In 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, a new initiative aimed at fostering entrepreneurship appeared in North Lawndale: the Black Wall Street Market on Roosevelt. The idea came to the market’s founder, Lavern Herron, as a way to encourage residents of North Lawndale to invest in their community and to help small business entrepreneurs succeed. 

The market takes its name from the Black Wall Street district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was the center of Black cultural and commercial success in the city in the early 20th century. The main boulevard featured banks, cafes, hotels, movie theaters, and more. In 1921, this vibrant community was destroyed during an attack by white mobs. However, it hasn’t ceased to be an inspiration to Black Americans who see in the story of Black Wall Street themes of success, hard work, resilience, and hope. 

2021 marked the 100 year anniversary of the destruction of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, but its legacy lives on through Herron’s initiative in North Lawndale. 

During the summers of 2021 and 2022, the Black Wall Street market has set up shop on Roosevelt Rd. every Saturday from 12pm to 6pm. Each week, the market brings twenty to thirty vendors out to the lot to sell a wide variety of products, including clothing, jewelry, art, herbal medicine, food, drinks, and more. The market space also hosts various events, such as a recent “State of Women’s Health Townhall” with Congressman Danny K. Davis and several other health experts on August 24 and a “Cocktails and Conversation” networking event on August 22. 

In addition to the weekly outdoor market, Herron owns a building with eight studios where small, Black-owned businesses are able to grow. Having started out as a small entrepreneur herself, Herron has experience in launching and starting a business that she hopes to be able to share with others to uplift her community. 

If you’re interested in supporting Black-owned businesses in North Lawndale, come out to visit the market, or encourage a business owner you know to become a vendor! The market will reopen next year in early summer.

Black Wall Street Market, 3708 S. Roosevelt Rd. Saturdays 12–5pm.

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