NORTH OMAHA Businesses
What were some of the numerous purposes black-owned businesses served in the North Omaha community, and
how did they change over time?
Unity in the Community
Research compiled by: Courtney K., Julianna C., Jaylen F.
This is the Harris Grocery Store in 1930. This picture was taken on 5306 S. 30th St.
(Photo courtesy of the Durham Western Heritage Museum)
Myers has been a part of North Omaha's business community for 90 years, but sadly, it closed its doors earlier in 2011. Larry Myers was the 3rd generation of directors from the same family. This is significant because it is unusual for a business to be a part of a family for that long. Myers has also been in the same location, 22nd and Lake Street, for the whole 90 years.
Fair Deal Cafe was opened in 1953 by Charles Hall. It's a place were you can get a "square meal for a fair deal." During the 1960s it also served as a meeting place for activists in the Civil Rights movement. This is significant because it promoted unity in the African American community.
Photo courtesy of the Omaha World Herald (Feb. 2001) and the Douglas County Historical Society.
This picture is of the menu to Time Out Take Out Chicken circa 1969. The prices on this menu are a lot cheaper than present day prices at Time Out Chicken. The top part of the menu is an advertisement for the new "Big Frank" hot dog. The Big Bob Burger, named after professional sports stars Bob Boozer and Bob Gibson, had already been established. This menu is from around the time Diane Mercer's parents purchased the restaurant. Time Out Chicken has been at 30th and Evans, in North Omaha, for 43 years. It has had some competition from other fried chicken restaurants but continues to do well. During the past years, it has been passed down from Ms. Mercer's parents to she and her brother, who currently run the restaurant.
Youngblood's opened in 1977 on 40th and Ames. It is still open for business today.
Nared's Pee Wee Palace Day Care, on 36th and Crown Point. The day care opened in 1979.
Courtney, Julianna, and Jaylen trace the history of African American-owned businesses from the 1930s to the present day, even though the first black migrants arrived in Nebraska from southern states as early as the 1850s. Businesses owned by urban African Americans began to crop up along and near North 24th Street after 1920 when residential segregation created a clearly-defined African American neighborhood, and many white employers’ discriminatory policies made it difficult for blacks to hold lasting jobs. Segregation created a market for neighborhood family businesses, and “encouraged a distinct and flourishing black culture on Omaha’s Near North Side” (Ashley Howard).
Resources and Further Reading
Howard, Ashley M. "Then the Burning Began: Omaha, Riots, and the Growth of Black Radicalism
1966–1969." Master's thesis, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 2006.
Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission. "Chapter II: A Brief History of North Omaha." In
Patterns on the Landscape: Heritage Conservation in North Omaha, 6-65. Omaha, NE: The
Sullenger, T. Earl and Harvey Kerns. Industrial and Business Life of Negroes in Omaha. Omaha,
NE: Municipal University of Omaha and Urban League, 1932.
Workers of the Writers’ Program, Works Progress Administration (WPA), Nebraska. The Negroes
of Nebraska. Lincoln, NE: Woodruff Printing Company, 1940.
Robins Drug store was located at 2306 N. 24th St in 1936.
(Photo courtesy of the Durham Western Heritage Museum, Omaha)