Prior to desegregation in the late 1950s and early 1960s many cities had thriving business districts within Black neighborhoods. Parrish Street in Durham, NC, Greenwood in Tulsa, Okla and Auburn Street in Atlanta, Ga.
The success of the three areas in the early 20th century is credited to the amount of Black owned and operated businesses and the community’s continuous patronage. Parrish Street and Greenwood were considered Black Wall Street and Auburn Street was known as Sweet Auburn. Each area consisted of Black owned financial institutions, insurance firms, grocery stores, doctors, professionals, educators and entertainers. In the height of the Jim Crow era the determination and tenacity of Black Americans operating within the confines of extreme social and economic segregation the entrepreneurial spirit was high and a necessity.