I had to write this blog post because I recently had an amazing experience in this “ordinary” everyday life. I attended a black business event and saw the camaraderie between Black business owners and I saw the value in what many of them were selling or all about.
The event was called Black Wall Street Washington D.C. and it was held in the parking lot of AMF Capital Plaza Lanes in Hyattsville, MD.
Meet the Organizer
Eldorado Anderson was the organizer of the event. He is no stranger to organizing events for Black men and women to gather to support each other.
Anderson is from Connecticut and started the Black Wall Street event there in August 2014. It was his birthday and he wanted more than a party, something with substance. He hosted the event in the parking lot of his uncle’s bar in Connecticut.
He invited 25 friends that were entrepreneurs and authors, had a free bookbag drive for the kids, and he said it was also an education tool for Black Wall Street. He said at the time, not too many knew of Black Wall Street — especially the one in Tulsa, Oklahoma (Note: Many cities in the United States had their own Black Wall Street — the one in Tulsa is very famous because of the massacre).
They asked Anderson if there would be another like it. Ever since then he’s had 15 Black Wall Street events.
His first one in D.C. was last year in February 2020 — right before COVID. The event I attended on June 5 was his second one in the D.C. area.
“I knew once Maryland opened back up, I knew D.C. would be hard to do the event, so I did it in an area right outside of D.C.,” Anderson said. “People have been trying to make ends meet and have plenty of products we can use.”
For example, he said at the event he was able to buy products he needed like shirts, accessories, oils and sea moss gel.
“It’s something to uplift the community,” he said.
My goal for the last few months is to gain more readers for my online publication, Everyday Life News. I had the owner of Less Is More Events, LLC, Kenneth Atkinson, tell me that attending vendor events may increase my viewership and connect me with more people to interview in the future.
You already know I enjoy telling the stories of people who do not have access to tell their stories. I saw this would be a match for me. So I signed up.
Atkinson sent me the link to register. It was a simple process. I entered information about my organization, information about myself, and I paid the fee to be a vendor. It cost me $53 to be a vendor. I know you all are tired of me saying it, but invest in yourself.
I was comfortable with investing the $53 into this event because I felt like I would get it back in the future. I could get a new advertiser from this event or I could meet someone with a story that someone needs to read for encouragement or new knowledge.
I told myself, depending on how this event went, I might do another. Especially in South Carolina where I have more readers.
From there, the organizer of the event emailed more information and kept everything easy.
At this point, Atkinson then explained to me what information is typically needed at events like this. I knew I needed a table for the event, chairs for Fred and I, table cloth, my business cards, and a cooler for drinks. However, Atkinson said I needed to create a Frequently Asked Questions page for my online publication. I needed a flyer for the table.
We designed everything and sent it to be printed at Staples. It cost money, but I invested in myself. I had the FAQ turned into a poster and the flyer as well.
Fred and I made goodie bags. We went to Dollar Tree, bought bags of chocolate and fruity candy, and put my business cards in the bag.
What I Witnessed
The event was June 5. Fred and I took the drive to Hyattsville. It was interesting for us because it is always nice to see more than just Virginia.
We set up. It was hot as all get-out and cicadas were bothering everyone as they were trying to setup.
There were cake ladies, artisans with handmade jewelry, handmade drinks galore, people selling oils, beauty products, a rising music artist performed, and more.
I am big on storytelling, so it was cool hearing the story on why so many people started their business and what they do. The different people retaining family recipes before a matriarch died or starting a clothing business to see more fresh designs.
I will definitely do an event like this again. I will definitely do one more with this organizer. He has an event coming up this fall.
I would do another in North Carolina or South Carolina. I have a viewership in South Carolina and I want it to grow. Also, I may be a little bias — South Carolina is home for me– so it makes sense.
What events have you been going to lately? Have you ever heard of Black Wall Street? Does your city or state have a successful black community from the last 100 years or so?