By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
If ever there was place or time where black prosperity and wealth was of abundance in the African-American community, it would of been the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Locally referred to as “Black Wallstreet “, by its local residents, and the time would of been the early part of the 20th century. In only a few generations from slavery, the black people in the small and segregated community were not only able to financially survive, they thrived, many of them had more wealth than the local white residents. They built that wealth by hard work and a keen entrepreneurial mindset. With that mindset they owned and controlled their own banks, businesses, grocery stores, restaurants, churches, private airplanes, movie theaters and hospital; until it was all destroyed by its racist white supremacist residents in 1921.
My question is could it be Rebuilt? Not only on a local level, state level, national level, but on an international level, since black people have been economically disenfranchised on a global level, from the cold Detroit streets to the hot Ghanaian streets.
According to financial expert, Dr. Boyce Watkins, black wealth could be Rebuilt using what Watkins calls “the three pillars of wealth”, and that is investing (stock market and bond investing), entrepreneurship ( business creation and ownership), and real estate ( home/rental property ownership ).
Using the three pillars of wealth system, In a generation or two, with stock value increasing due to compound interest and profits from real estate and other entrepreneurial ventures, maybe the massive wealth gap, between blacks and whites (that many people complain about, but do nothing about), could start to close. To the naysayers who think this is impossible, because black people do not have any money, I say Google “black spending power”, according to magazines like Fortune, black American spending power is over a trillion dollars a year. That is more than the GDP of most countries, around the world.
Now, just imagine if a 20% ($200 billion) of that trillion dollars was invested, in the stock market, and in starting businesses and buying real estate in our own communities. So, instead of having to beg a community outsider for a job, we could create a job, for someone in our community. Which is really needed in the black community, because despite all the claims from Trump, about historically low unemployment in the black community; what Trump or other politicians won’t tell us, is that the people who have giving up looking for a job, or whose unemployment benefits have been exhausted, are not counted in unemployment statistics. A recent CNN article titled: “1 in 5 black men did not work in 2016, study says” claims that 20% of working age black men did not earn any income in 2016. Which means they either became homeless, became dependents of a family member or significant other, or joined the underground economy, which more times than not leads to prison.
So to insure, the future of our communities, not only should we start to save and invest in the stock market, which can be done very easily using cost-effective investment apps like Acorns, Stash Invest and Robinhood, but we should educate ourselves and our families on financial responsibility, by reading books like “The $5 A Day Stock Market Investing Plan” or “Black American Money”, which are both by Dr.Boyce Watkins, and we should also, protect that wealth for the next generation by forming a business, getting a Will and starting a family trust, all of which can be easily done by using cheap online services like legalzoom.
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NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE :