BLACK POWER BLUEPRINT PROJECTS
One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace, Outdoor Event Space and Gary Brooks Community Garden - In Progress
4031-35 W. Florissant Avenue (across the street from the Uhuru House)
Black Power Blueprint purchased and demolished two city-owned condemned buildings, then secured architectural and landscape plans to create a beautiful multi-purpose outdoor event space with native plants and trees. A mural depicting the historic kindness and generosity of the African community collectively taking care of ourselves will be commissioned.
The One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace will foster community commerce and economic opportunities. The Gary Brooks Community Garden is collaborating with other black growers to provide fresh vegetables and to hold gardening and cooking classes.
- Demolished 2 condemned buildings on 4 lots; graded and seeded land
- Installed 50’ flagpole with 25’ African flag
- Secured land design plans
Investment needed to complete: $45,000
- Plant native plants, trees and vegetable garden
- Build covered stage with rainwater collection system
- Install lighting, fencing, sound system, storage shed and walkways
- Commission a mural
Uhuru House Community Center - COMPLETED!
4101 W. Florissant Avenue
Black Power Blueprint transformed the once-condemned building into a state-of-the-art three-story community event and program space in ten short months!
With an outpouring of support from donors and volunteers, the community can now come together at the Uhuru House and Akwaaba Hall to solve problems, organize programs, showcase talent and have family celebrations—building culture, prosperity and political power.
- Restored crumbling brick walls
- Replaced the roof, soffit and fascia
- Installed new electric, plumbing, HVAC, windows, doors and fence
- Replaced and reinforced floor joists
- Restored original wood throughout building
- Built stage and sound booth; purchased A/V equipment
- Installed 3 bathrooms and kitchen
- Created 1st floor event space with tables, chairs and African art
- Created and furnished 2nd floor offices
- Created 3rd floor program space with insulation and walls
Community Basketball Court
4368 College Avenue (at W. Florissant Avenue, four blocks from the Uhuru House)
We will create our own outdoor basketball court on newly purchased and cleared land where we demolished another abandoned city-owned building just blocks from the Uhuru House.
Only one in four St. Louis parks have a basketball court. In fact, the city of St. Louis removed courts in four parks in predominantly white communities, reinforcing the city’s racial divide.
Building the court will allow for spirited youth programs, adult pickup games and leagues, tournaments and more. This is another APEDF project that improves the well-being of our community and helps close the gap in overall health and life expectancy, including diabetes, obesity and hypertension rates that disproportionately affect African people.
Investment needed to complete: $75,000
- Build court with hoops and surface
- Install lighting, fencing, benches and bleachers, sign and mural, water fountains, trash receptacles
Uhuru Jiko Community Commercial Kitchen, Bakery Café and African Independence Workforce Program
3723 Goodfellow Boulevard (at Natural Bridge Road)
Located in an art deco building that had once been a boat dealership, the Uhuru Jiko is our most ambitious project yet, to bring African economic and cultural life to this depressed commercial area, stop gentrification and to build a critical program for our community.
Black Power Blueprint will build a bakery, café and community commercial kitchen to serve as the headquarters for Uhuru Foods & Pies, one of the many economic institutions of Black Star Industries and the African People’s Education and Defense Fund around the U.S.
The large plot of land behind the building will be transformed into another outdoor venue for events and culture, with seating and an herb garden to supply the café and to sell.
Black Power Blueprint is working on development and funding to make Uhuru Jiko the home of the African Independence Workforce Program, providing food business skills, work experience, housing and services for previously incarcerated men and women from our community.
Investment needed to complete purchase, kitchen, café and outdoor venue: $585,000
- Build out full commercial kitchen, café and training facility with complete architectural plans and engineering
- Purchase bakery café equipment
- Build outdoor venue with stage, walkways, plants and trees, herb garden and café seating area
African Independence Workforce Program Housing
4358 College Avenue
We are renovating a 4-plex apartment building, earmarked for housing for the African Independence Workforce Program, creating jobs for those re-entering our community from the prison system.
Investment need to complete: $30,000
- Needed: bathroom and kitchen fixtures, HVAC, flooring and furnishings
Future Program — Demolition Required
4007-09 W. Florissant Avenue
APEDF has acquired two more properties through the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA). The buildings are condemned and will need to be demolished. Black Power Blueprint is planning for how the sites will be used to expand the programs for African community self-reliance and self-determination.
Investment needed to complete purchase and demolition: $20,000
- Demolish condemned buildings to create outdoor space
Video: Black Power Blueprint - From Day One to Now
The Story of the Black Power Blueprint
The vision of the Black Power Blueprint is to return the majority-black North Side of St. Louis to its former economic, political and cultural vibrancy through self-sustaining economic development.
The Black Power Blueprint is transforming St. Louis north of the infamous Delmar Boulevard divide, where the population is 94 percent black and 35 percent of the residents live below the poverty line.
Through purchasing properties and renovating or demolishing abandoned buildings, the Black Power Blueprint is creating beautiful, usable cultural and political hubs, economic incubators and community spaces. Our model is already inspiring others to rejuvenate the neighborhood. Young families are moving in and there are increasing social, cultural and economic activities.
Black Power Blueprint projects include:
- Uhuru (Freedom) House community center with Akwaaba (Welcome) Hall
- Outdoor event space and community garden as home for a One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace
- 4-plex apartment building—housing for the African Independence Workforce Program creating jobs for those re-entering our community from the prison system
- A building that will house a bakery, café, community commercial kitchen, outdoor event space and herb garden
- A 50’ flagpole flying a 25’ red, black and green flag in our outdoor event space across from the Uhuru House, a much-loved symbol of our heritage, culture and pride
- Outdoor community basketball court
Black Power Blueprint is coordinated by African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) President Ona Zené Yeshitela along with APEDF Economic Development Coordinator Ticharwa Masimba and Projects Coordinator Kitty Reilly.
Although the North Side continues to be a strong and resilient community, the conditions today are quite different than they were a hundred, or even 40, years ago.
Today the St. Louis African population is a majority in the city, with 88,000 African residents on the North Side.
The North Side now has more than 7,000 vacant, crumbling buildings and thousands of empty, overgrown lots on streets dotted with potholes, far from commerce and access to schools, grocery stores and other conveniences.
In St. Louis, only 33 percent of black families own their homes, versus 71 percent for white families, according to a 2017 article in the Riverfront Times.
Black residents of North St. Louis face rapidly encroaching gentrification, with higher rents and property taxes, that is forcing thousands further out into the county and beyond.
Sixty percent of the St. Louis African community lives at the poverty line, with 30 percent in deep poverty. The city of St Louis now has the 7th highest disparity in household income between black and white people, according to an East-West Gateway Council of Governments report from 2017.
The St. Louis American newspaper states that “One-fifth of African American families have a net worth of $0 or below; 75 percent have less than $10,000 for retirement.” This is versus median white assets of $134,000.
According to St. Louis County Public Health, there is an 18-year gap in life expectancy between North St. Louis zip codes and the predominantly white Clayton area, separated by less than 10 miles.
We are clear that this reality is the result of an ongoing legacy of deeply ingrained systemic injustice and not the fault of our struggling people.
Bringing North St. Louis Back to Life
Located just a few miles from Ferguson, where five years ago 18-year-old Mike Brown was killed by the police, sparking a massive outcry, the Uhuru House at 4101 W. Florissant Avenue in North St. Louis stands as a beacon to our past and our future.
Since its opening, the Uhuru House has hosted:
- Weekly open community meetings
- Halloween Family Festival
- Black Power Poetry and Open Mic nights
- Fashion shows, local bands and musicians
- National conferences and electoral schools
- Wedding receptions, family reunions, birthday parties and other community celebrations at Akwaaba Hall
The red, black and green flag that flies across the street from the Uhuru House is an inspiring symbol that represents a future of justice, prosperity and liberation for African people in St. Louis and around the world. The Black Power Blueprint has demonstrated our commitment to the leadership, genius and future of the long-oppressed black working class and poor community.
With your support, our program is bringing the North Side back to life!
More About the Goals and Mission of the Black Power Blueprint
The conditions faced by black people in America today demand that we seize the future for our children. The African community in St. Louis, like others around the country, faces poverty, joblessness, poor schools and substandard housing.
We see wealth, opportunity and prosperity on one side of town, contrasted by deep poverty and despair on the other.
The Black Power Blueprint will impact on our city through genuine social and economic rebirth for our community. Empowering our community with sustainable job creation and commerce, attracting and supporting black culture and arts.
Black Star Industries, partnering with the African People’s Education and Defense Fund has created black-community owned and operated institutions for economic development and self-determination for over 35 years.
From Oakland, CA to Philadelphia, PA to St. Petersburg, FL and Huntsville, AL, we have sustained community-funded commercial kitchens, a wellness center, furniture and consignment shops, event spaces and other community based initiatives and programs.
Now we need your support to realize this visionary project in St. Louis, MO. Donate today! Follow us on facebook.com/BlackPowerBlueprint and help us spread the word!
A tribute to Musa, our fallen warrior March 26, 2019
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing last week of our dear comrade Mustapha Musa Abantu (Malcolm Nathaniel Buries), age 19.
He has been featured many times in this Black Power Blueprint newsletter over the last year, contributing to the renovations of the St. Louis Uhuru House and the land across the street, and MC-ing the Uhuru Halloween Haunted Night.
As the coordinator of outreach for the Black Power Blueprint on the ground in St. Louis, Comrade Musa had a deep love for African people and was profoundly committed to liberation and self-determination for our nation.
Musa brought energy, youth and enthusiasm to the work of the Uhuru Movement.
He led the color guard that raises our 25-foot Red, Black and Green African flag, played the drums with the Freedom Mass Choir and Band, got the word out and sold The Burning Spear newspaper on the streets of St. Louis' north side.
Musa was also Chair of the Black Power Poetry Night at the St. Louis Uhuru House that was held on Friday, March 22nd (photos below). The house was filled with people who knew Musa and those who wanted to come out to this amazing event to honor his legacy.
Tribute to Mustapha Musa Abantu / Black Power Poetry Night
Abdullah Muhammad, member of the Black Power Blueprint National Steering Committee, served as MC of the Black Power Poetry and Open Mic Night on March 22nd. He introduced a moving video tribute to Musa Abantu.
Ticharwa Masimba, APEDF St. Louis Economic Development Director, who worked closely with Musa, spoke about his tremendous contributions to the work of the Black Power Blueprint and the community.
Uhuru Movement leader Chairman Omali Yeshitela gave a keynote presentation that paid tribute to Musa and addressed the role of culture in forwarding African people's struggle for liberation.
Talented St. Louis area artists, including vocalists, spoken word artists and a painter, and also the group GBT Babies (who traveled to St. Louis from St. Petersburg, FL) shared their work, as well as their memories and tributes to Musa, with a packed audience at Akwaaba Hall.
We will always remember Musa. He inspires us every day to continue the fight to build political and economic power in the hands of the African working class until victory is won.
Long Live Musa Abantu! Forward his legacy!
View the Black Power Poetry Night album » | Watch the video »