African-American Entrepreneurs in Arkansas

Throughout its successful lending history, Arkansas Capital saw an emerging need to promote and foster the development of innovation and entrepreneurship. In honor of Black History Month, we want to pay tribute to a few of the great African-American entrepreneurs from our state.

Garbo Hearne, Hearne Fine Art

Founded in 1988, Hearne has grown and evolved her art gallery into a dynamic conduit for the preservation and promotion of African-American fine art. “Most people do not think of art and the creative economy in the same sentence, but everything that happens has a start with a creative spirit.”—Garbo Hearne

African-American Entrepreneurs in Arkansas

John H. Johnson (1918-2005), founder of Ebony and Jet magazines

Johnson was the first African-American to be named to the Forbes list of the 400 Richest Americans. On September 9, 1996, he was awarded the “Medal of Freedom” by then President Bill Clinton.

Sherman E. Tate, President and CEO of Tate & Associates Management

Tate has many firsts. He was the first personnel director of the state Legislative Council and its first employee of color. He was the first person of color to head the state Office of Personnel Management. He was the first person to develop and implement a comprehensive marketing plan for Arkansas/Louisiana Gas Company.

The Abraham Carpenter Family, Carpenter’s Produce in Grady, Arkansas

The Carpenter family has provided Arkansas-grown produce and unrivaled customer service to Arkansans for more than 40 years. Carpenter’s Produce employs around 35 family members and an additional 40 to 50 seasonal workers during the peak planting and harvesting times of the year. As such, they are one of the largest employers in Lincoln County.

Al Bell, Former Owner of Stax Records, President and CEO of Al Bell Presents

In the 1970’s, two of the largest African-American owned businesses in America were Motown Records and Stax Records. Bell, who owned Stax, introduced marketing and promotional innovations that changed the music industry.

This month we celebrate these African-American entrepreneurs past and present, the leaders that came before them and the leaders still to come.

To learn more about Arkansas Capital’s resources for entrepreneurs, visit our website.

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