Black-owned businesses have always been vital to the economic success and prosperity of Plano. One of the first Black members of the Plano community was Andy Drake. After initially coming to Plano from Louisiana as an ox-driver, he was asked by Si Harrington, one of the founding families in Plano, to stay and work in 1864.
After the Civil War, more Black people came to Plano but were not allowed to purchase farmland themselves. Instead, they worked as sharecroppers, farming fractions of land for other people.
Farming wasn’t the only way Black people made a living in Plano. Cotton gins, a flour mill, a slaughterhouse and other businesses employed people who wanted to come live in the city instead of farming. When the Great Depression hit, many cotton gins, mills, and other businesses closed, leaving residents to figure out other ways to live. Many decided to start their own businesses, covering a wide range of professions:
- Will Jones operated a moving business
- John Wallace ran a charcoal-making and hauling business
- Calvin Pinkston was a veterinarian
- Henry and Nancy Burks found success running a boarding house
- Uncle Turley was Plano’s sole cobbler
- Tom Green ran the most successful café in Plano
Among some of the more unique Black-owned businesses in Plano were: a silent movie on Saturday nights operated by Lacy Drake and a Bar-B-Que diner opened by Andrew Davis. The diner was so successful, he was the first Black person to purchase a farm in Plano. The farm was later sold so he could build housing for Black people, which became known as the Davis addition.
These Black-owned businesses helped the owners survive and allowed Plano to grow into the thriving city it is today. To learn more about the history of the Black community in Plano or Black-owned businesses in Plano today, check out the following items:
Black-Owned Businesses in Plano from Plano Magazine