A few years back, she retired from our company to become a full-time grandmother. But her spirit can very much be felt in the company. In fact, we have nailed her attaché case to the wall of her office, and it is never coming down.
Our mission will continue to be one of bringing African Americans closer to the American Dream. That is my legacy to my sons, Earl “Butch” Jr., the president and COO of black enterprise magazine; John, the president of Black Enterprise Unlimited; and Michael, who oversees our interests at PepsiCo. (Two years ago, we sold our Washington, D.C., Pepsi bottling franchise but still remain active in the company.) This is the spirit that embodies the managers and employees who continue to make significant contributions to this publication. It is a charge that we will make every effort to infuse into our readers, those just coming aboard as well as those who stuck with us during our 30-year odyssey.
In reviewing the past 30 years, I believe our journey can be summed up with a quote from Frederick Douglass:
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those of us who profess to favor freedom yet depreciate agitation are men [and, I say, women] who want the crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. . . . This struggle may be a moral one or a physical one, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand.”