Knowing Who I am: A Black Entrepreneur's Memoir of Struggle and Victory in the American South
By: Earl M. Middleton (author), Joy W. Barnes (with)Hardback
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Earl M. Middleton (b. 1919) has prospered in ways few African Americans have in the rural South. As owner of a successful business that cuts across racial lines and as a political leader in the cause of civil rights, Middleton has garnered hard-won recognition for his efforts from blacks and whites alike. His life story is at once illustrative of dynamic developments in southern race relations over the past eight decades and inspirational in telling how one individual capitalized on those changes to perpetuate a family legacy of entrepreneurship and service in his community.A World War II veteran, Middleton trained as a Tuskegee Airman in 1942 and then served as an infantry soldier in the Pacific theater. Returning to Orangeburg in 1946, he became a barber and then a restaurant owner before finding his true vocation in real-estate. What is now one of the region's most profitable real estate firms began as a sideline in the back of a barbershop, but Middleton quickly developed a reputation for superior knowledge and inclusive definitions of community that allowed him to succeed.As a civil rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s, Middleton witnessed firsthand the bravery of Orangeburg's citizens.
His wife, then the head of South Carolina State's library science department, was jailed for joining a student protest. From these experiences Middleton developed an unconquerable forbearance that complemented his unshakable belief in equality. In 1974, he was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly, where he served for a decade. There he was a founding member of the Legislative Black Caucus and an influential voice on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Today Middleton is still active in the daily operations of the real-estate business he founded and the agency continues to expand with racially diverse agents serving equally diverse populations.
Earl M. Middleton is the founding owner of Coldwell Banker Middleton and Associates. He has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and honored by numerous state and civic organizations. Joy W. Barnes is a graduate of Clemson University who has worked at the Middleton companies since 1972.
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- ID: 9781570037153
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