Now that Dr. Ben Carson has hit the inevitable brick wall we all knew was waiting for him and there seems to be no other political rump-shakers out there but Mr. Trump, along comes a spider of recognition—there is a Willie L. Wilson, D.D., on the ballot for the presidential nomination in California, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas. Yes, he is African American.

Although all of those other primaries will be over and done long before California’s June primary, and Wilson will most likely be completely out of it by then, right now he still thinks he has a shot.

New to professional politics, Wilson is an old hand at overcoming stifling odds against moving upwards. (According to his) printed biography, he once chopped cotton at a southern work camp, escaped from it with bloodhounds on his trail, landed in Chicago, and worked his way up from there. After being a custodian in a local McDonald’s joint, Wilson eventually earned a shot at owning and running several McDonald’s franchisehes (by convincing Ray Kroc, McDonald’s founder, to take a chance on him), He became a millionaire along the way and is now a major philanthropist in Chicago.

He also later took his business acumen to the gospel music industry, and after initially losing money, made another mint. He is the founder of “Singsation,” a half-hour gospel music show that began airing in 1989 and is now seen in major Black television markets such as Chicago, New York, Detroit, Miami, San Francisco, Tampa, and Jackson, Miss. The show features a mix of current, classic and popular gospel talent, including several White artists, and is still hosted by Wilson and the very well-known gospel singer, Detroit-based Vicki Winans. The Wrigley gum company sponsors the show.

Wilson has become a relatively famous singer himself, producing several gospel albums, and he frequently goes on tour with the Norfleet Brothers.

He has also recently branched off into successfully producing and selling medical devices, under a new company he launched, Omar Medical Devices. As a businessman, he has an impressive resume.

In the last mayoral election in Chicago, Wilson’s home since 1965, he ran against incumbent Rahm Emanuel, and garnered more than 11 percent of the vote. As a political novice, he again made an impression. He often renders this quote about his life, “As a Black male, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be in jail or on drugs. The system didn’t expect anything to become of me. So, I did anyway.”

Wilson is a rare Black man, a self-made, hard-working millionaire who donates to Black causes, especially to Black churches, quotes Minister Louis Farrakhan, and who has decided to forge ahead through whatever obstacles get in his way.

No, he won’t win the Democratic nomination for president, and he won’t win the presidency in 2016. But, I wouldn’t bet against him just yet either.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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