Black Business-Woman Stands Up To Wealthy White Developers in Seattle


By Victor Trammell

Home and business ownership is one of the hallmarks of America’s economic system.

When your house or brick and mortar business building is paid off and you’re fully responsible for paying the taxes on that property, you develop an attachment to your piece of residential or commercial real estate. Small business people, in particular, get the benefit of becoming a flagship part of their communities after they’ve owned their establishment for a long period of time.

Small black-owned businesses that keep their doors open for decades are definitely a rarity. Black people have an especially hard time getting their small business established because of the institutionalized discrimination that is prevalent within the U.S. financial system. The story of DeCharlene Williams (pictured above) is a prime example of the sobering realities black-owned businesses face in the process of getting started and surviving.

Williams is the owner of a one-story brick building in Seattle’s Central District located at 21st and East Madison. The building is home to two businesses that Williams owns, including DeCharlene’s Beauty Shop and Boutique. Williams started her small business empire around 50 years ago and is a pioneer of black business ownership in the Seattle area.

Williams told the Seattle Globalist in an interview earlier this month that she was denied a bank loan 30 times before finally establishing her business. After finally being able to buy her building, Williams went on to become a marquee member of the black business community. Her building eventually became the headquarters of the Central Area Chamber of Commerce, an organization that has assisted small business people with obtaining funding for decades.

However, the struggle Williams has endured to keep her business afloat after all these years has been compiled by the arbitrary efforts of numerous large, white-owned development companies. JC Mueller LLC is the most recent company that has exercised its determination to put Williams out of business in a persistent effort to buy her out.

“They want my place here, they want it bad…I’ve been fighting them for 50 years, ever since I’ve been on this corner,” Williams said.

But the latest attempt by JC Mueller LLC to swallow up Williams’s business and usurp her position in the community has failed. “People used to try to run over me, because I was a Black woman, and small-statured. And they try to push you around, push down. I’d never push down, I’d fight them…I’m a good fighter,” Williams also told the Seattle Globalist.

Read more about Williams and her amazing story of courage by clicking the hyperlink source below.






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