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you. I’m here to tell you that they most definitely are open to you and that you should take advantage of them. Don’t let lingering racial insecurities or fear of discrimination keep you from participating in the dynamic American economy. It is your right. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones. And you deserve it.

We marched courageously and successfully in Selma, Little Rock, Montgomery and Washington, D.C. Now we must march on Wall Street.

We aggressively claimed our civil rights in this country, but we have been far too passive in pursuing our rightful share of this nation’s wealth. We need to be as aggressive about our personal finances as we have been about our individual freedoms.

From Investing in the Dream: Personal Wealth-Building Strategies for African Americans in Search of Financial Freedom. Copyright (c) 2000 by Jesse B. Brown. Published by arrangement with Hyperion.

How Jesse Brown Found His Investment Niche
Before Jesse B. Brown found his niche market, he knew he was working hard as a stockbroker with not enough reward.

Brown is now president of Krystal Investment Management, an investment advisory firm in Chicago. Back in 1988, he was putting in long hours as a broker for a major firm in the Windy City. But as he writes in his second book, Investing in the Dream: Personal Wealth-Building Strategies for African Americans in Search of Financial Freedom, cold-calling clients to sell them investments wasn’t working the way it was supposed to.

“Even when I did manage to sign clients, I found that I was spending so much time trying to sell them stocks, bonds and mutual funds-because that was how I earned my commissions-that I really wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, which was to manage clients’ portfolios to fit their specific needs, interests and goals,” he writes.

Brown then sought out the advice of a successful senior stockbroker at the firm who seemed to have little trouble making money from his clients.

“He told me that the secret to being a successful broker is to identify a niche market and develop long-term trusting relationships with it,” writes Brown. Apparently, the older broker shared a passion with his clients: 17th century classical baroque music. He even served as president of the Baroque Society in Chicago, a prime networking avenue where he met many of his clients.

Like the senior professional he sought out, Brown realized that he, too, had a niche market: African Americans.

“I only had to look at all the white faces in my office to determine where my unique niche should be,” writes Brown. “There I was, a black stockbroker in Chicago, home of some of the most successful and affluent African Americans in the world, not to mention a thriving black middle class. Once I identified my niche market, I only had to go out and talk to people” at social gatherings such as his college fraternity meetings, at his church and in the neighborhood supermarket.
–Ivan Cintrón

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