by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Baltimore’s very first prominent black venture capitalist died last week at the age of 97. William Lloyd “Little Willie” Adams had been battling pneumonia in his last days. During his lifetime, he used his business smarts to move from number running to becoming the number one lender for black entrepreneurs in addition to having his own successful businesses.
Thomas J. D’Alesandro III, former mayor of Baltimore said, “Little Willie was an institution in Baltimore. And as far as the black community was concerned, he brought black entrepreneurs into the formerly all-white business community. He was also a political power in his own right and had a tremendous network.” Another former Baltimore mayor by the name of Kurt L. Schmoke stated that Adams was a “major force in the city and its politics and economic development…For many years he was the most ‘reliable bank’ that African Americans could go to in order to start and continue to operate businesses. For years he was the lender. When I got into office, he was less of a power, but to the Harry B. Coles and the Mitchells [pioneering black officials], he was the indispensable power.”
Two of Adams most notable accomplishments include owning Carr’s Beach — the most popular local black amusement park — and Parks Sausage which came to be one of the first black-owned businesses to be publicly traded on Wall Street.
This is a part of Ayvaunn Penn‘s Black And Making It series. She is also a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.