This 10th edition of Who's Who In Black Columbus is a continuation of a dream that started with the very first edition, a dream of celebrating, documenting and recognizing the accomplishments of African Americans who have been extraordinary and significant. That first edition was entitled Who's Who In Black Central Ohio, the foreword was written by Attorney Alex Shumate; Bob Taft was the governor of Ohio; J. Kenneth Blackwell was Ohio Secretary of State; Michael B. Coleman had just been elected the first Black mayor of Columbus; Ben E. Espy, Ray Miller and Joyce Beatty were Ohio State Representatives; Janet E. Jackson was city attorney for Columbus; and Fred K. Parker was president of Columbus' branch of the NAACP. It is hard to believe that was 10 editions ago!
In that very first edition there were 198 individuals featured and 40 of Columbus' leading corporations, businesses and community organizations gave their support. These business leaders recognized the importance of having diversity in the workforce and they knew the value of being engaged in the Black community. Yes, nine editions and 12 years later, our city continues to value, celebrate and embrace diversity and inclusion.
This 10th anniversary collectable edition is an extension of great stories about men and women who came before us, worked hard and made scarifies - so that we would be able to pass on greater opportunities for success to the next generation. Men like the late, and I will add, "great "Jerry Hammond Sr. who, when I moved to Columbus in 2002, called, reconnected, and welcomed me to Columbus. He picked me up from my office, took me to lunch and spent hours bringing me up to speed about the city and what was going on within the Black community. I will always value the candid conversations I had with Mr. Hammond about national and statewide elections we worked on, when I was city councilman in Akron. He is just one example of the men and women who have been featured in our books, impacted the lives of others and is no longer with us in the flesh. But, they are in the hearts and minds of those they touched. They would also say to us that the work is not done and we still have a long way to go to ensure true equality for all of God's people.