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Panel works to revitalize Black Wall Street; searching for young entrepreneur

Black Wall Street 2.0 (KTUL)
Black Wall Street 2.0 (KTUL)
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TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Nearly 100 years ago there was a place called Black Wall Street on Greenwood. It was a thriving area, but today the area sits mostly empty.

The north side of town looks mostly vacant but that wasn't always the case.

"We had over 30 grocery stores, we had over 21 restaurants, 20 plus churches, which we still have churches, lawyers and doctors," Senator Kevin Matthews said.

That was almost 100 years ago.

Matthews says it is a shame people are begging for jobs. Through Black Wall Street 2.0 panel members will be helping entrepreneurs learn to invest and learn the skills of being a business owner.

"It was said that the dollar turned over in north Tulsa 36 to 1,000 times and one dollar stayed in this community for nearly a year before it left," Matthews said. "Today, it stays it stays 15 to 20 minutes."

The panel wants to help young entrepreneurs with drive, like Tyreiha Walker.

"We don't have a lot down here," Walker said. "We have two restaurants, three restaurants on this strip of street."

Just 21-years-old and she and her sisters opened Wanda J's Next Generation restaurant a few months ago.

Walker's drive isn't just for herself but also for her community.

"I would like to see some of my peers here with whatever they do, whether it is ice cream or boutiques or hospitals or lawyers offices. Anything that will generate traffic and have people down here," Walker said.

Starting a business isn't cheap so members of Black Wall Street 2.0 created a community reinvestment fund.

"North Tulsa pulls capital together and where we have a hub of resources in capital to either lend out for people who want to start small businesses that we don't see in the community, niches that need to be filled or projects," Tyrance Billingsley said.

The goal right now is $50,000. Young, entrepreneur Martwain Willis, along with the help of Carl Walker, is flipping cars and giving the entire profit to the reinvestment fund.

"We are going to make our money regardless of whether we are going to be a part of this or not, which we are going to be a part of it," Willis said. "Us giving the whole profit to this share is no big deal."

"We had the ability to make it in the first place so we can be intelligent and hard working enough to bring it back ourselves," Billingsley said.

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