The economic-based effort was created as part of the 100th commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the legacy of Black Wall Street.
Texas, a state with the largest Black population and Black spending power, is a natural place to promote Black-owned businesses, says a Dallas megachurch pastor behind ongoing and new efforts to create Black wealth.
The Rev. Frederick D. Haynes, pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church, has challenged the Dallas church’s 12,000 parishioners and others to “100 Days of Buying Black.”
The campaign started Sept. 23 and runs through the end of this year as part of the 100th commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre. The goal of the challenge is to continue the legacy of Black Wall Street by strengthening the economic base of the Black community nationwide, Haynes said.
While the concept to support Black businesses isn’t new, Haynes said it’s one he believes is important to continue to introduce and expand as wages and spending power rise.
Black buying power in Texas led the states with $148 billion in 2020, followed by New York and Georgia, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth annual report. Last year “African American economic clout energized the U.S. consumer market as never before,” rising 14% to $1.6 trillion, the report said. That represents 9% of U.S. consumer buying power.
So far, 1,500 people have registered on Friendship-West’s website to log in more than $300,000 in spending.
“That doesn’t account for all of us,” Haynes said.
He’s not of the generation to rush to the computer, but knows that word of the challenge is spreading and others across the country are consciously making it a habit to spend at Black businesses.
“For me, it’s just an economic habit, part of my routine,” he said, and he recited a folk saying: “We’re not new to this. We’re true to this.”
“100 Days” is just Friendship-West’s most recent effort.
Construction of the church 20 years ago sought out Black-owned businesses. And in 2016 the church started West Wall Street, a frequent shopping event for the public to discover Black-owned businesses.
An original West Wall Street business — 2 Sisters Sweet Creations — has grown enough to move into its own storefront. Sisters Yolanda Beldsoe and Deidra Keener are opening their first bakery in mid-December on North Hampton Road in DeSoto. They’ve hired Black-owned plumbing, painting and flooring contractors for their store and to design their newly updated website, Bledsoe said.
They found the businesses in the church’s directory. Bledsoe said she knows “absolutely, others are finding us that way.”
Damond Fields, owner of Sankofa Kitchen on Camp Wisdom Road, said it’s hard to measure the impact of “100 Days of Buying Black” because “Pastor Haynes’ congregation supports us every day.”
Fields has operated his combined restaurant and store for 20 years. He said Friendship-West’s support is a key to his success. The 4,000-square-foot building houses his restaurant known for its turkey burger and other healthy vegan and meat dishes. The retail side sells cultural products, books by Black authors and skin care products.
“We’re rebuilding communities of businesses that were necessary because of Jim Crow and now we’re saying we can have businesses that will create jobs and, in turn, a strong community,” Haynes said.
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SOURCE: Dallas Morning News – By Maria Halkias