Ariel Investments Founder and Co-CEO, John W. Rogers, comes from a lineage of resilient lawyers who have relentlessly sought justice for the injustices his family faced during the Tulsa Race Riots. Hailing from Chicago, he stands proud as the pioneer of the first Black-owned mutual fund firm and remains dedicated to advocating for diversity on corporate boards and improved financial opportunities for Black firms.
In an enlightening conversation with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Rogers shares the heart-wrenching story of his great-great-grandfather, JB Stradford, who suffered the loss of his prosperous empire at the hands of a disapproving white community during the tragic events in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood. Stradford, a visionary leader, had built an impressive real estate income, with nearly $2 million in value from two dozen rental properties. His legacy serves as a constant reminder to Rogers that there is still much work to be done in the present day, more pressing than ever before.
“It’s a modern-day Jim Crow that Black and Brown people are mostly encouraged to be engaged in the least wealth-building parts of our economy,” Rogers told BE.
“The doors have been shut often in the most lucrative parts of our economy. The areas where the best opportunities are that’s where we’re the least likely to be found in leadership roles. That’s where I see the discrimination. Even in Tulsa today, the major anchorage institutions still don’t work with Black entrepreneurs and the part of the economy where the wealth is created,” Rogers said.Source: Black Enterprise – www.blackenterprise.com
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