Black Wall Street Forward



Map of North Carolina with location pins on Durham, Raleigh, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Fayetteville

The Black Wall Street Forward pilot program launched in 2022 and was modeled on the pillars that made Durham's original Black Wall Street successful, with the goal of continuing the legacy of catalyzing Black business owners and champions.

The transformative program engaged five communities throughout the state of North Carolina in a cohort-based learning journey to explore the past and present of Black entrepreneurship in those communities and to take collaborative action to build a better collective future. Through the generous support of the Truist Foundation, and headquartered at Durham's Provident1898, Forward Cities piloted the program in the following communities: Durham (which also served as the historical model and HQ for the program), Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem.

In Fall 2023, thanks to continuing support of the Truist Foundation, as well as additional support from the Target Foundation and the Common Future Accelerator, Forward Cities is currently engaging in a collaborative design process to develop a strategic plan that will allow the program to scale its reach and impact for years to come.

Changing the Narrative


A narrative reflects a shared interpretation of how the world works. Who holds power and how they use it is both embedded in and supported by dominant narratives. Successful narrative change shifts power as well as dominant narratives. The false and damaging dominant narrative for today’s Black businesses is one of diminished value, disinvestment, and a dependence on non-Black resources, networks, and funding vehicles in order to comparatively compete in the marketplace.

The goals we have established to change the narrative include:

  • ARTICULATE the historical and systemic realities that have led to the disenfranchisement and underinvestment of Black owned businesses/districts
  • FRAME and widely share a new public narrative centered on the resilience of Black entrepreneurs and the communities in which they are embedded
  • EQUIP community leaders with tools and best practices that change the dominant narrative by shifting power within local entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • OBSERVE, capture, and assess the process to inform continuous improvement and emerge best practices

Meet the Ecosystem Builders in Residence

Toni Barnes headshot

Toni Barnes



Magalie Yacinthe headshot

Magalie Yacinthe

Ecosystem Builder Liaison
Three people sitting at a table in a discussion

Program HQ: Provident1898

In 2019, building on roots of the efforts that have come before it, Carl Webb, 30-year Durham entrepreneur and urban developer, along with partner Peter Cvelich, opened Provident1898, now located in The Tower at Mutual Plaza, the re-imagination of one of Durham’s most historic landmark buildings.

Founded in 1898, The North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association (later named North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co.) established itself as the cornerstone of Durham’s “Black Wall Street.”

Today, the Tower remains a beacon of Black commerce and a testament to the resiliency of Durham and its lobby has been converted and dedicated to a permanent interactive display celebrating the history of Black business in Durham.

Durham’s Provident1898 serves as the model and flagship for the engagement and will receive a Black Wall Street Forward supporting sponsorship to honor their commitment as one of the key stewards of Durham’s Black Wall Street legacy.

Celebration Event

Community members, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial champions, support organizations, decision-makers, allies, and partners gathered in Durham on March 30, 2023 to honor the conversations, commitments, and successes that took place over the nine months of the pilot engagement.


Strategic Visions

EBIRs worked with the Forward Cities staff and engaged council members to create a detailed strategic vision that they - as well as others in their local entrepreneurial ecosystem - can operationalize over the decades to come. 


Connect with us


For updates and information, connect with us on LinkedIn and Instagram at @BlackWallStFwd.

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We're grateful to partner with the following organizations to catalyze Black-centric Entrepreneurial Ecosystems:

Truist Foundation logo
MetLife Foundation Logo
Target Foundation logo
Provident1898 logo