“Building Atlanta: How I Broke Through Segregation to Launch a Business Empire” is a memoir written by Herman J. Russell, a highly successful entrepreneur and civic leader in Atlanta. In this book, Russell tells the story of his life and business career, detailing the challenges he faced as a Black man in the South during the era of segregation.
The book is divided into three parts: The Early Years, The Business Years, and The Legacy. Let’s take a closer look at each of these parts:
Part 1: The Early Years The first part of the book focuses on Russell’s childhood and early years as an entrepreneur. He discusses his experiences growing up in the segregated South, including the discrimination he faced and the impact it had on his family. He also shares the story of how he started his first business, a plastering company, at the age of 16.
Part 2: The Business Years The second part of the book covers the period of time when Russell was building his business empire. He shares his insights on what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur, including the importance of hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks. He also discusses the challenges he faced as a Black business owner during the Civil Rights era, including the difficulty of securing financing and the resistance he encountered from white-owned businesses.
Part 3: The Legacy The final part of the book covers Russell’s later years, including his philanthropic work and his efforts to give back to the community. He discusses the importance of leaving a positive legacy and using one’s success to make a difference in the world.
Overall, “Building Atlanta” is a powerful and inspiring memoir that highlights the challenges faced by Black entrepreneurs during the era of segregation. Russell’s story is a testament to the fact that with hard work, determination, and a commitment to making a difference, anyone can achieve success and leave a positive legacy. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, leadership, or civil rights history.