African American Entrepreneurs (Black Stars)

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9780471145769: African American Entrepreneurs (Black Stars)

America, always revered as the land of opportunity, is rich in stories about ambitious, determined individuals who worked hard and built businesses of their own. Yet, few people know about the many African American entrepreneurs who helped shape the American dream. This collection brings their stories to life.

In every century, succeeding in business has required courage, ideas, the willingness to take risks, and the desire to succeed. For an African American man or woman, building a business also meant struggling against prejudice and working even harder than many others. Those who succeed are not just good businessmen and -women, they are heroes and heroines.

In this vivid, inspiring collection, you will meet more than thirty fascinating African American entrepreneurs, from the eighteenth century up to the present, who overcame the odds against them. You'll discover little-known facts about their families, and the exciting times in which they lived. Along the way, you'll witness the triumph of talent, ingenuity, and perseverance.

Ranging from cattle ranching to magazine publishing and computers, these stories show you how:

  • Marie-Thérèse Metoyer, born into slavery, started her own plantation.
  • Pierre Toussaint, born a slave in Haiti, became rich as a hairdresser in New York.
  • Granville T. Woods, an engineer, could not find work after the Civil War because he was black. So he started inventing. During his life, he registered more than sixty patents.
  • Henry G. Parks, using an old Virginia sausage recipe, built a national food company.
  • Alphonse "Buddy" Fletcher Jr., one of Wall Street's most successful stock traders, started his own firm before he was even thirty years old.

This outstanding collection brings to light these and dozens of other exciting and surprising tales of entrepreneurs who lived their dreams.

Meet the black stars who lived their dreams—from the early years to modern times

Richard Henry Boyd
Janet Harmon Bragg
Paul Cuffe
Alphonse "Buddy" Fletcher Jr.
James Forten
A. G. Gaston
Berry Gordy Jr.
Earl G. Graves
Thomas L. Jennings
John H. Johnson
Quincy Jones
Elizabeth Keckley
Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee
William Leidesdorff
Reginald F. Lewis
"Free Frank" McWorter
Marie-Thérèse Metoyer
Oscar Micheaux
Henry G. Parks
Philip A. Payton Jr.
David Ruggles
Jake Simmons Jr.
Ada "Bricktop" Smith
Charles Clinton Spaulding
Pierre Toussaint
Dempsey J. Travis
Madame C. J. Walker
Maggie Lena Walker
Omar Wasow
Oprah Winfrey
Granville T. Woods

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About the Author:

JIM HASKINS has written more than ninety books for young readers, including Diary of a Harlem School Teacher; his collaboration with Rosa Parks on her autobiography, Rosa Parks: My Story; and Black Eagles: African Americans in Aviation. He is Professor of English at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and winner of numerous awards, including the Washington Post Children's Book Guild Award for the body of his work and the Coretta Scott King Book Award.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Haskins (Black, Blue, and Gray, 1998, etc.) profiles 31 African-Americans, including seven women, who overcame towering obstacles of law and custom to achieve financial success in fields such as banking, cosmetics, electrical engineering, music, and real estate. Some, such as plantation (and slave) owner Marie-Thrse Metoyer worked to buy freedom for their families; some exploited white prejudice to occupy unfilled market niches; all displayed plenty of courage, initiative, and ingenuity. The careers of people such as Paul Cuffe, Madame C.J. Walker, and Oprah Winfrey are already well-documented, but hairdresser Pierre Toussaint, filmmaker Oscar Michaeux, and businessman A.G. ``It doesn't do any good to arrive at first-class citizenship if you arrive broke'' Gaston will be less familiar to readers, and the gallery includes still-rising stars Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. (financial management) and Omar Wasow (computer entrepreneur). Dividing the work into ``The Early Years,'' ``The Civil War Years and Reconstruction,'' ``Into the New Century,'' and ``Modern Times,'' Haskins draws information from published, mostly secondary, sources, and generally steers clear of personal details and extended quotations, so there isn't much sense of his subjects' individual characters or voices. The diversity of their paths to success, however, makes a refreshing change from the ``official'' versions offered by most athletes and other celebrities, putting this a step above school assignment fodder. (b&w illustrations, index, not seen, chronology, bibliography) (Biography. 10-13) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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