CHARLESTON S.C. (WCBD) – Community members say they’ve seen a change in Charleston over the past decade and the U.S. Census confirmed the black community is disappearing from the county.

According to the 2020 Census, nearly 12,000 African Americans left Charleston County since 2010 and nearly 44,000 White residents moved in.

Now, activists have teamed up with real-estate experts to help those facing a similar fate to learn economic empowerment.

The interest for the Black Real Estate Club began after a conversation following a financial literacy program held at the St. Julian Devine Community Center. The idea then amplified after the results of the 2020 Census.

They say that St. Julian Devine had multiple businesses he owned and was a large proponent of black-owned businesses in Charleston. The hope according to Marcus McDonald, the lead organizer of Charleston Black Lives Matter is to live in his spirit and continue to outpour those same ideas.  

McDonald says his mom grew up on Rose Lane and while the house remains, he says you can tell the street is different. The differences he says are similar throuhgouth the Westside, Eastside, and even Elliotborough neighborhoods. 

It’s something we’ve been having to internalize and it’s one of those like slow bleeds. It’s not like it’s a police shooting or like it’s one of those slow bleeds that you see day over day you see it continually happens. 

Marcus McDonald, Lead Organizer Charleston BLM 

Now, the community is looking to stop the bleed. 

Brandon Silvers, the Founder of Planter Consultant Group says their focus for the Black Real Estate Club is on impact investing. He explains impact investing as a “tradition”. 

Silvers says the over all goal is to teach ways of investment, help close the racial wealth gap, and bring black-owned businesses and patrons back to the county as development is an “everybody problem”.

I can’t walk down the street without talking to someone about how high the housing prices are, or that they don’t want this new hotel here. It affects everybody it’s just a matter of how directly it affects you. 

Brandon Silvers, Founder Planter Consultant Group 

While both McDonald and Silvers say they can’t change the past, they can provide the tools to lessen the movement of black-owned businesses and gentrification of communities.  

McDonald says, “what we can do is make sure that we take a stand now—and ensure that anybody who is going through displacement and anybody who is having issues get their needs heard”.

If you missed Thursday night’s meeting, count on us to update you on the next gathering.