13ABC Honors Belmont Enterprise - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

13ABC Honors Belmont Enterprise

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In the 1940's African Americans were not allowed inside bowling alleys and skating rinks in Toledo.

A group of Toledoans decided to pool their money together and create a savings club, so that blacks had some place to go for recreation.

Tonight in honor of Black history month, we take a look at Belmont Enterprise.

The Belmont Neighborhood Savings club was established in 1943 by a group of people who lived on Belmont in Toledo.

The group created a place for African Americans to unwind with a 100-thousand dollar investment.

Robert Smith is the founder of The African American Legacy Project. He tells 13 ABC,

"they wanted to do things to spurred economic development in the community."

Smith says in 1948 the group created Belmont Enterprise.

"It was a bowling alley...which doubled as a skating rink...which doubled as a multi-purpose room."

African Americans were not welcomed inside Bowling alleys and Skating rinks in Toledo so the

Belmont Enterprise would serve as a wedding site and a place for bowling tournaments. Smith tells 13 ABC,

"can you imagine how many jobs were created...3 of the members were founding members of the national bowling league association which was founded in Detroit."

Smith says there is something the community can learn from this story.

"leadership was broad...people talked and listen to one another...they shared their ideas and they finally decided...what the community needed...and they worked toward that goal until that goal was completed. "

The lesson could help our community now. He tells 13 ABC,

"its important to stimulate your own economic base. its not selfish motivation....the motivation is to forward the community to forward the future and perpetuate legacy."

If you would like to donate to the the African American legacy project or book a tour check out their web site.

http://africanamericanlegacy.org/

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