They’re looking back to look forward.
“It's very important just to commemorate the people that have been here before us,” Kevin Hayes, the owner of fitness and lifestyle brand, Higher Ground Strength said. “It’s been 100 years, so it’s important for us to keep it going.”
What Hayes wants to keep going: The “Black excellence” known as Black Wall Street.
This was a prosperous hub of Black Businesses in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, until the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, when white rioters destroyed it in a span of 18 hours.
On Friday, ahead of the 100-year anniversary, the NAACP Bakersfield Chapter and over 30 Black-owned businesses came together to spotlight Black-owned businesses here in town.
“Today for me means unity, where Black individuals can come together and have a peace of mind, and actually support each other,” owner and operations manager of Legacy Dior, Bernita Stewart Jackson said.
The owner of the company she oversees is her one-year-old daughter, Legacy.
Just like the brand’s message of generational wealth and financial literacy, Jackson hopes to instill those values in her daughter from day one.
“My daughter is going to be a millionaire. She has a shirt that says millionaire already,” Jackson said. “Her check is just pending. So support, support support! My daughter will be a millionaire by the time she’s 16."
Legacy was not the only young entrepreneur present at the Black Wall Street event: Amariaye Darrett is the owner of lip gloss brand, Marij Kisses, and she’s only 13 years old.
“It makes me happy that I can be a part of something like this and proud as a 13-year-old,” Darrett said. “I’m here to experience how Black business owners make profits.”
Then there’s Lea Molina. She's the daughter and granddaughter of two entrepreneurial Black women. At Friday’s event, she was helping her mother, Ava and grandmother, Jeannie sell their food products: Ava’s Famous Salsa and Jeannie’s Jammin’ BBQ sauce, respectively.
“My mom has been making her salsa for years, and my grammy has been making her BBQ sauce for years, and they have been serving that to are family for years," Molina said. "We’re thankfully all vaccinated now, so we’re able to serve it to the world, and this is just such a perfect opportunity to do that."
You can find more local Black-owned businesses to support here.