Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Albon Holsey, African American Business Leader

Albon Holsey (May 31, 1883, Athens, Georgia - January 16, 1950, Tuskegee, Alabama) was an African American business leader.

According to Albon L. Holsey, slavery deprived blacks of the opportunity to learn the art of business. Through his efforts with the National Negro Business League, the Colored Merchant’s Association, and writings about black business topics, Holsey attempted to assist African Americans in competing and succeeding in the world of commerce.

Holsey was the son of Albon Chase Holsey and Sallie Thomas Holsey. As a boy, he attended Knox Institute in Athens, Georgia, and later he matriculated at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Holsey joined the staff of Tuskegee Institute in 1914, during the time that the famous educator, Booker T Washington, headed the institution. He was hired as an assistant to Washington’s secretary, Emmett J. Scott. During his tenure, Holsey worked as secretary to president Robert R. Morton and assistant to president Frederick D. Patterson, served as associate editor of the Tuskegee Student and possibly acted as director of public relations. Between 1938 and 1944, Holsey was also on loan to the U. S. Department of Agriculture. While working for the government, he was involved in projects related to black farmers. Holsey worked at Tuskegee for thirty-six years.

A brief chronology of the Holsey's life reads as follows:

Born in Athens, Georgia on May 31

Marries Basiline Boyd on October 3

Joins staff of Tuskegee Institute

Expands Colored Merchants’ Association nationally

Receives Harmon Foundation Award for achievements in business

Dies in Tuskegee, Alabama on January 16

Holsey wrote numerous articles, most related to business topics, including the article “Learning How to be Black,” in which Holsey described the experiences of African American children that triggered their consciousness of color and the “deadly toll” on the manhood of the race. In “Public Relations Intuitions of Booker T. Washington,” Holsey described Washington’s common sense approach to keeping good relationships with various constituencies involved with Tuskegee Institute. The Public Opinion Quarterly published Holsey’s lengthy review of a book on the subject of black newspapers in 1948. Holsey, in a chapter in The Progress of a Race , recapitulated the first twenty-five years of the NNBL. He was business manager ofCrisis , the official publication of the NAACP, during the time that W. E. B. Du Bois edited the periodical.

Holsey was a member of the Masons and Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. The 1928–29 edition of Who’s Who in Colored America lists his political and religious affiliations as Republican and as African Methodist Episcopal.

After a brief illness, Holsey died on January 16, 1950, in John Andrews Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, at 67 years of age. Funeral services were held on January 26 in the Tuskegee Institute chapel. His wife, Basiline Boyd Holsey, whom he married on October 3, 1906, survived him. A sister, Annie Holsey of Baltimore, and brothers, Augustus J. Holsey and Crosby Holsey of Baltimore and Cleveland, respectively, also survived him. He was buried in Tuskegee.

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