Following the success of last year’s Black Wall Street, an event that highlights local black businesses, the Ohio State chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is looking to make a bigger impact on Ohio State and Columbus.
“We’ve invited a bunch of different businesses from the Columbus area, as well as a few student businesses,” Iman Clark, a third-year in dance and community engagement chair for NAACP OSU, said. “It’s a great chance to network and also buy goods if the business chooses to bring them.”
The event draws inspiration from the original Black Wall Street located in the historic Greenwood colony of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that thrived during the oil boom in the 1910s. The town was also the subject of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.
Shayla Ferguson, a fourth-year in women’s studies and social justice chair, said many members of NAACP OSU view the event as a tribute to the original Black Wall Street.
“We want to make sure that the history of Tulsa, Oklahoma, isn’t forgotten,” Ferguson said. “We want to make sure that we still support black businesses.”
There will be more than 15 different businesses showcasing and providing their goods to potential customers. Ferguson said it’s a way for these local businesses to expand their business as well as a way for students on campus to see what the Columbus area has to offer.
“We have performances that will be there as well, so it won’t just be people coming in shopping,” Ferguson said. “[There’s] actually going to be content there that you can come in and enjoy. There’s also going to be a speech on black entrepreneurship.”
Clark said the organization wants to connect the Ohio State and Columbus communities through the Black Wall Street event.
“I’ve noticed that there’s a huge bubble within the Ohio State community and Columbus in general,” Clark said. “I think it’s a great way to bridge the gap between the two.”
Both Ferguson and Clark said it’s no coincidence that this event is being held during Black History Month.
“This is one of our most important months in the year so it was perfect timing,” Ferguson said.
Black Wall Street might be a celebration of black entrepreneurship, but it is open to all.
“We usually hear that some people may be intimidated to come to our events, but we are very welcoming to all races. This is an event that is supposed to be uplifting to the community — the OSU community especially,” Ferguson said.
The Black Wall Street event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at Hale Hall.