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How Black is Herman Cain?

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(NNPA) A lot of people are quick to disclaim presidential candidate Herman Cain as a natural Black or African American simply because of his conservative, pro-business views. It really puzzles me how people think political persuasion identifies your race. The founder of the Republican Party, Frederick Douglas, was indeed Black. The “Father of Black Economic Empowerment”, Booker T. Washington, was also very much Black. Republican President Richard M. Nixon got 38% of the Black vote –yes, they were really Black. Let’s take a good look at Herman Cain and determine if there is anything to dispel his Black appearance.

Mr. Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee on December 13, 1945. These were serious Jim Crow times in a very segregated South. His mother was a cleaning woman and domestic worker – just like my mother. His father was born on a farm and worked as a barber, janitor and as a chauffeur. These were humble Black roots for Mr. Cain but they were also proud roots. His forefathers were slaves – just like mine.

His family (parents and brother) soon moved to Atlanta and settled initially in The Bluff area. His father’s proudest moment came when he and his wife saved enough money to buy their first home in Collier Heights . Herman grew up in the Black side of Atlanta never doubting his blackness and pure African American roots. He graduated from Archer public school in 1963 and proudly began his matriculation through Morehouse College . He graduated from this Black institution in 1968. He soon married his wife Gloria who recently graduated from another renown Black institution, Morris Brown College . Her career includes being a teacher and librarian.

His family (wife, son and daughter) have lived a productive life in Atlanta and never forgetting that they are indeed descendents of the African American experience in America , replete with slavery, struggle, discrimination and obstacles not sustained by any other people on earth. They know it but still they rise! Much of their strength is gathered in their membership in Antioch Baptist Church right there in inner city Atlanta . Mrs. Cain sings in the choir while Herman is one of the associate ministers. He has been a member of the church since he was ten years old. Antioch is part of the National Baptist Convention, USA . It doesn’t get any blacker than that.

His bachelor’s degree at Morehouse was in mathematics and he began his career as a ballistics analyst for the U.S. Department of Navy (civilian GS schedule). While working there he went through a graduate program in computer science at Purdue University and received his master’s degree. He then leveraged his master’s degree to begin his corporate career starting with The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta as a computer systems analyst. Ironically, one of the chauffeur jobs his father had was for the President of Coca Cola – only in America !

His other corporate experience would be of many accomplishments with Pillsbury where he had key management positions with their Burger King subsidiary and then with its Godfather’s Pizza subsidiary. It was here where he began his notoriety as his successes at both places became legendary. Never, not once, did this child of the Jim Crow South forget his roots. Eventually, he and a group of investors bought Godfather’s from Pillsbury and it became more successful. He moved to Omaha, NE where it was based. This shocked the business world. This newly established magnate was Black and would never let you mistake him for anything else. Herman Cain – strong, proud and black to the “bone”- his story continues.

Herman learned much about banking by becoming the Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and eventually became the Chairman. He has also done a stint as CEO of the mighty National Restaurant Association which gave him experience with lobbying in Washington, DC and an understanding of politics at the national level. After that he moved back to Atlanta . This career is phenomenal. The frosting on the cake is that it belongs to a proud Black man.

I first heard Herman Cain speak in 1989. A Black social service group I belonged to at the time, International Frontiers, was having its annual convention in Omaha, NE. They proudly introduced him as the Godfather of Black Business in Omaha . He wore that mantel proudly and spoke to us about Black economic empowerment via self-determination (just like Booker T. Washington). I became impressed then and that hasn’t changed since.

Herman Cain is now running for President of the United States . If elected, he will be the first president to come from African American (descendents of slaves) heritage. The first to grow up in and during the Jim Crow South. The first to be a graduate of an HBCU and a lifelong member of a black Baptist church. Is Herman Cain black? He is black to the “bone”. It doesn’t get blacker!

Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.

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0 # Guest 2012-01-14 14:38
The best thing for American and black people generally is to see and hear a black conservative. We conservatives call spades spades, that is we call it as we see it. If black teenagers are running around thuggin and being criminals, then we don't mix words, we call them "animals". But the PC police of the white liberal crowds love to scream "racists!' all for political advantage. Now about the John Birtch society and the Koch bothers both of those organizations are for free markets, low taxes, and decentralized government power. Of course REAL conservatives like those things. Only the liberal PC police repeals away screaming "racists!". But nothing could be further from the truth. The word racist and racism is getting so stretched it now effectively means "not liberal enough". Thank Gawd for Herman Cain to come along and call a spade a spade.
-1 # Guest 2011-11-15 10:57
Mr. Alford, it's one thing to have black roots and claim conservative principles. It's another to sell your soul to extreme right wing. Mr. Cain called himself the Koch Brothers' "brother from another mother." The Koch Brothers were the son of the founder of the John Birch Society. And there you have it, nuff said.

As for you - you're just another person who would sell his soul or his mother for a buck.
+2 # Guest 2011-11-13 06:20
thank you for that insight into the man herman cain is and where he came from. i have listened to his radio talk show for years and although i may not agree on everything mr. cain has to say i still have a great deal of respect for the man he is and how he stands for his principles. if elected i think hermain cain will make a fine president and make us all proud we voted for him in the election.
+1 # Guest 2011-11-10 08:55
Great article Mr. Alford. I appreciate the honest perspective. You and Herman are from the generation that made others feel proud and stand tall. Now we are over run with the neurotics.
-2 # Guest 2011-11-10 08:06
I voted for Cynthia McKinney in 08.. I would never vote for Cain.
-2 # Guest 2011-11-10 08:04
Herman Cain is a pig to beat up on a woman in his ads, that he, himself, claims is "troubled". If he thinks the woman he had drinks with is "troubled", then why beat her up in his ads?

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