TULSA, OK – In a visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma today, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh highlighted the need to promote economic justice for people in Black and other underserved communities and how the U.S. Department of Labor is working to help business owners create good-paying jobs and equip workers to fill these positions in these communities.
Secretary Walsh first met with Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Freeman Culver, then visited the Greenwood Rising Black Wall Street History Center and then toured the city’s historic Greenwood District with chamber leaders and a group of small business owners.
During the tour, Secretary Walsh learned about the critical role the district, also known as “Black Wall Street” played in Tulsa’s economic development and about the contributions made by area residents to America’s civil rights movement. He visited the Greenwood Rising Black Wall Street History Center, which memorializes how a once thriving, 35-square-block area of successful Black-owned businesses was leveled during the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. As many as 300 people were killed here in one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history.
At the history center, Secretary Walsh spoke with descendants of some of the survivors of the devastation.
He talked about the importance of supporting Black business owners to create good jobs and how the U.S. Department of Labor is working to improve the lives and opportunities of Black workers and underserved communities.
“Understanding history’s successes and failures allows us to change our present and our future by ending economic injustice and making sure people in underserved communities share in our nation’s prosperity,” explained Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The Biden-Harris administration is empowering Black entrepreneurs in places like Tulsa with new investments that will lead to business start-ups, innovation and job creation. Supporting Black businesses builds Black wealth and provides good-paying jobs for workers in these communities.”
Before departing, Secretary Walsh spoke with students from the Tulsa Job Corps Center and met with journalism students from Langston University and Tulsa Community College.
The Secretary also met with the following small business owners:
Wanda J. Armstrong and Ty Walker of Wanda J’s Soul Food
Cleo Harris of Black Wall Street T-Shirts and Souvenirs
Angela Robinson of Black Wall Street Corner Store and More
Secretary Walsh also visited several area facilities supported by the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to respond better to the needs of underserved communities. These visits included the U.S. Black Chambers of Commerce’s Greenwood Women’s Business Center – where he offered brief remarks on workforce development and expanding training opportunities – and the Talking Leaves Job Corps Center in Park Hill, where he joined leaders of the Cherokee Nation for a facility tour.