Cover image for Black enterprise titans of the B.E. 100s : black CEOs who redefined and conquered American business
Black enterprise titans of the B.E. 100s : black CEOs who redefined and conquered American business
Dingle, Derek T.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : J. Wiley, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 238 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD38.25.U6 D56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ
HD38.25.U6 D56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"Money has no color. If you can build a better mousetrap, it won't matter whether you're black or white. People will buy it." -A. G. Gaston Black Enterprise's 1992 Entrepreneur of the Century.

For more than 25 years, Black Enterprise, the premier African American business magazine, has ranked and chronicled the B.E. 100s-its exclusive listing of the nation's top-grossing, black-owned businesses. Generating more than $14 billion in annual revenue and employing more than 55,000 people, these companies represent a vibrant and often overlooked segment of the American economy. Their CEOs, among the wealthiest and most powerful players in the black business community, have been the vanguard of an entrepreneurial revolution. They achieved greatness despite a lack of capital, diminished access, and even outright racism, using their imagination and drive to seize opportunities and break through barriers.

First in the new Black Enterprise series, Titans of the B.E. 100s profiles eleven of these remarkable leaders of the largest black-owned businesses. Covering a broad cross-section of companies and industries, this compelling book features both today's emerging entrepreneurs and the established CEOs, revealing the secrets of how they beat the odds and the hard truths about the myriad challenges they've faced.

No other book brings together so many contemporary black business success stories. Through in-depth, first-person interviews, you'll meet the titans who started their companies from the ground up and were relentless in doing so; who filled a void in the consumer market and, in turn, revolutionized whole industries; and who love the companies that they run and are energized by new ventures. Each chapter profiles a different business legend: From John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines; to Herman J. Russell, who used $125 to create the nation's largest black-owned construction firm; to Emma C. Chappell, the People's Banker, who launched the United Bank of Philadelphia; to Robert L. Johnson, who created Black Entertainment Television and then transformed BET Holdings, Inc. from a single cable network to an entertainment monolith that became the first black-owned business listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Inspiring and motivating, Titans of the B.E. 100s will introduce you to an incredible group of men and women who made a profound impact upon global business, symbolizing a spectacular realization of the American Dream.

Praise for TITANS OF the B.E. 100s. " Titans of the B.E. 100s challenges the vintage profile of the entrepreneur by showcasing the impressive and dynamic careers of African American executives who surmounted social, economic, and political barriers to gain their deserved place in today's world of the business elite."-Kweisi Mfume, President and CEO, NAACP.

" Titans of the B.E. 100s aptly documents the achievements of African American entrepreneurs who embody the legacy of the twentieth century and the hope of the twenty-first century. The principles espoused by these esteemed business leaders are essential to the future of the civil rights movement as we prepare our children for self-reliance and our adults for economic self-sufficiency in the next century.-Hugh B. Price, President, National Urban League.

The intriguing profiles in this book tell the stories of a group of people who started with nothing and went straight to the top, overcoming obstacles with tenacity, ingenuity, and sheer bravery: Don H. Barden

Emma C. Chappell Mel Farr Sr. Charles H. James III John H. Johnson Robert L. Johnson Byron E. Lewis Herman J. Russell Russell Simmons Clarence O. Smith Percy E. Sutton.

Author Notes

Derek T. Dingle is an editor-at-large for Black Enterprise magazine. For more than a decade, he has covered the B.E. 100s, which profile the 100 largest black-owned businesses, and he recently served as writer for B.E. 100s Exclusive, a newsletter for CEOs of these companies. In addition to his role as the managing editor of BE several years ago, he served as president and CEO of Milestone Media, Inc., which was the nation's largest black-owned comic book company.

Table of Contents

Earl G. GravesJohn H. JohnsonRobert L. JohnsonClarence O. SmithRussell SimmonsByron E. LewisMel Farr, Sr.Emma C. ChappellHerman J. RussellCharles H. James IIIPercy E. SuttonDon H. Barden
Forewordp. vii
Introductionp. xi
1. Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. The Pioneerp. 1
2. BET Holdings, Inc. The Brand Masterp. 27
3. Essence Communications, Inc. The Salesmanp. 51
4. Rush Communications and Affiliated Companies The Hip-Hopreneurp. 73
5. UniWorld Group, Inc. Mr. Madison Avenuep. 93
6. Mel Farr Automotive Group, Inc. The Superstarp. 115
7. United Bank of Philadelphia The People's Bankerp. 137
8. H. J. Russell and Company The Builderp. 155
9. C. H. James and Son Holding Company, Inc. The Strategistp. 173
10. Inner City Broadcasting Corporation The Politicianp. 193
11. The Barden Companies The Playerp. 213
Acknowledgmentsp. 231
Indexp. 233