35 Wealth Secrets from Six Black Millionaires and Billionaires

A woman born in 1867 in the Louisiana Delta would go from working the cotton fields and a simple wash woman to become America’s first American self-made female millionaire.

Another woman also born in 1867 in Richmond Virginia, would go from helping her mother, a former slave, make money doing laundry, to eventually helping to establish the first bank owned and operated by blacks and become its president.

A young man born in Arkansas in 1919 would repeat the 8th grade because there was no high school for blacks in his town and he wanted to continue to learn. His mother would work for 2 years as a cook on a levy to earn enough money to buy tickets to Chicago. His mother felt that the Jim Crow South was not a place to raise a black child from whom she expected greatness.  In Chicago,  he would get an education and build a publishing Empire.

Two special children would be born in Mississippi, a male child in 1946, and a young female, nine years later in 1954.  Both would end up in Illinois where they would become the first black male and female billionaires in America.

A young boy in Chicago starts selling lotion and painted rocks door to door and becomes the youngest self-made millionaire at age 14.

Who are these people?  Black people are making history every single month of the year. Don’t wait until Black History month to remember and remind others of the tremendous yet largely forgotten contributions of African Americans.  It is a chance to counter the negative media portrayals of people of color that have become firmly entrenched in the minds of both black and white people. It is a formal and nationally accepted time of year to challenge the inferiority myth of black Americans by positively focusing the spotlight on their “superior qualifications” without too much opposition from those unwilling to share the spotlight.


  • The Louisiana wash woman was Madam C. J. Walker.  She created a line of black haircare products and became the first to earn a million.  Her wealth secrets:
  1. Work hard.
  2. Promote yourself.
  3. Don’t sacrifice quality, offer only the best.
  4. Find a need and fill it.
  5. Have honest business dealings.
  6. Serve others.
  7. Have faith in yourself and God.
  • The Bank President was Maggie Lena Walker. Her wealth secrets:
  1. Dream bigger.
  2. Have hope, have faith and carry on.
  3. Blacks should pool their money and help each other.
  4. Save your money.
  5. Serve those in need.
  1. Dream big, “Long shots do come in”.
  2. Work hard.
  3. Show dedication to your vision.
  4. Persevere- don’t give up.
  5. Refuse to take no for an answer.
  • The first of the two Mississippi children that became billionaires is Bob Johnson (he sold BET for 3 billion dollars). Bob Johnson’s wealth secrets:
  1. Fear failure and don’t fail.
  2. Don’t get angry- wait for an opportunity to change things.
  3. Be fearless in pursuing your vision.
  4. Strategize.
  5. Dream big.
  • The other Mississippi child that became a billionaire was Oprah Winfrey.  Oprah is reported to be worth 2.7 billion dollars.  Oprah Winfrey’s wealth secrets:
  1. Focus on Significance and not success.
  2. Have the courage to ask for what you want.
  3. Listen to your inner voice.
  4. Support each others dreams.
  5. Take responsibility for your life.
  6. Stay spiritually centered.
  7. Love what you do.
  8. Dream BIG; set big goals then surpass them
  • The young boy who sold rocks and went on to become the youngest black billionaire is Farrah Gray. Farra, author of a best selling book, Reallionnaire:  ‘Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out‘ shares the following wealth secrets in some of his live presentations.
  1. Believe in your dreams
  2. Wake up every morning and ask yourself, “Why not me?”
  3. Clarity of Vision: “The two most important times in life are when you were born and when you realize why you were born?”
  4. Do something you can lose yourself in.
  5. Find your area of excellence.  Ask yourself three questions:
    • What comes easy to me, but harder to others?
    • What work could I do for years and years and would still do it, even if I didn’t get paid ?
    • How can I be of service?

13 thoughts on “35 Wealth Secrets from Six Black Millionaires and Billionaires

  1. Barbara,
    Outstanding. Thank you. These are inspiring examples with instructional value. Everyone looking to improve their personal economy can use this. I hope I can return the favor. You can be sure that I will be referring others to your blog. Clif


  2. I had to reread this insightful, inspirational blog. Thanks Barbara. I will share your blog with “Clifton McKnight MotiVision” fans on Facebook. You are a dynamic Human Being and a wonderful friend. Keep making a difference. Clif McKnight




  4. This is very inspirational, Barbara! So, it is not too late to do what you love to do and to be well compensated for it!


  5. This is a timely and total blessing for me. I know exactly what I want to do, and am plowing my path from faith to faith. I have found that God’s plans for my life, are so much bigger than my dreams! Thank you for this awesome post. I am so encouraged, it just makes me dream the next dream.


  6. Great weblog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting having a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any suggestions? Appreciate it!


    • Sorry, I’m just getting back to you. I’ve been focusing on facebook. I started out with a paid website and still have it, but I’ve gotten just as much out of WordPress. They have about everything you need. You might also want to consider wix.com. It’s pretty cool and not that expensive.



  7. Pingback: Why African Americans Need to Learn Strategies for Building Wealth? | Barbara Talley's Blog

  8. Pingback: 7 Tips to Build Wealth from Dennis Kimbro | Barbara Talley's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s