Dallas megachurch Friendship-West’s ‘100 days of buying Black’ focuses on creating new wealth

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Texas, a state with the largest Black population and Black spending power, is a natural place to promote Black-owned businesses, says a Dallas megachurch pastor behind ongoing and new efforts to create Black wealth.

The Rev. Frederick D. Haynes, pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church, has challenged the Dallas church’s 12,000 parishioners and others to “100 Days of Buying Black.”

The campaign started Sept. 23 and runs through the end of this year as part of the 100th commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre. The goal of the challenge is to continue the legacy of Black Wall Street by strengthening the economic base of the Black community nationwide, Haynes said.

While the concept to support Black businesses isn’t new, Haynes said it’s one he believes is important to continue to introduce and expand as wages and spending power rise.

Black buying power in Texas led the states with $148 billion in 2020, followed by New York and Georgia, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth annual report. Last year “African American economic clout energized the U.S. consumer market as never before,” rising 14% to $1.6 trillion, the report said. That represents 9% of U.S. consumer buying power.

So far, 1,500 people have registered on Friendship-West’s website to log in more than $300,000 in spending.

“That doesn’t account for all of us,” Haynes said.

He’s not of the generation to rush to the computer, but knows that word of the challenge is spreading and others across the country are consciously making it a habit to spend at Black businesses.

“For me, it’s just an economic habit, part of my routine,” he said, and he recited a folk saying: “We’re not new to this. We’re true to this.”

“100 Days” is just Friendship-West’s most recent effort.

The Rev. Frederick Haynes has been the pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church for 38 years. He spoke at a hearing at Southern Methodist University a few years ago on federal regulations to crack down on predatory college loans.(Ashley Landis / Staff Photographer)

Construction of the church 20 years ago sought out Black-owned businesses. And in 2016 the church started West Wall Street, a frequent shopping event for the public to discover Black-owned businesses.

An original West Wall Street business — 2 Sisters Sweet Creations — has grown enough to move into its own storefront. Sisters Yolanda Beldsoe and Deidra Keener are opening their first bakery in mid-December on North Hampton Road in DeSoto. They’ve hired Black-owned plumbing, painting and flooring contractors for their store and to design their newly updated website, Bledsoe said.

A dessert charcuterie board from 2 Sisters Sweet Creations. Sisters Yolanda Beldsoe and Deidra Keener are opening their first bakery in mid-December on North Hampton Road in DeSoto.

They found the businesses in the church’s directory. Bledsoe said she knows “absolutely, others are finding us that way.”

Damond Fields, owner of Sankofa Kitchen on Camp Wisdom Road, said it’s hard to measure the impact of “100 Days of Buying Black” because “Pastor Haynes’ congregation supports us every day.”

Fields has operated his combined restaurant and store for 20 years. He said Friendship-West’s support is a key to his success. The 4,000-square-foot building houses his restaurant known for its turkey burger and other healthy vegan and meat dishes. The retail side sells cultural products, books by Black authors and skin care products.

“We’re rebuilding communities of businesses that were necessary because of Jim Crow and now we’re saying we can have businesses that will create jobs and, in turn, a strong community,” Haynes said.

Friendship-West has partnered with other organizations to build support for Black-owned businesses, including the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, which was founded in 2003 and named for the late New York City pastor, writer and professor emeritus at Rutgers University who during his career served on the boards of the United Negro College Fund and the National Urban League.

Haynes is on the board of the conference, which says it’s made up of progressive African American faith leaders, their congregations and social justice activists representing nine denominations.

Several efforts founded last year following the protests of the murder of George Floyd are ongoing. Among them is Google’s partnership with the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. to reimagine Black Friday as “Black-Owned Friday.”

Dallas-based digital artist and photographer Temi Coker is part of that effort. According to a Google survey, 66% of consumers who actively support Black-owned businesses say they use digital tools to find them.

Google advises Black-owned businesses to add a Black-owned badge to improve their results in searches such as “Black-owned restaurants near me.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Blacks or African Americans owned about 124,551 businesses, with about 28.5% of those in health care and social assistance sectors.

That was the highest in that category for any minority group. The report, which came out in January and covers results from 2018, found about 18.3%, or 1 million businesses, were minority-owned and 19.9% of all businesses were owned by women.

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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