Then & Now

BE's coverage over the last four decades reveals how far we've come and how far we must go

Lee and, most recently, Reginald Fowler — failed in attempts to gain majority ownership of sports franchises. Ironically, Johnson’s ex-wife, Sheila, recently became the first African American woman to gain an ownership stake in three professional sports teams through her partnership with Lincoln Holdings L.L.C: the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and part of the NBA’s Washington Wizards.

FEBRUARY 2004
Vanguarde Media, publisher of Savoy, Heart & Soul, and Honey magazines, files for bankruptcy due to a lack of capital and a flawed business strategy. Vanguarde, once considered the most capitalized black-owned business in U.S. history, receives $60 million in capital over four years from investors that include private equity firm Provender Capital Group L.L.P. (No. 6 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS list). Savoy recently returned to newsstands after being acquired by Hartman Publishing Group, a black publisher based in Chicago.

NOVEMBER 2004
Illinois politician Barack Obama is elected to the U.S. Senate, making him the only African American in that body and one of only three blacks to ever hold that position since Reconstruction. One of the rising stars in the Democratic Party, he has blazed trails for 2006 contenders such as former NAACP CEO Kweisi Mfume and Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who are running for the same U.S. Senate seat; and Harold Ford Jr., a prospect for a forthcoming vacant seat in Tennessee.

MARCH 2005
Essence Communications Partners announces it will sell the remaining 51% of the company that publishes the nation’s leading black women’s publication to Time Inc., the magazine publishing arm of media giant Time Warner. As a result, ECP leaves the ranks of the BE 100S, a status it has held since the inception of our rankings in 1973. Only three other companies have been listed on the BE 100S during its entire 33-year history: Johnson Publishing Co. (No. 5 on the 2005 INDUSTRIAL/ SERVICE 100 with $498.2 million in sales); H.J. Russell (No. 13 with $304.2 million in sales); and Earl G. Graves Ltd. (No. 64 with $57.8 million in sales), the pub
lisher of this magazine.

JUNE 2005
Prestige Automotive becomes the first black auto dealer to surpass the billion-dollar revenue mark and one of four black companies to achieve that feat in the history of the BE 100S. The others are TLC Beatrice, CAMAC International, and World Wide Technology.

 

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