The Carter’s made it on peanuts, the Bushes made it with oil, the Kennedys made it with Scotch Whiskey, Hugh Hefner made it as a sex promoter, Spike Lee made it as a movie promoter, Berry Gordy, the Jacksons, and Walt Disney made it as entertainers, and the Obamas and the Clintons made it as writers and intellectuals. Donald Trump, however, took a gift of millions made by his father in real estate and made it as a crime boss. Trump is the only one ﬁghting to keep himself and his family out of prison. If that is the art of the deal, I say, “Lord deliver me!”
I keep near me as I write a list of Blacks who have made it. They have not all made it to richness, but they provide a road map to how to win against the odds. I like to think of them as “outrunning the legacy of slavery by economic and literacy success”. They are, Madame C. J. Walker, Cosmetology product giant and America’s ﬁ rst self-made female millionaire; Cathy Hughes, Radio/TV media giant; Don Barden, Casino owner operator; A. G. Gaston, entrepreneur extraordinaire; Don King, fight promoter; John Johnson, Ebony and Jet magazine founder; Earl Graves, Black Enterprise magazine founder; Herman Russell, millionaire builder from Atlanta: Ida B. Wells, media and anti-lynching activist; Joe E. Dudley, beauty school and hair and beauty products and services; John Sengstack, creator of the Chicago Defender newspaper that promoted the Black northern and westward migration. His papers published stories of a better life up north and distributed by Black Red Cap workers on the Railroad. Sometimes the distribution was legal, and sometimes not for Blacks who were banned from knowing how to read. Also, there is Maggie Lena Walker who founded a Black bank.
Then there are modern day giants who are keeping up the art of outrunning the legacy of slavery by economic and literacy success, such as, Dr. Rosie Milligan, founder of Black Writers on Tour and publisher of books and annual events to promote literacy; Mother Love who teach Blacks about diabetes and Black health problems through the media; Danny Bakewell who made it from operating anti-poverty programs to real estate tycoon and media operator; Wally Famous Amos, the cookie man who made it and taught us a lesson about not giving up or selling out your name.
Other successes include Xernona Clayton who made it as the ﬁrst Black woman to have a talk show on television (CNN). She also created the Trumpet Awards which highlight the achievements of African Americans in America. Herb Hudson is the founder of Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles restaurants. Local family businesses like Woods-Valentine Mortuary of Pasadena, California who has taught us about how to persist and create a family legacy business. They have celebrated over 90 years in a business that started with Jimmy Woods who was a shoe shine man in the prosperous city of Pasadena, California, over 90 years ago.
The Pasadena Journal would like to achieve longevity and leave a legacy in publishing our weekly newspaper, as well. We started in 1989, taking the earnings of my law practice and the persistence and genius of wife, Ruthie, we started the Journal from scratch. The purpose was to give our three sons an affordable media vehicle. We are reaching 30 years (in 2019), spreading the news for America’s most famous city on New Year’s Day (Pasadena, CA). I invite you to make and preserve a copy of the pictorial on this page as a lesson for exposing your young people to the real art of the deal. The other one by the criminal is truly fake news.