By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- Alonzo Herndon, made history as the first Black – American to become a millionaire. Initially, he sharecrops later to a hairstylist and finally settled as a real Estate Agent. Herndon was born in 1858 to an inter-racial couple, a black mother and a white father.
Catapulted from a sharecropper to a professional hair-stylist in 1878, Herndon inevitably initiated a chance to operate three large barber’s shop in the Atlanta, Georgia area that serve the prominent white men.
Alonzo Herndon’s journey to becoming a millionaire in the 1900 commenced at a time he became a founding member of Booker T. Washington’s National Negro Business League. Following a riot, Herndon diversified and started investing in real estate and later purchased a collapsing mutual aid association which became known as the Atlanta Family Life Insurance Company.
Atlanta Life Insurance Company, successfully expanded into other markets in the U S. Herndon had very dedicated employees who went from door to door to sell the company’s low cost industrial insurance and successfully made sales at a time when they were the only Black men wearing suits and tie though the southern town.
The high achieving Black millionaire died in 1927 and his son – Norris took over the company. The company – Atlanta Family Life Insurance, still operates and is the only African – American owned and privately held stock firm in the U S.
For New Africa Daily News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent