NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The second annual Black Wall Street Festival returned to New Haven Saturday. The event supports and highlights the work of black people and the businesses they run in the New Haven community. 

The first Black Wall Street Festival was held last summer at Temple Plaza with just 25 vendors. This year, more than 100 new vendors and businesses signed up to take part. 

Artist Jasmine Nikole from Derby sold hand-painted purses and portraits. 

 “I think a lot of us feel like we are just a number. When you look at my art, I hope you are seen,” she said. “I feel like New Haven has that support, I love coming here.”

Black Wall Street refers to prosperous black-owned businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma until 1921 when a white mob rioted and burned down streets, killing 36 people. 

The festival in New Haven is meant to be a catalyst for action toward dismantling systemic racism in New Haven and a strategy to revitalize black and brown economic wealth across the city.

“Black business is New Haven has been slow, but we know where the black businesses are, we just need to support and have more of it,” said Pamela Tonge, a teacher in New Haven. 

People who grew up in New Haven are grateful to see an event like this become a summer staple. 

 “We get to give back to the community while just celebrating ourselves and that’s honestly all we love to do,” said Eva’ Joyce Spivy.

“It’s amazing to support all these black businesses because this was created by black people, for black people and I just love it,” said
Fiorella O’Connor.

The event was organized by New Haven’s Department of Arts, Culture, and Tourism in partnership with The Breed Entertainment.