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Prior to 1900 a “Black business district” did not exist in the city of Birmingham.
In a pattern characteristic of Southern cities founded during Reconstruction, Black businesses developed alongside those of Whites in many sections of the downtown area.
After the turn of the century, Jim Crow laws authorizing the distinct
separation of “the races” and subsequent restrictions placed on Black firms forced the growing Black business
community into an area along Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenues North from 15th to 18th Streets. Segregation and discrimination created a small world in which Black enterprise was accepted and to which Blacks had open access.