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Anthony Overton
Anthony Overton Anthony Overton


Anthony Overton defied the odds for African Americans and became a wealthy and successful entrepreneur during the first quarter of the twentieth century His enterprise business empire, primarily established in Chicago, included the Overton Hygienic Manufacturing Company, the Douglass National Bank, the Chicago Bee, the Great Northern Realty Company, and the Victory Life Insurance Company Born a slave on March 21, 1865, in Monroe, Louisiana, Overton was the son of Anthony and Martha Deberry Overton After slavery ended, he attended local public schools and pursued his college education at Wash-burn College in Topeka, Kansas, and later the University of Kansas He graduated from the university in 1888 with the LLB degree In that year, Overton married Clara M Gregg and had four children He passed the Kansas state bar and practiced law in Topeka for a while.

He also served as a judge in the municipal court in Shawnee County, Kansas He was elected treasurer of Kingfisher County in 1892 Overton’s first business came when he purchased a general store in Oklahoma City In 1898, he founded the Overton Hygienic Manufacturing Company in Kansas City and at first developed and sold only one product Hygienic Pet Baking Powder He expanded his line to include flavor extracts and toiletries and soon realized the potential for success in cosmetics for African American women He peddle his products to expand his market, met some success, but filed for bankruptcy after the 1902 flood in Kansas City destroyed the manufacturing district His financial condition remained an in-house secret Recovery was practically immediate, and Overton concentrated on manufacturing high-quality products and those that would enhance the black race; consequently, skin bleaches, then popular in some areas, degraded the race and remained outside the scope of his business Then he added a sales force to handle his products He expanded his business to include markets in Egypt, Liberia, Japan, and other countries and also responded to the African American market in the South and Midwest.

From there he reached the Atlantic Coast Chicago had become a business center for African Americans; it followed that Overton would seek entry into that market as well, a purpose that would be served better if he moved his company there In 1911, Overton relocated to Chicago and used the network of railroads to distribute his products elsewhere He had patented his products under the High Brown trade name and expanded his line to include shoe polish and hair preparations The move proved financially rewarding, and the next year, 1912, Overton’s line included 52 items; an all-black sales force of 5 and 400 house-to-house agents marketed his products So successful was his staff that by 1915, 32 full-time employees were on force, and 62 products were available He added to the economic uplift of his race by employing more blacks; for example, in 1927 there may have been over 150 black women employees in his home and branch offices, promoting the 250 products that he had by that time As hair-care magnates Annie Turbo Malone flourished in St Louis and Chicago and Madam C J.

Walker in Indianapolis, Overton’s business held its own Overton diversified his business interests In 1916 he founded the variety magazine Half-Century; it addressed the interests of chiefly black conservative, educated, middle-class southern black women Emphasis was on racial pride, independence, and self-help and included the views of this highly opinionated entrepreneur Overton promoted the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) but criticized WEB Du Bois and others whom he called elitist He also used the monthly and sometimes bimonthly magazine to advertise his High Brown line of cosmetics He expanded his empire further.

In Half-Century Overton had already cited the need for a bank, and in 1922 he opened the Douglass National Bank, serving as its first president As the Great Depression took its toll on financial institutions, the bank officially closed in 1932 He entered a new business in 1923 when he founded the Victory Life Insurance Company to provide more jobs for blacks and at the same time to increase his own financial strength The firm was well received and by 1925 had opened offices in Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, the District of Columbia, and elsewhere Two years later it expanded into New York City, then Indiana and Virginia A series of unethical practices on Overton’s part led to the company’s suspension in New York and New Jersey; he was ousted, and the company was reorganized on April 5, 1933, as the Victory Mutual Life Insurance Company At some point in the mid-1920s he founded the Great Northern Real Estate Company A shrewd and enterprising businessman, in 1922-1923 Overton built the Overton Hygienic/Douglass National Bank Building and moved his businesses into that facility He leased space to Chicago’s black professionals, housing, for example, the Theatre Owners Booking Association an organization that managed black entertainment His failed bank and insurance company caused him to look cautiously at his continuing enterprises; he moved Overton Hygienic from the Douglass bank building to the Chicago Bee building that had been erected in 1929.

It housed the newspaper as well as apartments Overton had, in fact, founded the Chicago Bee, and he continued to operate the newspaper and the manufacturing company there until the early 1940s, when the newspaper failed Although Overton had served well Chicago’s African American community and profited from them, he did so under continuous rivalry with banker and real estate developer Jesse Binga, who, in 1921, had opened the first black bank to operate under Illinois’ charter As the end of his life approached, Overton lived relatively well and in financial comfort from the assets that he was able to retain He died on July 3, 1946 Active in the Chicago community, Overton was a board member of the Chicago Urban League He was a member of the YMCA, the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Elks, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi (the Boule), and the Appomattox Club In 1927, he became the first person in the field of business to receive the Spingarn Medal; he was similarly recognized the next year when he received the Harmon Foundation Award While Overton prospered from his highly diverse financial enterprise, he also provided numerous jobs for the black community in Chicago and elsewhere For a third of the twentieth century, he was one of Chicago’s leading black businessmen and contributed significantly to the development of the South Side.


Anthony Overton,International businessman-1898
Image courtesy of Magic Johnson, Information courtesy of Elizabeth Wright, RIP-2011 Http://
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Its About Us - Anthony Overton
Anthony Overton took $2000 and started his own cosmetic and skin care industry. Later he educated the African American community about politics, business, ...
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Anthony Overton | SLO NGSS Ed Talk
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427 SBF 500HP/500TQ Base Stroker all forged internals, Dart Aluminum heads, Edelbrock Air gap intake manifold. Comp hydraulic roller camshaft, Scorpion ...
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FITvlog 002!!! Working the heavy bag. Had a great Friday, hope you did too; you deserve it! Fun day and, most importantly, GREAT workout! Get up and Get out ...
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Progress Illinois: Family Of CPS Students Refuses To Accept School Closure
Irene Robinson said she is taking her grandchildren to Anthony Overton Elementary School in the fall, despite the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district's ...
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Number 17 is back for Culver City Lacrosse Anthony Overton
using the stick against Sanat Monica, a win for Culver 13 to 7.
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UC Santa Cruz FITvlog!!
This is the first of the FITvlog series!!! A vlog and a workout all in one! Crushed this one, on a beautiful day. Get up and get out there! -Anthony Overton.
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UC Santa Cruz FITvlog 003: Shooting
Having a shoot around on a beautiful day at UC Santa Cruz. Working on shot placement. Top right is my favorite shot. Fantastic Friday! Get up and Get out there!
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Biological Case Study Information
Biological Case Study Information.
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3 weeks will post 3 months in a week
Under the sea.
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Anthony overton
A little push in the back by number 24, how ever no flag.
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Basketball- HORSE
Quick game of Horse after we weren't allowed to go on the lacrosse field!!
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Anthony Overton Lacrosse
No Description Available
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Tar-Pam Guide Service
Striped Bass "Striper" Fishing on the Tar River, NC (January 18, 2013) 27 In-Richard Andrews.
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Cowell College Night at UC Santa Cruz! The food is great and it's a blast! Sunday will be back to another workout video. Get up and get out there! -Anthony ...
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Corner back blitz by Anthony Overton
Anthony forces Morningside QB to throw a pic that is returned for a touchdown.
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UC Santa Cruz Campus Running
Sunday Morning Run at UC Santa Cruz. Campus is a wonderful place to run. This run begins at Cowell College, down to OPERS, by the Quarry, up through ...
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Anthony Overton number 17
Lock down defense and a great pass that leads to a score.
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Frisbee Toss -Venice Beach
Skated 5.9 miles from Culver City to Venice Beach. The day started out super sunny and then it got all gloomy! We threw the frisbee and skated around. Fun day!
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