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The evolution of the National Black Chamber of Commerce – Part 3

Beyond the Rhetoric

Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow ow contribuor | 7/11/2019, midnight

Kay Debow

Remember, I enrolled in Indiana University (a Big Ten school) a year before I was supposed to—a year younger than most. I could have used a mentor to guide me on my college major and career choice. But mentors weren’t really a thing back then. It was four years of studying and fun. We went to A&W Root Beer on Tuesdays for 25-cent coney dogs. We watched the Hoosiers win basketball championships.

I learned quickly that 8 a.m. classes were unnecessary and there were many alternatives to the math class requirements. I was the Resident Assistant that turned a blind eye to prohibited alcohol. We played spades and bid whist and put a penny on the record player needle to keep the album from skipping. We listened to Blue Lights in the Basement, Phoebe Snow, Dee Dee Bridgewater and one time, backstage after a concert, Bootsie Collins took out his false teeth and chased me and my girlfriends down a hall screaming. Big clean fun.

I graduated with an English degree, that was a solid degree, a degree that would get you a job. And then I was off to my first buyer’s job with Macy’s in New York. But dang, where was I supposed to live on that salary? And then I was off to my second job as a children’s buyer at Hudson’s Department Store in where else--Detroit!

Oh, I remember meeting Harry in Detroit’s airport. Ha!

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce ®. Kay DeBow is the co-Founder, executive vice president of the NBCC, Website: www.nationalbcc.org Emails: halford@nationalbcc.org kdebow@nationalbcc.org

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