Following the First World War, Greenwood, a small district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, gained national attention as the site of “Black Wall Street,” an epicenter of African American prosperity. Although the community was destroyed one hundred years ago in one of the most horrific displays of racial violence in US history, Greenwood remains a beloved historic site and a reminder of the success of 20th century African-American business owners. Tulsa Real Estate Fund, an economic vehicle named for Black Wall Street, hopes to reinvigorate this historic area and bring back financial wealth to Black communities across the nation.
Greenwood District was founded in 1906 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in an area that historically had been used for Native American relocation. A number of African Americans who had been former slaves of the tribes and members of tribal communities acquired land within Greenwood through the Dawes Act of 1887, which allowed individual Native Americans to own land on reservations. O.W. Hurley, one of the town’s first residents, is often cited as creating one of the first Black businesses in Greenwood and established the town’s first boarding house for African Americans. More than that, however, Gurley was known to loan money to any individual looking to start a business in Greenwood. Word quickly spread, and thousands of African Americans came to the town seeking opportunity.
Shortly after the town’s foundation, Greenwood became one of the most affluent and commercially successful African American communities within the United States, leading to its nickname “Black Wall Street.” Within the town’s center, on Greenwood Avenue, existed hundreds of successful businesses, including luxury shops, grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, clothing and jewelry stores, movie theaters, libraries, barbershops and salons, pool halls, nightclubs, and dentist, lawyer, and doctors’ offices. Additionally, Greenwood had its own community school system, postal office, bank, hospital, and bus and taxi service. It was often said that every dollar in Greenwood would change hands 19 times before it left the community. Today, many economists theorize that the extreme racial oppression and discrimination prevalent during that time forced African Americans to spend their money within Black-owned businesses, effectively insulating cash flow within the Greenwood community.
In 1921, Greenwood was destroyed when a mob of white residents attacked Black residents and businesses, leading to the destruction of thousands of homes and businesses and the deaths of 75-300 Black individuals. Today, Tulsa Real Estate Fund, a Black-owned Regulation A+ Tier II Impact Fund, is dedicated to resurrecting and expanding Black Wall Street through crowdfunding real estate investments, private lending, equity investments, and comprehensive community development for the urban community.