Step 7

Below is an example of legislation used to develop the Stony Island Black Wall Street district.

WHEREAS, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and a thriving center of business, industry, and culture; and

WHEREAS, The Chicago Urban League has stated that “Chicago will be the new Black Wall Street”; Stony Island Avenue is one commercial strip that has 80% or more businesses owned by African Americans; it is a prime example of a Black Wall Street district in Chicago; and

WHEREAS, Since the early 1940s, African-American businesses have thrived on South Stony Island Avenue, bringing quality products and services to the community; in subsequent years, these business owners saw a growth in their profits as they were able to sustain a comfortable way of life for themselves and their families; with the downturn in the economy over recent years, some of the businesses that once flourished on Stony Island Avenue are now facing financial difficulties; and

WHEREAS, It has been determined, by the members of the Black Wall Street-Chicago, that the community will utilize the template of Black wall Street Oakland and will help build the business capacity of African-American businesses along Stony Island Avenue in Chicago; and

WHEREAS, History will show that Black Wall Street-Chicago continues the rich historical tradition of growth and prosperity with the original “Black Wall Street District” in Tulsa, Oklahoma; during the early 1900s, the area reportedly used “black dollars” instead of U.S. currency to do business inside the district; in 1921, the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the nation’s worse acts of racial violence, occurred; many African-American business owners and the residents of Greenwood were burned out, shot, kidnapped, and killed in the early hours while they slept; the neighborhood has been restored and is now a part of the Greenwood Historical District; and

WHEREAS, Black Wall Street-Chicago recognizes the potential to recreate on Stony Island Avenue in Chicago the positive aspects of the historic Black Wall Street in Tulsa; through the organization’s mission to sustain and increase black businesses, Stony Island Avenue is achieving stability and is one of many business districts that has African-American ownership in parity with its population; and

WHEREAS, Stony Island Avenue is currently undergoing a revitalization to cultivate a pedestrian-friendly, urban experience on the southeast side of Chicago, similar to the makeover in the southern portion of downtown Chicago; the Black Wall Street District on Stony Island Avenue includes the #1 African-American female accounting firm in the nation, a waffle house, a printing company, barbeque and soul food restaurants, women and men’s clothing and shoe stores, barber shops and beauty salons, among many other flourishing businesses; and

WHEREAS, A comprehensive plan to help sustain black-owned businesses has and continues to be developed by Black Wall Street-Chicago; the plan continues to be developed during weekly meetings of the group and during Black Wall Street Economic Summits, which have been held quarterly since March of 2007; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we recognize Stony Island Avenue as a Black Wall Street District in the City of Chicago; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to the members of Black Wall Street-Chicago as a symbol of our esteem and respect.