2 The Next Level Tuesday Reginald F. Lewis, the first African American owner of a billion-dollar company
What does Baltimore Maryland, Virginia State University, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Philippines, Civil Rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Parks Sausage, McCall Pattern Co, Jesse Jackson, Beatrice Foods and All-Star Code have in common?
They all helped take the legacy of Reginald Lewis, the first African American owner of a billion-dollar company 2 the next level of success.
Here are some steps Reginal Lewis took to obtain the right to purchase a billion-dollar company.
- Reginald F. Lewis was born on December 7, 1942, in Baltimore, Maryland
- Lewis graduated from Virginia State University.
- Lewis was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Inc.
- Lewis attended a summer program at Harvard Law funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and excelled to such an extent that at the end of the program, he was invited to attend the law school, the only person in the school’s 148-year history to be admitted before applying.
- Lewis marries Loida Nicholas in her native country, The Philippines.
- Lewis is counsel to the New York-based Commission for Racial Justice and works on the Wilmington Ten case, in which Civil Rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr. and nine others were wrongfully convicted of arson and conspiracy in 1971.
- In 1972 Reginal Lewis’ first attempt at the acquisition of Parks Sausage company ended in failure.
- Lewis establishes the TLC Group, L.P. in 1983 and works on acquiring McCall Pattern Company. In February 1984 he assumed chairmanship of McCall Pattern Company.
- In 1984, Lewis held a fundraiser for Jesse Jackson’s presidential candidacy at Fraunces Tavern in New York City.
- In 1987, Lewis won the right to buy Beatrice International Foods for just under $1 billion. It was the largest offshore leveraged buyout ever by an American company at that time. Reginal Lewis became the first African American to purchase a billion-dollar company.
- Reginald Lewis’ daughter Christina Lewis Halpern, created a nonprofit, All Star Code, that trains black and brown boys to code during the summer. Founded in 2013 AllStar Code’s model was inspired by Reginald F. Lewis’ career which was spring-boarded by a 1965 summer program at Harvard Law School.
Read the full story at The Root
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