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Diane L. Barnes

James Needham Buffum was born in North Berwick, Maine, to Quaker parents. Buffum trained as a carpenter and established his own business as a house contractor in Lynn, Massachusetts. He grew wealthy through his business pursuits, which he expanded to include activities as a real estate speculator and financier. Dissatisfied with Quaker positions on reform, Buffum became an advocate of immediate abolition and a strong supporter of William Lloyd Garrison. Having independent means, Buffum traveled widely in the company of Garrison, Frederick Douglass and others on the antislavery lecture circuit He withdrew from the Society of Friends and adopted a radicalism that rejected established religion and politics as tools available to the abolitionist Garrison mentioned Buffum frequently in his correspondence often calling him my true hearted friend Buffum joined a variety of antislavery organizations serving as chair of the finance committee and as a vice president ...

Article

Kissette Bundy

lawyer and arbitrageur who was the first African American to own a Fortune 500 business. Reginald Francis Lewis was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Clinton Lewis, a restaurateur, and Carolyn Cooper Lewis, who was seventeen at the time of her son's birth. Lewis and his mother lived with his grandparents, Sue and Sam Cooper, after his parents divorced. The Cooper clan resided in the segregated working-class neighborhood of East Baltimore. Reginald's grandfather held several service positions, while his wife raised their eight children and two of her nieces and labored as a domestic. The values of family, work ethic, and enjoyment of the finer things in life would balance Lewis's bullish rise to the financial elite.

In 1951, Reginald's mother married Jean S. Fugett Sr. an army soldier who purchased the family home in West Baltimore through the GI Bill Lewis soon had five brothers ...

Article

Although he disliked the term, Reginald Lewis was often called the “Jackie Robinson of Wall Street” and was considered “the man who broke the color barrier in large-scale mergers and acquisitions and leveraged buyouts.” In 1987, with his firm TLC, Lewis orchestrated the largest offshore leveraged buyout in business history, paying $985 million for Beatrice International Foods. With subsidiaries on almost every continent, the renamed TLC-Beatrice International became the largest black-owned firm in the United States, and TLC's acquisition of Beatrice Foods made Lewis one of the most prominent African American businessmen.

Lewis was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents separated when he was nine, but he grew up in a supportive, middle-class atmosphere in Baltimore. By the age of ten, Lewis had gotten a job delivering the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper and he stored the money he earned in a tin can he labeled Reggie s ...

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Saul Engelbourg

arbitrager and business executive, was born in Baltimore, the son of Clinton Lewis, a skilled worker and small-businessman and Carolyn Cooper. Lewis was strongly influenced by his mother, especially because his parents divorced during his childhood. His mother married Jean S. Fugett Sr. in 1951. An elementary school teacher, Fugett was a graduate of Morgan State College and had five sons and daughters.

Lewis attended a Catholic grade school but was not admitted to a Catholic high school because of low test scores and discrimination against blacks Instead he attended the black public Paul Laurence Dunbar High School where he starred in three sports football baseball and basketball Academically below average because of his weakness in the sciences Lewis received a football scholarship from Virginia State College in Petersburg a black public institution After his freshman year Lewis withdrew from football because of a shoulder injury ...

Article

Leslie H. Fishel

Stephen Smith was born near Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the son of an unknown father and Nancy Smith (maiden name unknown), a Cochran family servant. On July 10, 1801Thomas Boude, a former revolutionary war officer from Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, purchased the boy's indenture. As Smith grew to manhood, he proved so able that Boude eventually made him manager of his entire lumber business.

On January 3, 1816 Smith borrowed $50 to purchase his freedom from Boude. Later that year Smith married Harriet Lee, a domestic servant in the Jonathan Mifflin home. They had no children. Free of his indenture, Smith entered the lumber business for himself, while his wife ran an oyster house. In 1820 his one and a half lots were valued at $300 Thirteen years later he owned six houses and lots worth $3 000 stocks and bonds of equal value a ...

Article

Leslie H. Fishel

businessman and minister, was born near Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the son of an unknown father and Nancy Smith (maiden name unknown), a Cochran family servant. On 10 July 1801Thomas Boude, a former revolutionary war officer from Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, purchased the boy's indenture. As Smith grew to manhood he proved so able that Boude eventually made him manager of his entire lumber business.

On 3 January 1816 Smith borrowed fifty dollars to purchase his freedom from Boude. Later that year Smith married Harriet Lee, a domestic servant in the Jonathan Mifflin home; they had no children. Free of his indenture, Smith entered the lumber business for himself, while his wife ran an oyster house. In 1820 his one and a half lots were valued at three hundred dollars thirteen years later he owned six houses and lots worth three thousand dollars stocks and ...

Article

Heidi L. Scott Giusto

Victoria Woodhull was an advocate of humanitarian and social reform, free love, and spiritualism, positions that brought her considerable notoriety. She ran in the 1872 election on the ticket of the newly formed Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass as her vice presidential running mate. Douglass, who was nominated without consent, did not attend the convention. Years later, in 1887, the two finally met in Rome and had a pleasant encounter.

Instability and turmoil marked Woodhull's life. Born in Homer, Ohio, she received only three years of education in her hometown's Methodist church. Public pressure forced Reuben Buckman Claflin, Woodhull's alcoholic father, to move his family from Homer after coming under suspicion for intentionally setting fire to a gristmill he owned. In 1853 Victoria Claflin wed Canning Woodhull, but the couple divorced in 1865 after having two children During her marriage to Canning Woodhull she became ...