Black Owned Cities & Towns

Home Sweet Home

You don't know me,
I haven't been given a name
     But I'm still here...
Lingering in the shadows
Forgotten memories,
Forgotten years.

I don't grace the pages
Someone hid away my legacy
Left me to fade away
Erase this truth that enrages,
Wash away the blood of the ages

And pretend I was never here.

But I was a beacon of light
Calling out in the darkest of night
And it was I that gave hope
Welcomed hope-starved masses
     into the bosom of love--
I am home...

I am carried in the mind,
Celebrated in the soul,
Loved deep within the heart--
You don't know me,
But from me you cannot depart.

Fort Mose

Founded even before the United States of America, Fort Mose was the first town ran and established by free blacks. Originally named Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, Fort Mose was founded in 1738 by fugitive slaves. Led by Francisco Menendez, the men of the town formed a militia which stood as the first line of defense between Spanish Florida and English Carolina. During this time period any slave that escaped to Florida and confessed to be Roman Catholic was declared free. The growth of newly freed blacks in the area paved way for the creation of the town. Promises of freedom inspired slaves in Georgia and the Carolinas to flee eventually resulting in the revolt known as the Stono Rebellion, the bloodiest uprising of the 18th century by black slaves. In response, the English attacked and destroyed Fort Mose, then captured and enslaved Menendez. Luckily, Menendez was able to escape slavery and return to Fort Mose which was rebuilt in 1752. The city prospered until 1763 when the Spanish lost "ownership" of Florida. The residents of Fort Mose left Florida as well and re-established a town in Cuba [1]. The site of Fort Mose, just north of St. Augustine, is now preserved by the Fort Mose Historical Society.

The Black Wall Street

Greenwood, a black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was one of the wealthiest black neighborhoods in the United States and earned the nickname "The Black Wall Street." Greenwood was home to many prosperous black owned stores and businesses until 1921. A mob ransacked the area in May of 1921 and in the days that followed, a destructive race riot erupted. By the end of the riot, 35 blocks of the town were destroyed, many lives were lost, and though no one from the mob was arrested, at least 4,000 blacks were taken into custody. There was so much death and devastation that the thriving city collapsed [23]. 

Other Notable Black Cities & Towns

Speaking of Wall Street, from the 1830s to the 1860s, the area now known as Wall Street was home to Manhattan's first free black residence. Back then, it was known as Five Points and home to both free blacks and Irish immigrants. Due to prostitution, bars, gambling, and the radical practice of racial mixing, it unfortunately became known as a slum. Most of the population fled in 1863 during the draft riot [4].

Rosewood--not the fictional town in popular television series Pretty Little Liars, but Rosewood, Florida--was another black town, founded in 1870, and lost to a race riot. The trigger for the riot in Rosewood was the accusation of a black man raping a white woman. Enraged at the idea of a black man assaulting a white woman, the KKK stormed the town and massacred its citizens for three days. They continued to hunt and burn the remains of the citizens (dead or alive) in attempt to cover up the true number of murders. When taken to trial the jurors reported that they found no evidence for indictments [5]. A movie about the tragedy was made in 1997, you can view the movie trailer here

A list of other black cities and towns can be found here.


  1. "Fort Mose". PBS; visited 2015
  2. Josie Pickens. "The Destruction of Black Wall Street". Ebony. May 31, 2013
  3. "Tulsa Riot (1921)". Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, via PBS. 2012
  4. Lisa Orr. "New York's Mixed-Race Riot". NY Times. July 15, 2013
  5. "History of Rosewood, Florida". The Real Rosewood Foundation; visited 2015
  6. "Rosewood: The last survivor remembers an American tragedy". The Grio. January 4, 2012


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