The Tulsa neighborhood of Greenwood, known as Black Wall Street, was destroyed in 1921 during the Tulsa Racial Massacre.
NORFOLK, Virginia (WAVY) – This Christmas season, a one-of-a-kind Suffolk coffee shop opens its doors to help small businesses.
Wall Street Cafe is in the heart of Suffolk on W. Washington Street.
Norfolk-born Danita Hayes, co-owner and entrepreneur, said the Wall Street Cafe was inspired by the beauty of what was once Black Wall Street in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The thriving black business district was destroyed during the Tulsa massacre in 1921, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on US soil.
“It was a tragedy. We’re not focusing on the tragedy, however, ”said Hayes. “We focus on what these people could do when they came together as a community and what they could achieve. We’re trying to recreate that here in Downtown Suffolk! “
The Wall Street Cafe opened during the pandemic. “We’re not just here to serve you coffee, drinks and good food. We have, but we’re also here to educate, ”said Hayes. “We consider ourselves to be part of the community and are here to speak to the community about entrepreneurship, real estate, the stock market, [and] Cryptocurrency. “
There is room to learn, with courses and workshops on ways to create wealth. “We have a corporate culture,” explains Hayes. “It is our responsibility as entrepreneurs to lead the community.”
First Saturday in December, Wall Street Cafe will host a pop-up shop.
“I’ve declared it Entrepreneur’s Day, it’s going to be a public holiday,” said Hayes. “It will showcase their stores. It’s a day when all companies come together, we can network and learn from each other. “
Hayes wants everyone to come out and support the business and take a picture in front of the mural on Wall Street.
Blair Durham, President of Black BRAND, the Black Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, expects business owners to continue creating unique opportunities to attract consumers this holiday season.
“Business owners are more creative about what they can teach, not just what they can sell,” said Durham.
Durham is hosting a podcast also inspired by the Greenwood District Black Wall Street today. She says this is part of an attempt to bridge the wealth gap between minorities and other races.
Last Christmas season there was a national push to buy from black-owned companies.
“Hashtag buy black is one thing, I think what got the buy black movement off the ground was defiantly social media.”
She assumes that this trend will continue at Christmas. To find local black businesses, the Black Brand app provides a full list.