By: Dania Davy - FSC/LAF
One hundred years ago June 1st, an angry mob of white citizens, supported by local government and law enforcement officials, attacked, and ultimately destroyed, the Black Wall Street district in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before the massacre, Tulsa’s Black community had established thriving businesses supporting the community’s wealth creation. While we commemorate and honor the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we cannot ignore the opportunity to analyze the role racial incited violence has played in stifling Black wealth creation throughout this country’s history.
The race-based disparities in wealth we observe today are frequently linked to the Nation’s enslavement of Africans and their decades of unpaid labor. However, as the Tulsa Race Massacre demonstrates, the Black community has made many significant attempts to mitigate race-based wealth disparities only to be undermined by both actual and threatened elimination by discriminatory practices, policies, and institutions.
Individual business owners are most vulnerable to the consequences of anti-Black practices because a single business can easily be identified and destroyed. One strategy for overcoming targeted race-based attacks is for business owners and community members to engage in cooperative business practices for their shared survival.
Over fifty years ago, leaders of the Black cooperative development in concert with leaders of the Civil Rights movement, joined to charter the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Our members include Black coops, farmers, and landowners who, defy the odds of institutionalized, race-based discrimination, by unifying their resources to support cooperative success.
This month, we invite you to follow our social media accounts as we share many ways for you to support Black coops in our month-long celebration of Juneteenth. Join us in our support of Black cooperatives, farmers, and landowners as they grow Black wealth. Together, we can create a more perfect union.
Donate to our mission by visiting www.federation.coop/give