While African-Americans may only make-up 13% of the population, they have made significant contributions that have impacted the entire nation. It’s remarkable to look back on these accomplishments and see the miracles that occurred as a result of adversity, less money, and less resources. If examples of minority fortune occurred centuries ago, it goes to show that it’s definitely possible today. Therefore, we’ve presented a few extraordinary examples of the past as inspiration!
William Randolph Hudgins (1907-2007): He was an African American entrepreneur who founded the Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association in 1948. It was the first bank founded with the purpose to serve the black community. Entrepreneur Magazine notes that it was started with $250,000 in assets and $14,000 in cash. The rest was contributed from the community. For seven years, he worked without a salary in order to invest in his dreams. As of today, it still remains the largest black financial institution.
After serving as the president of Carver Bank for eighteen years, he resigned to aid in establishing another bank, Freedom National Bank. He was a pioneer and a leader in providing financial services to the African American community. While he passed away at the age of 100 in 2007, his legacy will continue to live on.
George Washington Carver (1864-1943): Carver was a remarkable black inventor and agricultural chemist. He forever changed history with his 300+ uses for peanuts and 100+ uses for soybeans, sweet potatoes, and pecans. About reports that he also invented the crop-rotation method which enabled the South to grow beyond its primary soil-depleting cotton crops to soil-enriching crops such as pecans, sweet potatoes, peas, peanuts, and soybeans. He also produced over 500 shades of dye and discovered a way to make paints from soybeans.
Carver received numerous awards for his work. Booker T. Washington invited him to serve as the Director of Agriculture at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for Negroes in 1897. He served there until he passed away in 1943. After his passing, he was honored by President Roosevelt with a national monument. A park in his childhood hometown in Diamond Grove, Missouri was named after him, making it the first national monument awarded to an African American.
Carver did all of his extensive work with a philanthropic train of thought. Out of all his remarkable accomplishments, he only applied for three patents for one of his inventions. His logic was that “God gave them to me. How can I sell them to someone else?” He even declined an offer for a $100,000 salary (about a million in today’s terms) to work for a firm. He was a man with worth that couldn’t be defined by dollars, and we’re forever grateful for it.
*Images courtesy of Educational Synthesis and Meyer Liebowitz.
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