After luckily hitting a $52 million jackpot back in 2010, a South Florida-based businessman decided to drop the mentality that, “I staked alone, lost alone, so I should also enjoy the winning alone.” Instead, the generous man decided to allocate a portion of his winnings to benefit the black community.
Yes, Entrepreneur Miguel Pilgram first began his own real estate company. But now he is looking to invest the money back into the downtown Ft. Lauderdale community—which was once known for its increasingly thriving Black business district.
Pilgram says he’s fully committed to reviving and preserving, ‘Sistrunk Boulevard,’—the “historical heartbeat of the oldest Black community in Fort Lauderdale,”—which runs through the city’s business district. The street is named, after a black physician, James Sistrunk, who assisted in establishing Broward County’s first African-American hospital in 1938. But the booming boulevard was ruined after desegregation. Later, it was greatly plagued by gun violence, abandoned buildings, and drugs.
In a bid to give the black community a highly-needed facelift, Entrepreneur Pilgram has already bought 3-buildings and plans to build a retail space, jazz lounge, restaurants, and most importantly, a performing arts center.
“It is a commitment which I feel I have to go to the community and put my funds right where my mouth is,” says Pligram. “For me, doing so will be preserving the black community as a whole.”
Mr. Pilgram says, he has watched what occurs when such historical black communities are neglected, continuing that he chose Sistrunk since the area reminds him of his hometown—Memphis, Tenn. He also says that the struggling communities like that at Sistrunk, are often the target for the big-name investors who destroy their areas of their longtime residents, history, and culture. Lawyer and activist Edduard Prince admits that it’s a challenge the locals have severally experienced before.
“The Black residents living in this community know very well that they are in a prime location,” says Prince. “They know that they have been fighting for years now, and developers are eyeing over their land property.”
Pilgram is particularly working hard to prevent that from occurring, however. He wants to start a project, in the area, that will end before the end of next year.
Pilgram is just but enlightening black people that: whenever you are blessed or advantaged in any aspect of life, always remember to assist others (either directly or indirectly).