Magazine article Black Enterprise

Where Are Our Next Leaders?

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Where Are Our Next Leaders?

Article excerpt

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was 26 years old when he led the groundbreaking civil rights battle, the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Constance Baker Motley was 29 when she helped prepare briefs in the landmark school desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education. John H. Johnson was 24 when he started Johnson Publishing Company, parent of Ebony and Jet magazines and a force for social change. Maynard Jackson Jr. was 35 when he was elected to his first term as mayor of Atlanta. Oprah Winfrey was 32 when she launched Harpo Productions. (By the way, I was 34 when I began to lay the groundwork to launch BLACK ENTERPRISE.)

I've just identified just a few great African Americans who stepped up to the demands of leadership at critical times when they were between the ages of 21 and 3 S--the age group that BLACK ENTERPRISE spotlights as the BE Next generation. And, if we ever needed BE Next leaders of consequence to step up and make a difference, to courageously deliver the solutions and ideas necessary to deal with the challenges we face as a people, a nation, and a world, we sorely need them now.

Without great leadership our institutions become stale, out of touch, and ineffective. Even as we hold great leaders of the past in high esteem and show appreciation for current leaders, including President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, we will always need fresh thinkers and courageous new change agents, unafraid to stand in the line of fire for just causes and noble purposes. We need young men and women of vision who can show all of us the way to a better future. …

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