Victor Young talks about Sullivan Progress Plaza in an interview with WHYY

November 07, 2023

Obermayer Partner Victor Young was interviewed by WHYY in a special episode, that aired on October 30, 2023, celebrating Rev. Leon Sullivan and the creation of Progress Plaza, the first Black-owned shopping center in the United States. Progress Plaza opened in 1968 and featured various businesses and services, including a supermarket, drugstore, clothing stores, restaurants, and other retail establishments. The plaza provided much-needed amenities and employment opportunities for the predominantly African-American neighborhood of North Philadelphia. 

Victor’s father, the late Elmer Young Jr., was the project manager for the development of Progress Plaza. After it opened, he became the first manager of Progress Plaza and likely the first Black manager of a shopping center in all of America.

“In fact, we believe that he [Elmer Young Jr.] was the first Black manager of a shopping center in all of America,” said Victor. 

In the interview, Victor talks about the significance of Reverend Sullivan’s project and also shares his hopes for that excitement to be transferred to the younger generation, and hopefully, they’ll be able to create memories and excitement of their own.

‘Anytime you hear Reverend Sullivan, it should make you think about, “Wow, why can’t we do that now?”‘

Watch the full documentary here: