A completely updated and revised edition of a bestselling book that has helped tens of thousands of people learn how to network effectively, Success Runs in Our Race is more important than ever in this fluctuating economy. With scores of anecdotes taken from interviews with successful African Americans from Keith Clinkscales, founder and former CEO of Vanguarde Media, to Oprah Winfrey Fraser shows how to network for information, for influence, and for resources. Readers will learn, among other things, how to cultivate valuable listening skills, which conferences blacks are most likely to attend when looking to build their business network, and how to effectively circulate a résumé.
More than a guide for personal achievement, this is an information-packed bible of networking that also seeks to inspire a social movement and a rebirth of the "Underground Railroad," in which successful African Americans share the lessons of self-determination and empowerment with those still struggling to scale the ladder of success.
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About the Author
George C. Fraser is the chairman and CEO of FraserNet, Inc., and publisher of Success-Guide Worldwide: The Networking Guide to Black Resources. He is the founder of the annual Power-Networking Conference, one of black America's largest conferences. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Read an Excerpt
Success Runs in Our Race
The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the Black Community
Chapter OneTwenty Thousand Personal
Guides to Success
God bless the Underground
Great praise to it shall ever resound.
The train, it never left the track.
No one was lost. No one turned back.
Atop a bale of hay in the back of a badly dented pickup truck, Juliet E. K. Walker, Ph.D., rides through a rutted hog run in a remote corner of the Midwest. When the lurching truck reaches the edge of a cornfield, the University of Illinois history professor, who has done postdoctoral work at Harvard, jumps out and plunges in between the tight rows.
She walks for fifty yards through the clawing cornstalks until she comes to a wooded patch of ground overgrown with Queen Anne's lace and shaded by hundred-year-old evergreens. Filtered sunlight lands upon the bleached faces of twenty weathered tombstones in the clearing. One of the stones, a simple cracked tablet that has been knocked flat to the ground, marks the final resting place of Walker's personal and professional inspiration: her greatgreat-grandfather, Free Frank McWorter.
The offspring of a West African slave woman and her Irish- Scot slave master, McWorter was born into servitude in 1777 in South Carolina. As a young slave, he became manager of his master's farm in Kentucky, and earned extra wages by hiring his work out to others. He put those wages toward the establishment of his own business mining and selling saltpeter for the manufacture of gunpowder. With the profits from these ventures and others, Free Frank eventuallypurchased not only his own freedom, but that of his wife, Lucy, and fourteen other family members spanning four generations. He later moved his freed family to Illinois, where he used his entrepreneurial skills to buy land and become the first African American to legally establish his own town, New Philadelphia. From this town, populated by both blacks and whites, Free Frank operated a station in the Underground Railroad, covertly shuttling some of the hundred thousand runaway slaves who found freedom from slave masters and bounty hunters to the North and Canada.
In her doctoral dissertation, "Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier," Walker wrote of her little-known ancestor's dedication to improving not only his own life, but that of all black people.
Free Frank achieved success that was almost unheard-of for blacks of his time, and once he achieved that success, he dedicated himself to reaching back and elevating the lives of others of his race.
A NEW MILLENNIUM: A NEW UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
With this book, I am calling for the revival of that Afrocentric communal spirit among the millions of black Americans who are seeking personal and professional success, as well as for those who have already achieved success and now wish to build upon it and to spread it to others of our race.
Afrocentricity, which will be discussed at length later in this book, promotes the oneness of all things. Cooperation, collectivism, and sharing are the essential elements. Community is considered before the individual. Many of our black organizations have come to embrace Afrocentric principles. It is my belief, and that of many other blacks, that the image of the black community and in too many cases the actions of black people do not reflect the image and actions of our success-oriented ancestors. I'm speaking of great people such as the kings and queens of Africa, and more modern figures such as Sojourner Truth, Free Frank, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. These are the role models for a successful black community. These are the people who fought for us all.
Consider this then your personal guidebook for a modern version of the Underground Railroad; an Afrocentric Networking Movement that hopefully will deliver you to a destination called "Success" in both your personal and your professional life a success marked by compassion and striving for the enrichment of all our people.
In many ways, it is understandable why so many blacks came to view their struggle in a hostile, racist, and exclusionary environment as an individual struggle. But the time has come to join together so that those who have succeeded can use their collective power to raise up those who are still struggling. "Networking helps people share psychological as well as political and economic interests, and it provides the sense that someone cares and is willing to help, easing the feeling that a black person is alone and at the mercy of an institutionalized white system that might be overtly or covertly against him or her," said Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Harvard psychologist and expert on black families.
Like the Underground Railroad, networks with an Afrocentric philosophy are dedicated to improving the lives of blacks and elevating our race as a whole. Afrocentric networks come in many forms. If you belong to a black fraternity such as Alpha Phi Alpha or a black sorority such as Delta Sigma Theta or Alpha Kappa Alpha or any organization devoted to uplifting the lives of its members then you belong to an Afrocentric network. Many black on-line discussion groups, professional organizations, alumni groups, service clubs, and mentor or role-modeling programs are essentially Afrocentric networks.
Looking quickly in my own electronic organizer, which I affectionately call my "Soul-O-Dex" and which has grown from one thousand to twenty thousand names since 1992, I find the National Association of Black Social Workers, the National Society of Black Engineers, the American Association of Blacks in Energy, the National Association of Black Journalists, and hundreds more black networking groups. (See pages 340-48.)
There is no doubt that we know how to form organizations. But do we know how to use them to network for the good of our entire race of people? Or do we use them to further our personal ambitions, and maybe the agenda of our profession or special interest group, rather than as sources of collective strength and self-determination for the good of all?Success Runs in Our Race
The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the Black Community. Copyright (c) by George C. Fraser . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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