Friday, July 03, 2009

Nat'l Black Chamber Says Black Biz Success Can Hurt

"Black Business Success Can Hurt"

By Harry Alford

It can be quite comical at times when you see public relations splashes about perceived successful entrepreneurs. Ninety percent of these so called tycoons are fakes. The fact is most successful Black businesses are rather “stealth”. The modesty comes from many examples of attacks, conspiracies and mountains of adversity put before them and others simply because they are Black. Most successful Black entrepreneurs that I know would never publish themselves in the so called Black Enterprise Top 100 Black Businesses. To many it is perceived as a “target list” for the IRS, large competitors and others with bad intentions. Allow me to discuss a few of the horror stories that successful Black entrepreneurs have experienced.

Lannie H. Smith started L.H. Smith Oil Co. and built up a big customer base of Indiana corporations and government entities. He supplied them with fuel oil. His biggest contract was with Ft. Knox, Kentucky, the home of the U.S. Army tank school. Traditionally, you had to deliver the goods on time or face a fine for lateness. In this case, if any of his trucks were late his company would be assessed a fine of $1,000 per hour or part thereof. His enemies knew this so when each truck left Indianapolis for Ft. Knox it would be stopped by an Indiana state trooper and detained for hours. After the harassment, the trooper would release the truck and as soon as it crossed the Ohio River Bridge a Kentucky state trooper was waiting to do the same. This harassment was taking all the profit out of the deliveries and building bad relations with an important customer. It’s hard to fight something that is being sanctioned by the highest office in the state (Governor and State Police).

[See full article for other examples]

I know hundreds of such stories. One day I will have to chronicle it in a book. It is just a shame to see hard work and success attacked simply because of the color of one’s skin. To see a catfish farmer get his ponds poisoned with toxic mercury; companies getting their valuable equipment stolen; unwarranted union strikes; merciless IRS audits and harassments; false fraud charges and it goes on and on. For every successful Black business that hasn’t been “hit” there are five more that have. STILL WE RISE!

Harry Alford is the President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

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