf tv series was shot in his mansion.
Bill Allen's life goal and mission are to help educate Blacks, women, and minorities about entrepreneurship. He coined the infamous phrase: "Ownership-Ownership-Ownership!"
This powerful phrase is everywhere inside the New Black Wall Street Market.
Allen is the epitome of moving in silence. He is not a media guy or media-friendly. I tried to get an interview, but I was told that he doesn't do interviews and he stays away from the public eye.
I was told that he has been teaching for over 22 years and was working on an $800 million dollar project named The Black Wall Street Village. But due to the project delays and the commemoration of the Black Wall Street anniversary approaching last month, he focused his attention on opening the New Black Wall Street Market before the anniversary.
According to a member of the project management team, he had already acquired the 125,000 square feet old Target building, and he just, one day, walked into the building-pointing out where different businesses can be located inside the building. It was amazing to hear.
His goal came true. The New Black Wall Street Market was opened on November 26, 2021.
Allen's motivation to start the New Black Wall Street Market was because he was tired of watching Blac