When J. Russell Fugett founded his Maryland-based business consulting company, TLC JR, he had his uncle, the late business icon Reginald F. Lewis, in mind.

“As a small business owner, my work is inspired by what my Uncle Reg was able to achieve,” Fugett said in a prepared statement. “My company commemorates the legacy of my uncle, Reginald F. Lewis, founder of TLC (The Lewis Companies). Also, the ‘J’ in TLC JR honors three Josephs in my family, my great-grandfathers, Baltimore Attorney Joseph H. Payne and Educator Joseph R. Fugett, and my great-great-grandfather who was born a slave and went on to become successful businessman, Joseph M. Fugett.”

The tremendous legacy and inheritance left upon him by his elders have inspired the 31-year-old Fugett to carry on the inheritance, which he said is “far more valuable then any amount of money.”

“I intend to build on this through business and service,” he added.

And he is doing just that by organizing “Celebrate The Legacy: A Reception For New Friends of The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture,” which took place at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 7.

“Given the large and affluent African American and Filipino American Community in Greater Washington, DC, I wanted to create more awareness of and greater support for The Lewis Museum in Baltimore,” Fugett, a George Washington University School of Business graduate, said.

His cousin, 23-year old Justin Wiley, agreed.

“RFL’s legacy is a personification of our entire family’s love and care for each other,” said Wiley, now a first-year student at Harvard Law School. “I see his name everywhere throughout campus and see his portrait every time I go through his building.  His presence on this campus and in our family makes it easier to stay focused and realize that the tough work and hardships only make you stronger and will be worth it in the end.”

Fugett said the Dec. 7 reception was created to raise awareness of his uncle’s legacy and draw greater crowds to the museum bearing his name.

“I hope that people will leave this event with a stronger sense of who my Uncle was, and why it is important to support his legacy which is represented in large part by The Lewis: the largest African American History museum on the East Coast.” 

For more information about the Lewis Museum in Maryland, visit www.africanamericanculture.org