5 Wealthiest African Americans in Business
Many African Americans have struck it rich in real estate.
It’s no secret that African Americans such as Oprah Winfrey, Bob Johnson and ex-wife Sheila Johnson, co-founders of BET, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson are filthy rich. But a number of blacks have earned millions in fields outside of the entertainment industry. Real estate and construction are the industries that have yielded the most African American millionaires. Learn more about what the nation’s richest black businesspeople have in common and how they made a name for themselves in industries unrelated to entertainment.
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R. Donahue Peebles has a true to rags to riches story. The grandson of a doorman, Peebles earned admission into Rutgers University. He left that school in 1979 and became a real estate agent in Washington, D.C. He went on to start Peebles Corp., reportedly the nation’s largest black real estate development enterprise. The company’s collection of real estate includes office space, hotels and apartments. Peebles’ estimated net worth is $350 million.
With an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Quintin Primo III likely knew he was headed for success. He put his Ivy League education to use at Citicorp’s real estate lending division. In 1992, he went on to launch Capri Capital Partners with friend Daryl Carter. Capri now has real estate assets worth more than $2.7 billion. Primo’s estimated net worth is $300 million.
Janice Bryant Howroyd is not only the sole woman on this list but the sole businessperson to strike it rich outside of real estate. Howroyd made her fortune after leaving her position as an assistant at Billboard magazine to launch the staffing firm Act-1 in 1978. She grew her business by promoting it with a word-of-mouth campaign. Today the company boasts almost $1 billion in revenues. Howroyd’s net worth is $250 million. She’s come a long way from her upbringing as the fourth of 11 children with a stay-at-home mother and a father who worked as a foreman at a dye factory.
The son of a plastering contractor, Herman J. Russell built his first property at the young age of 16. He later launched H.J. Russell Plastering Co. in 1953. Now retired, Russell’s net worth is an estimated $200 million.
Former NBA player Ulysses Bridgeman Jr. turned to entrepreneurship in his second career. He started off with a handful of Wendy’s franchises, going on to own more than 160 such franchises and about 120 Chili’s restaurants. His estimated net worth is $200 million.
Sources: TheRichest.org, Forbes