About one hundred guests mingled to the music of DJ SupaKen on Feb. 25 at the “Yeager Experience,” 2800 Yeager St.

On one corner of the building, Black Coffee had drip for the guests, while Dough Boy Donuts and Angi’s Louisiana Kitchen sold food. Across the lot, guests took selfies in front of a photo backdrop with the words “Black Business Impact.” 

Everyone gathered for the east corner of the building — where a mural with portraits of Black business leaders was revealed.

The mural, commissioned by nonprofit Community Frontline, aims to preserve the legacy and impact of Black business on Fort Worth historically and now. Also, organizers hope it will create a space where the community can gather to learn history and be reminded of the contribution 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 should be creating millionaires because we have entrepreneurs hand over fist, right? They’re everywhere but they just need opportunities,” said Dante Williams, the owner of DIG Contracting and cofounder of Community Frontline. “They need the resources, they need somebody to come walk along the side of them. What this does is show that it can be done and has been done in their community.”

The organization founders Williams, 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. Each business inside the 2800 Yeager St. building created the “Yeager Experience,” a self-sustained family of Black-owned businesses.

Featured on artist Armando Castelan’s mural is the first Black millionaire in Texas, 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, Hotel Dryce and The Dock Bookshop.

Dr. Marie “Doc” Holliday thanked the organizers for the “awesome honor” of painting her on the mural.

Holliday, the owner of Sundance Square Dentist, grew up on East Terrell Street and carries the first-hand experience of the Black business impact with her.

“This awesome 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 will never be complacent, but to seek a goal one must strive for excellence.”

She founded her dentistry practice in Sundance Square in 1991. Holliday is only one example of the type of business leaders featured in the mural.

“Black people have been a part of that economic impact that’s been 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. “Black business impact is happening right now.”

As part of its education component, Community Frontline aims to heal ignorance.

“We talked about alleviating the sufferings that happened within our city. One of the sufferings that we see too often, unfortunately, is ignorance. And so through our educational component of what we do, we try to educate our people and educate the city,” Williams said.

The Community Frontline founders want the mural to be a location where the community can gather to learn and remember.

“If we can develop businesses, we can develop the workforce and provide jobs,” Williams said. “We can show that the economics of the city and the workforce of the city can thrive and funnel through Black business small or large to provide jobs and build up the community without having to go outside of the community.”

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSotoCommunity Engagement Journalist

Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...