Skip to content

City of Compton hosts Black Wall Street event


Educating youth about Black history

Compton is a city of history for the Southland Black community. You find the influence of the culture in various things like business, museums, art, food, and sports. But you also learn about redlining, racist incidents, disfranchisement, and medical disparities. Compton recently held a Black History Month community event to showcase the African-American of local businesses, exhibit showcases, and HBCU fraternities and sororities (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

The event was at the Dollarhide Community Center, featuring Harley Drew, a Black custom Harley Davidson builder and bike designer, alongside Eddie Reed, a celebrated Harley Davidson drag racer. There were also representatives of the NAACP, Girls Scouts, Faith Inspirational Church, and other Black vendors.

“This community event was an opportunity for us to reflect on our heritage and also to look at some of the things our predecessors did to build a great community back then and how we take some of those things and reincorporate them in the present.”said  Compton Mayor Emma Shariff. The youth need to understand the struggles and achievements we have made in the past that led to some of the opportunities they have today.”

Dubbed “Black Wall Street,” the event highlighted the prosperity that many Black communities had after the prohibition redlining and prior to the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Before The Supreme Court banned redlining in the 1940s, Compton was 95% White community. By the 1960s, the Black demographic grew to 40%. Despite the Watts Riots of 1965, Black citizens have gained and sustained wealth by the early 1970s and, at that time, Compton had as much as 60% Black residents. 

“We faced a lot of challenges on our journey, and we have to remember the people who helped create this future for us,” Shariff said. “The contributions of the past people represent who we are today, and we have to continue supporting one another and telling our story.”

In the early 1960s, while Whites still controlled politics and law enforcement, Blacks began to make political progress. In 1969, Douglas Dollarhide was elected the first Black mayor of Compton.