Before the early 20th century, black history was largely ignored by both historians and the general public. As a result, many great lessons imparted by African-American leaders were also ignored and overlooked.
In particular, African-American leaders of the past and present offer a great deal of insight on money and finance that can inspire and enlighten all Americans. Read on to learn the financial lessons these great Americans can teach you.
“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest people in America, which means she is well aware of how money, fame, and success can draw people to you. But the trappings of success, like a limousine, are just that — trappings. There is no guarantee that the success, money, and acclaim you have now will last, which means you can’t trust the people who are only there because of the appearance of your success.
Just as Oprah has her Gayle, who will always happily hop on a bus with her when things go wrong, you should seek people who love and respect you for who you are, and not what you have.
“If you understand how money can work for and against you, you can make better decisions. Financial literacy is not about wealth but about understanding money regardless of the amount. It’s about how you treat it and how you maximize opportunities.”
Mellody Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments, may be best known by lay audiences for the two TED talks she gave in 2014 and 2015. She is an advocate for both greater diversity in corporate culture and for increased financial literacy. And she truly believes that we can all learn to handle our money better, no matter how much or how little we have. It’s a lesson all Americans need to absorb if we want to improve our financial lives.
According to Jackie Cummings Koski, financial educator and author of the book Money Letters 2 My Daughter, Hobson’s words and example have made a major difference in her life: “Learning about how Mellody Hobson rose to tremendous success in the business and financial world helped to change my mindset about money and overcoming the odds.”
That mindset change is exactly what Hobson wants for all Americans, so that we can all maximize the opportunities in our lives.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which makes philanthropy necessary.”
This quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can sound somewhat radical to modern ears, since we are not used to thinking beyond the importance of giving back to those in need. But as Dr. King points out, if economic injustice were eradicated, then charity and philanthropy would not be so necessary. It’s easy for philanthropists to simply pat themselves on the back for their philanthropy, rather than wrestle with the systemic reasons why their generosity is necessary.
To take Dr. King’s message to…