During the early 20th century the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma was home to the most prolific African American business district in American history. The district was sometimes referred to as “Black Wall Street” or the “Black Beverly Hills” because of its affluent residents and exemplary economic development.
The residents of the Greenwood community wanted to contribute to the success of their own shops and community. A dollar circulated for a whole year in Black Wall Street before it left the community. This self-sufficiency business model created a community that was home to over 600 businesses including 30 grocery stores, 21 restaurants, 2 movie theatres, law offices, a bank, a hospital, and a host of other businesses. The community also created many businessmen who became multimillionaires six of whom owned their own private jets.
On May 31, 1921 Black Wall Street was bombed and all 600 businesses were destroyed overnight. Historians have claimed that thousands of lives were lost during this massacre and to this day, the descendants of Black Wall Street have not been fully compensated for their losses.