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Black History Month - William Lloyd 'Little Willie' Adams

02/17/2014 09:10

William Lloyd "Little Willie" Adams, prominent venture capitalist –  Baltimore Sun

William Lloyd 'Little Willie' Adams

William Lloyd “Little Willie” Adams was a black Baltimore businessman who gave opportunities to a number of black entrepreneurs by funding their dreams. When there was no black savings and loan, there was Adams. He later became a venture capitalist, building small empires - from liquor stores to mortuaries. The Zebulon, North Carolina native moved to Baltimore as a teenager and was cared for by close relatives. After completing advanced college courses around the clock, he took on multiple jobs during the Depression era in a rag factory, delivering newspapers, repairing bicycles and operating a shoe shine parlor. The job he was most known for around the city was running numbers for an illegal lottery. One day, his numbers boss rejected his tickets, accusing Adams of arriving too late. Forced to make up the money, he decided to become his own lottery boss at age 16. Now a gangster himself, Adams opened Little Willie’s Tavern in 1938 with his earnings. Soon, jealous gangs blew up his bar, and the law intervened by arresting him. Adams managed to beat the Supreme Court system on a $5 million numbers conspiracy charge. When the lottery became legal, Adams served as consultant. He then invested in the dream of Henry Parks and the Parks Sausage Company. By 1969, Parks Sausage became one of the first black-owned companies to go public on Wall Street. Next was the Super Pride Markets chain and Carr’s Beach amusement park. Adams made money on investments as 51 percent owner of the companies, no matter his contribution. Unfortunately, some were failures, like a soft drink by Joe Louis called Joe Louis Punch. Adams passed away on June 27 of this year. During his lifetime, he supported charities like the NAACP, the UNCF, Liberty Medical Center, the YMCA, the Jewish National Fund and St. Francis Academy.

By: Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning ShowYou can view the original article here