O.W. Gurley

In Celebration of Black History Month

In honor and celebration of Black History Month, we wanted to celebrate two individuals that catapulted the economic development of African American. Greenwood, an area located in Tulsa Oklahoma was a prime geographical area of wealth and booming economic progress. This area was known as the “Negro Wall Street”, or better known as “The Black Wall Street”. Two men particularly played a major role in this development. Their names are O.W Gurley and J.B Stradford.

O.W. Gurley

In 1906 a wealthy African American name O. W. Gurley moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he purchased 40 acres of land. The land he bought was reserved only for African Americans however, black ownership was unheard of during the time. Gurley first business consisted of a rooming house along a dusty trail on Greenwood Avenue. Gurley’s rooming house was a safe haven for African Americans seeking relief from racial prosecution and oppression in Mississippi. In addition to his rooming house business O.W Gurley built 3 2-story buildings and additionally purchased an 80 acre farm land. Today this 80 acre land is known as Vernon AME Church.

Vernon AME Church

The Vernon AME Church can be seen today at the below address:

Address: 311 N Greenwood Ave, Tulsa, OK 74120

Phone: (918) 587-1428

J.B. Stradford

J.B. Stradford

J.B. Stradford was another African American entrepreneur who arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the late 1889. Stradford had purchased many real estate in the northeastern part of Tulsa. The entrepreneur subdivided the real estate and sold it exclusively to blacks. Stradford was also an idealist who believe that African Americans had a better chance of economic progress if they pool their money together, work with each other and support black businesses. Stradford was also responsible for the Stradford Hotel, which is believed to be one of the largest black-owned hotel in the U.S. Learn more about Greenwood Tulsa.

Stradford Hotel

1921 Tulsa Race Riots

Greenwood in Tulsa Oklahoma was considered “The Negro Wall Street” better known today as “The Black Wall Street”. Thanks particularly to successful entrepreneurs likes Gurley and Stradford. However, in 1921 Tulsa Race riots destroyed Tulsa’s economic progress and destroyed the businesses and development of both men. Many experts believed that over 300 people were killed and for a while Tulsa become stagnant. Individuals who survived the race riot had started rebuilding the community even though the government placed zoning laws and restrictions that would make the rebuilding process difficult. Lear more about the Tulsa Race Riot.

Hope Isn’t Lost: Whats Being Done In 2019?

“black people had a better chance of economic progress if they pooled their resources, worked together and supported each other’s businesses”

…And this is exactly what many are doing. Many African American entrepreneurs are making a difference in 2019 and keeping both Gurley & Stradford positive mindset. The shift has been made from physical assets to digital ones because of the low overhead cost, easy mobility and vast audience reach. WeBuyBlack is one of the largest eCommerce website for African Americans to support black-owned businesses. OneUnited is the largest black-owned bank in the country. There are also many large publications that are black owned or is focused on the African American experience. These publications include, Root, Black Enterprise, Black America Web, Blavity, Black News, and more. Below is a list of successful black millennial companies that are making waves in 2019.

Black Owned Businesses 2019

This is a list of black owned brands or black focused brands. They are in no particular order.

  1. WeBuyBlack
  2. OneUnited
  3. Reload Packs
  4. Brown Sugar (Black Netflix)
  5. Blavity
  6. Black Enterprise
  7. BLK (Black Tinder)
  8. Black News
  9. Black America Web
  10. BET
  11. Ebony
  12. Soul Swipe
  13. The Root
  14. Rush Card
  15. News One
  16. Afro
  17. The Grio