February 16: Reginald F. Lewis
Reginald F. Lewis is the first Black billionaire. Graduate of Virginia State University -- he attended on a football scholarship and there he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi -- and the only person in the history of Harvard Law School to be admitted before applying.
But before he was any of that, Reginald F. Lewis was an entrepreneur. At the age of 10, he set up a delivery route to distribute the Baltimore Afro American newspaper. He went from 10 customers to more than 100 in two years, and sold the route for a profit at the age of 12. When an injury halted his college football career, Lewis shifted his focus from athletics to school and work; he generated so much business for the photographer he was assisting that he was offered a partnership. Lewis went on to graduate from law school, work as a corporate lawyer, and then switched sides and founded a private equity firm -- and that's where his money was made. But he didn't keep it all for himself. Lewis shared his wealth to enhance causes he thought were important, mostly educational and children's causes. His first donation was an unsolicited donation of $1 million to Howard University. His foundation also founded the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History in Maryland, which works in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education to teach Black history to more than 850,000 students and 50,000 teachers.The museum's main goal is to enhance Black history curriculum in public schools.
Young Students (K3-2nd Grade)
Reginald F. Lewis' most famous quote is "keep going, no matter what." What can you promise yourself that you will keep doing, no matter what? How will it impact your life?
Middle Students (Grades 3-8)
Reginald F. Lewis was really good at making a plan and going after what he wanted. What things do you want? What is your plan to make sure you get them?
High School Students (Grades 9-12)
Reginald F. Lewis' most persistent legacy is a museum committed to furthering the teaching of Black history in schools, and helping teachers better understand its importance alongside their students. Why do you think this is important? How well do you feel like this vision is being realized in your school?
Reginald F. Lewis' most persistent legacy is a museum committed to furthering the teaching of Black history in schools, and helping teachers better understand its importance alongside their students. What role are you playing in working to better understand Black history, and helping your students of all races understand the same?
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About the Series
A Black Child Can was founded to create a better world for students by empowering the adults around them with the knowledge they need to advocate on their behalf. The 2022 blog series builds on this foundation, encouraging educators to participate in the discussion and reflect on the ways they're showing up for their students.