Tag: Money

Black Wall Street: The True Story

tulsa 2

If anyone truly believes that the attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was the most tragic bombing ever to take place on United States soil, then they’re wrong — plain and simple. That’s because an even deadlier bomb occurred in that same state nearly 95 years ago. Many people in high places would like to forget that it ever happened.

Searching under the heading of “riots,” “Oklahoma” and “Tulsa” in current editions of the World Book Encyclopedia, there is conspicuously no mention whatsoever of the Tulsa race riot of 1921, and this omission is by no means a surprise, or a rare case. The fact is, one would also be hard-pressed to find documentation of the incident, let alone and accurate accounting of it, in any other “scholarly” reference or American history book.

That’s precisely the point that noted author, publisher and orator Ron Wallace, a Tulsa native, sought to make when he began researching this riot, one of the worst incidents of violence ever visited upon people of African descent. Ultimately joined on the project by colleague Jay Wilson of Los Angeles, the duo found and compiled indisputable evidence of what they now describe as “a Black holocaust in America.”

The date was June 1, 1921, when “Black Wall Street,” the name fittingly given to one of the most affluent all-Black communities in America, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving 36-Black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering–a model community destroyed, and a major African-American economic movement resoundingly defused.

The night’s carnage left some 300 African Americans dead, and over 600 successful businesses lost. Among these were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes and even a bus system. As could have been expected the impetus behind it all was the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in consort with ranking city officials, and many other sympathizers.

In their self-published book, Black Wall Street: A Lost Dream, and its companion video documentary, Black Wall Street: A Black Holocaust in America!, the authors have chronicled for the very first time in the words of area historians and elderly survivors what really happened there on that fateful summer day in 1921 and why it happened. Wallace similarly explained to me why this bloody event from the turn of the century seems to have had a recurring effect that is being felt in predominately Black neighborhoods even to this day.

The best description of Black Wall Street, or Little Africa as it was also known, would be liken it to a mini-Beverly Hills. It was the golden door of the Black community during the early 1900s, and it proved that African Americans had successful infrastructure. That’s what Black Wall Street was all about. 

The dollar circulated 36 to 100 times, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community. Now in 1995, a dollar leaves the Black community in 15-minutes. As far as resources, there were Ph.D.’s residing in Little Africa, Black attorneys and doctors. One doctor was Dr. Berry who owned the bus system. His average income was $500 a day, a hefty pocket change in 1910. 

During that era, physicians owned medical schools. There were also pawn shops everywhere, brothels, jewelry stores, 21 churches, 21 restaurants and two movie theaters. It was a time when the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet six Blacks owned their own planes. It was a very fascinating community.

The area encompassed over 600 businesses and 36 square blocks with a population of 15,000 African Americans. And when the lower-economic Europeans looked over and saw what the Black community created, many of them were jealous. When the average student went to school on Black Wall Street, he wore a suit and tie because of the morals and respect they were taught at a young age.

The mainstay of the community was to educate every child. Nepotism was the one word they believed in. And that’s what we need to get back to in 1995. The main thoroughfare was Greenwood Avenue, and it was intersected by Archer and Pine Streets. From the first letters in each of those three names, you get G.A.P., and that’s where the renowned R and B music group the Gap Band got its name. They’re from Tulsa.

Black Wall Street was a prime example of the typical Black community in America that did businesses, but it was in an unusual location. You see, at the time, Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state. There were over 28 Black townships there. One third of the people who traveled in the terrifying “Trail of Tears” alongside the Indians between 1830 to 1842 were African Americans. 

The citizens of this proposed Indian and Black state chose an African American governor, a treasurer from Kansas named McDade. But the Ku Klux Klan said that if he assumed office that they would kill him within 48 hours. A lot of Blacks owned farmland, and many of them had gone into the oil business. The community was so tight and wealthy because they traded dollars hand-to-hand, and because they were dependent upon one another as a result of the Jim Crow laws. 

It was not unusual that if a resident’s home accidentally burned down, it could be rebuilt within a few weeks by neighbors. This was the type of scenario that was going on day- to-day on Black Wall Street. When Blacks intermarried into the Indian culture, some of them received their promised ’40 acres and a mule’ and with that came whatever oil was later found on the properties.

Just to show you how wealthy a lot of African Americans were, there was a banker in the neighboring town who had a wife named California Taylor. Her father owned the largest cotton gin west of the Mississippi [River]. When California shopped, she would take a cruise to Paris every three months to have her clothes made. 

There was also a man named Mason in nearby Wagner County who had the largest potato farm west of the Mississippi. When he harvested, he would fill 100 boxcars a day. Another brother not far away had the same thing with a spinach farm. The typical family then was five children or more, though the typical farm family would have 10 kids or more who made up the nucleus of the labor.

On Black Wall Street, a lot of global business was conducted. The community flourished from the early 1900s until June 1, 1921. That’s when the largest massacre of non-military Americans in the history of this country took place, and it was lead by the Ku Klux Klan. Imagine walking out of your front door and seeing 1,500 homes being burned. Survivors we interviewed think that the whole thing was planned because during the time that all of this was going on, white families with their children stood around the borders of their community and watched the massacre, the looting and everything–much in the same manner they would watch a lynching.

Oddly, there is more awareness of the event in other countries than in the U.S.


How African American Middle-Class Kids Become Poor Adults

middle class

When it comes to financial stability, black Americans are often in much more precarious financial situations than white Americans. Their unemployment rate is higher, and so is the level of poverty within the black community. In 2013, the poverty rate among white Americans was 9.6 percent, among black Americans it was 27.2 percent. And the gap between the wealth of white families and black families has widened to its highest levels since 1989, according to a 2014 study by Pew Research Center.

The facts of this rift aren’t new, or all that surprising. But perhaps what’s most unsettling about the current economic climate in black America is that when black families attain middle-class status, the likelihood that their children will remain there, or do better, isn’t high.

American Income Distributions, by Race 


“Even black Americans who make it to the middle class are likely to see their kids fall down the ladder,” writes Richard Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. In a recent blog post Reeves says that seven out of 10 black children who are born to families with income that falls in the middle quintile of the income spectrum will find themselves with income that’s one to two quintiles below their parents during their own adulthood.

A 2014 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which looked at factors like parental income, education, and family structure, shows a similar pattern: Many black Americans not only fail to move up, but show an increased likelihood of backsliding. According to the study, “In recent decades, blacks have experienced substantially less upward intergenerational mobility and substantially more downward intergenerational mobility than whites.”

The greater probability of slipping back applies to blacks across income groups. According to the Fed study, about 60 percent of black children whose parents had income that fell into the top 50 percent of the distribution saw their own income fall into the bottom half during adulthood. This type of downward slide was common for only 36 percent of white children.

But the gap in mobility was also significant for lower-class families as well. “For most of the bottom half of the income distribution, the racial differences in upward mobility are consistently between 20 and 30 percent,” writes senior economist Bhashkar Mazumder, the study’s author. “If future generations of white and black Americans experience the same rates of intergenerational mobility as these cohorts, we should expect to see that blacks on average would not make any relative progress.”

The explanations for this phenomenon are varied, but largely hinge on many of the criticisms that already exist in regard to socioeconomics and race in the U.S. Economists cite lower educational attainment, higher rates of single-parent households, and geographic segregation as potential explanations for these trends. The latter determines not only what neighborhoods people live in, but often what types of schools children attend, which could play a role in hindering their educational and professional attainment later on. According to Reeves, “In terms of opportunity, there are still two Americas, divided by race.”

Still, most economists lack a clear, definitive explanation for why, after reaching the middle class, many black American families quickly lose that status as their children fall behind.


*Originally published on The Atlantic.

Things I Gotta Get Done Before The New Year!

The new year is coming up & I have lots to do!   I’m sure more things will come to mind but for now, here’s my list:

Buy a 2015 calendar: It’s that time again! Off with the old & on with the new – calendar that is. It’s time to take those important dates from 2014 & transfer to next year’s calendar (if you haven’t gone digital, that is). What to do with the old calendar? Recycle it! I’ve even been known to save my little pocket calendars just so I have a reminder of years past.


Set up all my doctors apt for the year: Considering I don’t go the doctor’s very often, the end of the year (or the very beginning) is the perfect time to set up all those appointments before my ever-so popular doctor/dentist get booked up. Sometimes it can take months just to get an appointment, or at least several weeks so it’s best to get that out of the way now.

dr appt

Clear my inbox: I have thousands of unopened emails between all of my email accounts. Some I’ve read & not responded to while others just haven’t even been opened. As much as I love sending emails to people sometimes all of the responses can be overwhelming.


Get rid of my old clothes: It’s time to give to Goodwill! I have so many clothes that I either can’t fit anymore or haven’t worn in years. There’s really no need for me to hang on to them so I need to plow through my closet and donate my gently worn clothing to a place where they will be appreciated.

Goodwill 1

Make amends: There are some people I have fallen out of touch with or had a falling out with altogether. Now is the time to put all that negativity behind me and renew old friendships.


Get rid of folk: Before the year ends I want to purge everything I don’t need. After I get rid of some old clothes, I plan on getting rid of some old friends. Everyone wasn’t meant to be in my life forever – some for a reason and some for a season. I’ve grown apart from some while others haven’t reciprocated the friendship. And I need good friends, not necessarily a lot of friends.

delete num

Plan to get outta debt: This is a perpetual goal of mine; LOL! Even if I get out of debt, something always comes up that causes me to get right back in. Fortunately, I’m not in any major debt but it would be nice to have one less bill every month!


Make a vision board: Don’t just think about or say what you want, make a vision board! This is a visual way to keep you accountable for your New Year’s resolutions. And it actually works!


Write a letter to myself: Every year I write myself a letter listing out the goals I have set for the upcoming year. I like to open it up at the end of the year to see just how much I’ve accomplished.

write a letter

Write more blogs!: I really like getting my thoughts out there (no matter how crazy they may seem). I will continue to write them for as long as you continue to read them. Thank you!

write a blog

How to Buy Awesome Christmas Presents Without Breaking The Bank!


I have a lot of friends and family members that dread Christmas for the simple fact that it is a financial drain that sucks them dry clear into February.  And that’s sad.  Because Christmas should be such a fun and happy time of the year.  No one should be a grinch because they dread buying presents.  So, I thought I would give you some quick tips on how to buy awesome awesome presents without breaking your bank account or pretending that you do not have bills for the entire month of December.

  • Start early and shop often

This may be the single best advice anyone can follow to avoid going completely broke the month of December.  If you buy a gift of two every paycheck it makes the December gift buying frenzy much less painful.  I bought my first gift in September and a lot of my friends made fun of me.  But now, I’m almost completely done Christmas shopping and don’t have to worry about not being able to pay my bills in December.  Plus, I’ll have extra cash to do something fun, like go see a Christmas show or go ice skating.

  • Keep alert for sales

Check out sales even if they are months from Christmas.  I bought an awesome present for my mother during a labor day sale for $14.99 that would have normally been $84.99.  Labor day sales, Columbus day sales, and Veterans days sales are all sorely overlooked.  Also, stores going out of business are awesome for scoring super low cost gifts.  We recently has a Sears going out of business and were able to pick up shirts for as low as $4 a piece!

  • Know what to wait on for Black Friday or Cyber Monday

Some sales are awesome, but some items are just better off waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  For example, most clothing stores have amazing black Friday sales the whole weekend that are even available online if you don’t feel like venturing out (most have free shipping during those sales too).  Appliances are another thing that it might be worth waiting on.

  • Utilize outlet stores

Outlet stores can be your best friend, especially for the big brand name lovers in your life.  I recently bought a $45 brand name item for $20 at an outlet store.  Be warned though, not all outlet stores have awesome deals, so make sure to do your research before getting excited about a sale that might not be such a good deal.

  • Learn the art of ‘Pile Building’

Inevitably, you will have someone on your Christmas list that loves big piles of gifts instead of one big ticket item.  Building a pile of gifts can be really intimidating and seem like it can cost a lot of money, but realistically you can build an awesome pile of gifts without breaking your bank account.  The secret is to spending the bulk of your budget on a more expensive gift and then spend the rest of your budget on smaller, thoughtful gifts that the recipient may not have requested, but will make their life easier or make them smile.  Bottom dollar is one of my favorite stores for pile boosting.  It has awesome, useful, and fun gifts like books, nail polish, scarfs, shirts, games, art and fitness supplies, that are all under five dollars.  It takes a little creativity and soul searching to really know what will resonate with that particular individual but sometimes those types of gifts end up more well received than a high dollar gift card because they have thought put into them.

  • Ask store associates

Store associates have the in on when certain items go on sale.  Try asking an associate if there is a particular item you are waiting to go on sale.  You can also ask when the store has its best sales.  Chances are, they know.

  • Shop around

Shopping around has never been easier.  Have an idea for a gift?  Google it and click the shopping tab.  See what the prices are at different locations.  With smart phones, even when you are out shopping you can compare prices in store to prices on the web.  Sometimes what appears to be a great deal isn’t as good as it really could be.

Maybe its a little early for the holly jolly.  But planning ahead can save you some serious money and anxiety closer to the Christmas season.  Plus, its always fun to find an awesome gift for someone and know that it was a great steal.

What are your tips for smart Christmas shopping? Please share in the comments below

*Excerpt taken from The Handmade Hippie.

Wait A Minute, Money Can Buy Happiness!

We humans spend a lot of time waiting in lines: People queue up for days in order to get their hands on the latest iPhone, or what feels like eons for a table at that hip new brunch place.

You may be better off spending time and money on the latter. A growing body of research has shown that experiences tend to make people happier than material possessions.

And even anticipating an experience like a concert, a ski trip or what better be a really great brunch makes us happier than purchasing the latest gadgets, according to a study published Tuesday in Psychological Science.

The study, cleverly titled Waiting for Merlot: Anticipatory Consumption of Experiential and Material Purchases, tracked how about 100 college students and over 2,200 randomly selected adults felt about material goods and experiences.

People got excited about both things and events. But they tended to feel more positive about experiential purchases, and their feelings about material purchases were more likely to be tinged with feelings of impatience.

“I think one aspect of that has to do with the nature of imagination,” says Amit Kumar, a doctoral student of psychology at Cornell University and one of the researchers behind the paper.

“If you’re waiting to buy an iPhone, you know exactly how many megapixels the camera on the new phone will have,” Kumar told Shots. People often get really creative while planning out a future vacation, he says, and just thinking about all the things they’ll be doing and all fun they’ll be having can boost their mood.

Plus when it comes to experiences, money isn’t as much of an issue, the researchers hypothesize. People may be competitive when it comes to keeping up with the Joneses, but tend to be less competitive about spending on experiences.

And as people age, they tend to find more joy in ordinary, everyday experiences like walking or gardening, compared to that trip to Fiji, another recent study found.

One reason may be that experiences give people the opportunity to bond and socialize, Kumar says. Even when if you aren’t guaranteed a ticket to a concert or a taco from the cool new food truck, people often enjoy waiting in line. “While waiting for concert tickets, people reported singing songs together, or people would be playing games with each other while they’re waiting,” he says.

And we’ve got proof of that right here at Shots. Editor Scott Hensley says he could buy tickets online for the Old Ebbitt Grill’s annual Oyster Riot, but he much prefers going downtown first thing in the morning and waiting in line with his fellow oyster aficionados.

That sounds a lot more fun than those Black Friday scuffles over flat screens and Xboxes. Indeed, Kumar and his colleagues compared news reports about people waiting in line and found that long waits for material purchases were more likely to end in violence.

We bet nobody’s gotten into a fight while waiting for that oyster party.


*Article originally published on NPR.