Nation’s First Black-Owned Shopping Center Turns 50
Sullivan Progress Plaza was the nation's first shopping center operated by African Americans when it was built in 1968 under the direction of the late Rev. Leon Sullivan. Additionally, United Bank of Philadelphia, the city's only African-American owned bank, has operated a branch in the center since 1999 and is one of the plaza's oldest tenants. "Progress Plaza has really been our mainstay," said Evelyn Smalls, president and CEO of United Bank. "It meant a lot to bank being there and at the same time having accessibility to clients that we were attempting to bring into the financial system in a consistent way."