District-area residents converged at the Philippine Embassy in the city to support The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. Invited by Russell Fugett, an entrepreneur and nephew of famed businessman Reginald F. Lewis, the guests learned about the first Black American to build a billion dollar company and his legacy.
“Tonight, I begin with my group of friends and family to build a bridge from the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., to the African American Museum of History and Culture in Baltimore, Maryland, on the corner of Pratt & President Streets,” Fugett said. “On that corner, there is an opportunity for us to better understand ourselves as Americans: to better understand the diverse and rich tapestry that make this land great. There is an opportunity tonight for all of us to learn more about our story. For us to continue to have that opportunity, I call for your support for this great institution.”
A number of the area’s movers and shakers were in attendance, including philanthropist Jimmy Lyn, producer Julian Wright, author Dolen Perkins Valdez, actress Doris McMillon, Freddie Brown, BET’s John Burns and Alma Rangel. Brigman Owens, former NFL star and Lewis’ friend, also attended the event, which took place on what would have been Lewis’ 68th birthday.
Guests enjoyed a live art demonstration by Charles Jean-Pierre, who painted a scenic shot of Paris from the site where Lewis managed TLC Beatrice in the 1980s. Also, Sydney Henriques Payne read a poem written by Lewis’ daughter, Leslie Lewis Sword.
Born Dec. 7, 1942, in Baltimore, Lewis was the first African-American student to be accepted at Harvard Law School without applying. His life is chronicled in the biography Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?