Mr. S.B. Fuller

By: Errol I. Mars
Company: Fuller Products Company Position: Founder/President Industry: Cosmetics Country: United States

Mr. S.B. Fuller grew up in poverty in Louisiana and as a young man he began working as a door-to-door salesman. With only a sixth grade education, he possessed great drive and a belief in his abilities which would helped him over came virtually every obstacle placed in his path by racial discrimination. He became a sales leader in the cosmetics field. He started his first cosmetics company, the Fuller Products Company, in 1935, with $25. He eventually owned or controlled eight other companies, including the Courier newspaper chain which had newspapers in Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York and Detroit, a department store, and a real estate trust.

In a 1963 speech delivered to the National Association of Manufacturers (of which he was the first black member), Fuller stated that blacks would achieve success and prosperity if they worked harder and attained good educations, and showed more initiative in business enterprise. Fuller claimed that, even more than racial barriers, it was a "lack of understanding of the capitalist system" that kept blacks from making economic progress. In an interview later that year, Fuller went on to claimed that when blacks finally concentrate on self development so that they may excel in whatever they do, only then will they see that they have no real problems. He claimed that blacks were left behind economically because "they have nothing to sell."

For these believes Mr. Full was ostracized by the leadership of the civil rights movement, who was focused on the oppression that black people were feeling at the hands of whites. In Napoleon Hill's book, "Success with a positive mental attitude" he quoted from Mr. Fuller what his mother told him as a young man, "the reason we are poor is not because of God. We are poor because father never developed a desire to become rich. No one in our family never developed a desire to be anything else."

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