A very humorous and revealing story is told about a group of Caucasian Americans who were fed up with African Americans, so they joined together and wished black folks into the corn field (a la an episode on the twilight zone). They passed through a deep dark tunnel and emerged in an America without black people. At first these Caucasian Americans breathed a sigh of relief. 'At last', they said, 'no more crime, drugs, violence and welfare' (as if some African Americans are the only race that uses the welfare system, when based on numbers alone, there are 3 times more Caucasian Americans on welfare than there are African Americans taking advantage of government assistance). All of the blacks have gone! Then suddenly, reality set in. The 'NEW AMERICA' is not America at all - only a barren land.
1. There are very few crops that have flourished because the nation was built on a slave-supported system. 2. There are no cities with tall skyscrapers because Alexander Mils, a black man, invented the elevator, and without it, one finds great difficulty reaching higher floors. 3. There are few if any cars because Richard Spikes, a black man, invented the automatic gearshift, Joseph Gambol, also black, invented the Super Charge System for Internal Combustion Engines, and Garrett A. Morgan, a black man, invented the traffic signals. 4. Furthermore, one could not use the rapid transit system because its procurer was the electric trolley, which was invented by another black man, Albert R. Robinson.
The contributions of African Americans to the wealth building and prosperity of the United States is not presented in United States History classes from elementary to college and university courses.
5. Even if there were streets on which cars and a rapid transit system could operate, they were cluttered with paper because an African American, Charles Brooks, invented the street sweeper.. 6. There were few if any newspapers, magazines and books because John Love invented the pencil sharpener, William Purveys invented the fountain pen, and Lee Barrage invented the Type Writing Machine and W. A. Love invented the Advanced Printing Press. They were all, you guessed it, Black. 7. Even if Americans could write their letters, articles and books, they would not have been transported by mail because William Barry invented the Postmarking and Canceling Machine, William Purveys invented the Hand Stamp and Philip Downing invented the Letter Drop. 8. The lawns were brown and wilted because Joseph Smith invented the Lawn Sprinkler and John Burr the Lawn Mower. 9. When they entered their homes, they found them to be poorly ventilated and poorly heated. You see, Frederick Jones invented the Air Conditioner and Alice Parker the Heating Furnace. Their homes were also dim. But of course, Lewis Lattimer later invented the Electric Lamp, Michael Harvey invented the lantern, and Granville T. Woods invented the Automatic Cut off Switch. Their homes were also filthy because Thomas W. Steward invented the Mop and Lloyd P. Ray the Dust Pan. 10. Their children met them at the door - barefooted, shabby, motley and unkempt. But what could one expect? Jan E. Matzelinger invented the Shoe Lasting Machine, Walter Sammons invented the Comb, Sarah Boone invented the Ironing Board, and George T. Samon invented the Clothes Dryer. 11. Finally, they were resigned to at least have dinner amidst all of this turmoil. But here again, the food had spoiled because another Black Man, John Standard invented the refrigerator... Now, isn't that something? What would this country be like without the contributions of Blacks, as African-Americans? Martin Luther King, Jr. said, 'by the time we leave for work, millions of Americans have depended on the inventions from the minds of Blacks.' Black history includes more than just slavery, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Marcus Garvey & W.E.B. Dubois. ~ Arthur Unknown Neil deGrasse Tyson was born in New York City the same week NASA was founded. His interest in the universe traces back to age 9, after a first visit to the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Tyson was educated in the public schools of New York City through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. And after an MA in Physics from Harvard and a PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia and a Postdoctoral research fellowship at Princeton, Tyson become the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, where he has served since 1996.
Let's not forget Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, near Delta, Louisiana. Madam Walker created specialized hair products for African-American hair and was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire. Madam C.J. Walker was the 19th and 20th centuries version of Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah Gail Winfrey, born on January 29, 1954, is a media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Ms. Winfrey is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the "Queen of All Media", she has been ranked the richest African-American, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is currently North America's first and only multi-billionaire black person.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan - MJ - was born on February 17, 1963. He's a retired professional basketball player, businessman, and principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.
His biography on the NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan is also known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred in the 1996 feature film Space Jam as himself. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the then-Charlotte Bobcats, buying a controlling interest in 2010. In 2015, Jordan became the first billionaire NBA player in history as a result of the increase in value of NBA franchises. He earns more money in endorsement deals now than he did while winning six NBA championships. Forbes estimates Jordan earned $60 million over the past year through contracts with Nike, Gatorade and others. 'Money-Mike' is the second richest African American, behind Oprah Winfrey.
The article writer saves the best for last. Most people have never heard of Reginald Lewis, CEO of TLC Beatrice (TLC - The Lewis Corporation).
The aforementioned African American success stories are just a handful of black folks who have excelled. When our detractors attempt to put us down, to call us ignorant, there is no basis behind that assumption, except hate... no more, no less.
Reginald F. Lewis (December 7, 1942 – January 19, 1993), was an American businessman. He was the richest African-American man in the 1980s. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he grew up in a middle-class neighborhood. He won a football scholarship to Virginia State College, graduating with a degree in political science in 1965. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968 and was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. Recruited to top New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP immediately after law school, Lewis left to start his own firm two years later. After 15 years as a corporate lawyer with his own practice, Lewis moved to the other side of the table by creating TLC Group L.P., a venture capital firm, in 1983. His first major deal was the purchase of the McCall Pattern Company, a home sewing pattern business for $22.5 million. Lewis had learned from a Fortune magazine article that the Esmark holding company, which had recently purchased Norton Simon, planned to divest from the McCall Pattern Company, a maker of home sewing patterns founded in 1870. In 1987, Lewis bought Beatrice International Foods from Beatrice Companies for $985 million, renaming it TLC Beatrice International, a snack food, beverage, and grocery store conglomerate that was the largest African-American owned and managed business in the U.S. The deal was partly financed through Mike Milken of the maverick investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert. In order to reduce the amount needed to finance the LBO, Lewis came up with a plan to sell off some of the division's assets simultaneous with the takeover. When TLC Beatrice reported revenue of $1.8 billion in 1987, it became the first black-owned company to have more than $1 billion in annual sales. At its peak in 1996, TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. had sales of $2.2 billion and was number 512 on Fortune magazine's list of 1,000 largest companies. Reginald Lewis was married to Loida Nicolas-Lewis. They had two daughters, Leslie and Christina. He died at age 50, from brain cancer. Nicolas-Lewis took over the company a year after his death.
The enslavement of African people in the Americas by the nations and peoples of Western Europe, created the economic engine that funded modern capitalism. Therefore it comes as no surprise that most of the major corporations that were founded by Western European and American merchants prior to roughly 100 years ago, benefited directly from slavery.
Here are a few companies that benefited directly from slavery: Aetna, Inc., US largest heath insurer apologized for selling policies in the 1850s that reimbursed slave owners for financial losses when the enslaved Africans they owned died. AIG completed the purchase of American General Financial Group, a Houston-based insurer that owns U.S. Life Insurance Company. A U.S. Life policy on an enslaved African living in Kentucky was reprinted in a 1935 article about slave insurance in The American Conservationist magazine. AIG says it has “found documentation indicating” U.S. Life insured enslaved Africans. Barclays, the British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom has now conceded that companies it bought over the years may have been involved in the slave trade. Brooks Brothers, the high-end suit retailer got their start selling slave clothing to various slave traders back in the 1800s. What a way to get rich in the immoral slave industry! Brown Brothers Harriman is the oldest and largest private investment bank and securities firm in the United States, founded in 1818. USA Today found that the New York merchant bank of James and William Brown, currently known as Brown Bros. Harriman owned hundreds of enslaved Africans and financed the cotton economy by lending millions to southern planters, merchants and cotton brokers. Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec that serves Canada and the midwestern and southern United States. The company also has a history in which it benefited from slavery. The Mobile & Ohio, now part of Canadian National, valued their slaves lost to the war and emancipation at $199,691 on record. That amount is currently worth $2.2 million. CSX used slave labor to construct portions of some U.S. rail lines under the political and legal system that was in place more than a century ago. Two enslaved Africans who the company rented were identified as John Henry and Reuben. The record states, “they were to be returned clothed when they arrived to work for the company.” Individual enslaved Africans cost up to $200 – the equivalent of $3,800 today – to rent for a season and CSX took full advantage. Fleet Boston evolved from an earlier financial institution, Providence Bank, founded by John Brown who was a slave trader and owned ships used to transport enslaved Africans. The bank financed Brown’s slave voyages and profited from them. Brown even reportedly helped charter what became Brown University. JPMorgan Chase recently admitted their company’s links to slavery. “Today, we are reporting that this research found that, between 1831 and 1865, two of our predecessor banks—Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana—accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral on loans and took ownership of approximately 1,250 of them when the plantation owners defaulted on the loans,” the company wrote in a statement. Lehman Brothers: According to the Sun Times, the financial services firm acknowledged recently that its founding partners owned not one, but several enslaved Africans during the Civil War era and that, “in all likelihood,” it “profited significantly” from slavery. N M Rothschild & Sons Bank in London was linked to slavery. The company that was one of the biggest names in the City of London had previously undisclosed links to slavery in the British colonies. Documents seen by the Financial Times have revealed that Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the banking family’s 19th-century patriarch, made his first personal gains by using enslaved Africans as collateral in dealings with a slave owner. New York Life Insurance Company is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States. They also took part in slavery by selling insurance policies on enslaved Africans. Norfolk Southern also has a history in the slave trade. The Mobile & Girard company, which is now part of Norfolk Southern, offered slaveholders $180 ($3,379 today) apiece for enslaved Africans they would rent to the railroad for one year, according to the records. The Central of Georgia, another company aligned with Norfolk Southern Line today, valued its slaves at $31,303 ($663,033 today) on record. There are a plethora of companies and myriad individuals who, through inheritances, benefited directly from free labor of antebellum slavery. When you hear the term, 'old money', in most cases, is the equivalent of 'slave money'.