It seems we’ve come so far since the 40 acres and a mule days. Forty acres and a mule refers to a promise made in the United States for agrarian reform for former enslaved black farmers by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on January 16, 1865. The conversation between politicians and abolitionists, encouraged former slaves to anticipate owning their own properties.
“Some land redistribution occurred under military jurisdiction during the war and for a brief period thereafter. However, federal and state policy during the Reconstruction era emphasized wage labor, not land ownership, for blacks.” Most blacks acquired land through private transactions, with ownership peaking at 15,000,000 acres in 1910, before an extended financial recession caused problems that resulted in the loss of their property for many.
He was born on December 7th, 1942, 32 years after redistribution and reconstruction, Reginald F. Lewis was given to the world.
Called the “Jackie Robinson” of business, Mr. Lewis began a journey that would bring him face to face with billion dollar corporate buyouts and the purchase of a pattern company (McCall) that would help build an equitable financial future. His TLC Beatrice International company, would place him on the map of billion dollar business transformations. The business pioneer, philanthropist, and titan, graduated from Harvard Law school and never really formally applied for admission.
His business acumen and savvy, helped him acquire an unprecedented global conglomerate of 64 companies in 31 countries, and paved the way for future entrepreneurs and black leaders. And then, he was gone at just 50 years old. The Baltimore native and three-sport star, proved to us all, that you and I are packages sent to Earth by God to release greatness to our generation.
My thoughts on how to release your greatness: 1. Say what you want and never settle; 2. See the impossible; 3. Believe you can achieve; 4. Think bigger than your circumstances; 5. Work harder than your competitors; 6. Keep going no matter what!
I salute Reginald F. Lewis and place him in my annuals of history. The prolific thinker, financier, businessman, and titan, who wouldn’t settle for 40 acres and a mule, but amassed a billion dollar empire, when others thought it couldn’t be done. And to all the future Reginald Lewis’ out there, I simply say, “KEEP GOING NO MATTER WHAT!” AND KEEP STANDING ON THE ROCK!