HomeColumbiaColumbia's Office of Business Opportunities presents documentary highlighting Black business legacy

Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities presents documentary highlighting Black business legacy

Columbia, South Carolina – The Office of Business Opportunities in Columbia is excited to unveil the documentary “Did You Know? Columbia’s Black Wall Street.” This film explores the deep history of Columbia’s Historic Black Business District, set in a city known for its dynamic culture and bustling business scene. During a time when the city faced the difficulties of the pandemic, this project aimed to showcase and uplift the creative and enterprising spirit of Columbia.

“This project marks a significant moment for Columbia. The documentary not only captures the rich history and profound legacy of Columbia’s Historic Black Business District but also celebrates the resilience, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit that define our community,” said Mayor Daniel Rickenmann. “It is a testament to the strength and determination of those who paved the way, and I encourage everyone to join us in commemorating this vital part of our city’s heritage.”

In 2021, Deon Generette from 7Sunday proposed to the Office of Business Opportunities (OBO) a bold project—a film about Columbia’s Historic Black Business District, known as “Columbia’s Black Wall Street.” Deon, a native of Johnsonville, SC, boasts an impressive background as a University of South Carolina theatre graduate, an Iraqi War veteran, and a key figure in Columbia’s arts and entertainment scene.

Dr. Bobby Donaldson, who directs the University of South Carolina’s Center of Civil Rights History and Research, narrates the documentary. His authoritative voice adds significant depth to the film. It also includes stories about Elise Martin, who lived to be 108 and passed away before the film’s release, and other prominent black businesses from the 1920s and 1930s like Leevy’s Funeral Home and Palmetto Seafood.

Read also: SC Department of Education and Dominion Energy celebrate young writers

The documentary’s debut is scheduled for the 2024 Juneteenth Entrepreneur, Film, & TV Extravaganza. This event begins with an Entrepreneurial Summit featuring celebrity guests on June 18th at 1208 Washington Place in downtown Columbia. The next day includes a children’s showing of the SCETV Emmy-nominated series “The Cool and The Strong” at the Historic Nickelodeon Theatre.

The day concludes with an Oscar-themed premiere of the documentary at the same venue at 5 PM, followed by a celebration featuring food from Jeffrey Lampkin’s Country Boy Kitchen, performances by R&B artist Raheem DeVaughn, Grammy winner Susan Carol, and the renowned 7Sunday Live Band at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Read also: Columbia’s Richland One District to provide free meals for kids during summer

More details and information about the events can be found here.

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