By Sarah E. Crest,
Special to the AFRO
Harold D. Young chronicles the evolution of African-American business leaders in his new book, “From Lunch Counter Protests to Corporate America,” highlighting Black excellence and innovation.
From the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement to the Black Business Hall of Fame, the book details happenings of the Baltimore Marketing Association (BMA), and a variety of events that affected Black entrepreneurs over the years.
Young narrates the struggles of African-American business professionals through the life and leadership of Ackneil M. Muldrow II.
Readers are introduced to college student Muldrow as a participant in the historic 1960 lunch counter protest in Greensboro, N.C. After receiving his degree from North Carolina A&T University, Muldrow began his professional career as a temporary teacher at Baltimore’s Booker T. Washington Junior High School. In the fall of 1961 he was granted a full-time position.
In 1964 Muldrow was admitted into Montgomery Ward’s management training program. He would later recall that he was the first African American in the country accepted in the program. From that first opportunity, Muldrow navigated his way through local businesses, honing his skills and knowledge as he climbed.
In 1966 he was hired by the Commercial Credit Corporation (CCC) as their equal employment opportunity manager. In this position, Muldrow navigated a path forward for himself and promoted opportunities for young African Americans.
During his tenure at the CCC, Muldrow was invited to a meeting of the National Association of Market Developers (NAMD). He hoped that the organization would provide important support for rising African-American businesspersons, but the parent organization’s goals were at odds with the local chapter’s goals. The Baltimore Chapter sought to provide information on business culture, new opportunities, and continuing education to its members. The Baltimore Chapter of NAMD severed its relationship with the national organization in 1967 and became the Baltimore Marketing Association (BMA).
The five BMA founding fathers – President John Rich, members Ackneil M. Muldrow II, Gary Reynolds, Roland Henson, and Eugene Smith – all worked for major corporations in the Baltimore area. Muldrow became the organization’s second president.
Young details Muldrow’s leadership model, the organization’s growth and the development of scholarship and leadership awards. The BMA also launched economic ventures with the U.S. Small Business Administration and worked with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
The book concludes with the Black Business Hall of Fame that includes, among many others, Baltimore greats like AFRO-American Newspaper founder John H. Murphy Sr., Camilla White Sherrard, fundraiser for Arena Players, and expert salesperson and entrepreneur, Henry G. Parks.
The book is an informative read that provides a history of the development of African-American business and marketing professionals in the Baltimore area.
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