“Keep going, no matter what,” was the mantra of the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Reginald F. Lewis. On Dec. 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., students of the Paul Laurence Dunbar and Reginald F. Lewis High Schools will share essays, music, and dance inspired by that theme, as part of a celebration of what would have been the Baltimore pioneer’s 70th birthday.

“My husband worked for the day when success can be enjoyed by people regardless of race or background,” Lewis’ widow, Loida Nicolas Lewis, told the AFRO. “Through tenacity, hard work and determination, he paved the way for others to do the same today. There are many people who have been inspired by his life to pursue their dreams and to ‘Keep going, no matter what.’”

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore is Lewis’ namesake and the East Coast’s largest African-American themed museum. The museum is hosting the student essay contest and performance competition.

Lewis attended Virginia State University and then Harvard Law School. He became a corporate lawyer at the top New York firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind & Garrison before establishing his own firm of Lewis & Clarkson.

A keen entrepreneur, Lewis garnered multiple successes as a businessman, most notably serving as chair and chief executive officer of TLC Beatrice International, the largest U.S. company owned by an African-American during his lifetime.

The event, which is funded through a grant from The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, coincides with the 25th anniversary of Lewis’ acquisition of the international division of Beatrice Foods, and the release of a special commemorative edition of Mr. Lewis’ biography, “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? How Reginald Lewis Created A Billion-Dollar Business Empire,” which has been reissued by Black Classic Press.

For more information, please call 443-263-1800 or visit, RFLewisMuseum.org.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO