About a hundred guests joined the music of DJ SupaKen on February 25 at the Yeager Experience, 2800 Yeager St.
In one corner of the building, Black Coffee dripped for guests, while Dough Boy Donuts and Angi’s Louisiana Kitchen sold food. Across the country, guests took selfies in front of a photo backdrop emblazoned with the words “Black Business Impact.”
Everyone gathered in the east corner of the building – where a mural with portraits of black business leaders was unveiled.
The mural, commissioned by the nonprofit Community Frontline, aims to preserve the legacy and influence of black business in Fort Worth historically and now. Also, organizers hope it will create a space where the community can come together to learn history and remember the contributions of black businesses.
Community Frontline participates in racial justice and solidarity, police-community relations and accountability, mentoring and education, and community beautification and development.
“Gooseneck shouldn’t be the only millionaire to come out of Fort Worth. We have to create millionaires because we have the entrepreneurs in hand, right? They’re everywhere, but they just need opportunities,” said Dante Williams, owner of DIG Contracting and co-founder of Community Frontline. “They need resources, they need someone to come and walk alongside them. What this does is show that it can be done and has been done in their community.”
Williams organization founders Quinton “Q” Phillips, a Fort Worth ISD school board trustee; Franklin Moss, owner of tailoring business Franklin & Anthony, and other community leaders began planning the project four years ago, Williams said. Every business inside the 2800 Yeager St. building. created the Yeager Experience, a self-sustaining family of black-owned businesses.
Featured in artist Armando Castelan’s mural are Texas’ first black millionaire, William “Gooseneck” McDonald, Joseph Breedlove, Amanda Davis, Dr. Marie “Doc” Holliday, Lucille B. Smith and current businesses such as Black Coffee, Smoke-A- Holics BBQ, Dryce Hotel and The Dock bookstore.
Dr. Marie “Doc” Holliday thanked organizers for the “incredible honor” of her painting the mural.
Holliday, owner of Sundance Square Dentist, grew up on East Terrell Street and carries with her first-hand experience of the impact of Black business.
“This wonderful mural will have an impact on the lives of this community immediately and for generations to come,” Holliday said. “I was taught to set high goals so that I would never be complacent, but to seek a goal you must strive for excellence.”
She established her dental practice in Sandance Square in 1991. Holliday is just one example of the type of business leaders featured in the mural.
“Blacks have been part of that economic impact that’s happening. And as we think about the growth and expansion of Fort Worth, too often we feel like those stories are left out and those people are left behind,” Phillips said. “The impact of black business is happening right now.”
As part of its educational component, Community Frontline aims to cure ignorance.
“We talked about alleviating the suffering that happened within our city. One of the sufferings we see all too often, unfortunately, is ignorance. And so through our education component of what we do, we try to educate our people and educate the city,” Williams said.
The founders of Community Frontline want the mural to be a place where the community can come together to learn and remember.
“If we can develop businesses, we can develop the workforce and provide jobs,” Williams said. “We can show that the city’s economy and the city’s workforce can thrive and go through black business small or large to provide jobs and build the community without having to go outside the community.”
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him with email or through I tweet. At The Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently by our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.
Leave a Reply