Entrepreneurship in Atlanta, Georgia is on the rise. It is also a new way to achieve a level of modern day progress, in a city use to making history. Or as we call it here at Operation HOPE, ‘social justice through an economic lens.’ from civil rights, to silver rights too.

Atlanta played a key role in stabilizing the America we know today, as it was the location of the key final battle of the American Civil War. This freedom from slavery for black Americans, was the foundation for the 1st Reconstruction.

Atlanta then played host to the leaders and leadership of the American Civil Rights movement, including the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Congressman John Lewis, and Ambassador Andrew Young, as they fault for our ability to move from the fields to the factories, and access — for all. this was the 2nd Reconstruction.

Today, Atlanta stands on the leading edge of yet another movement for the future of people, what we call a 3rd Reconstruction. ‘Social justice through an economic lens.’ And a movement as much in the business suites, as marching in the streets, will be led by Atlanta’s emerging class of Black business people and Black entrepreneurs. Building on a strong legacy of Black Entrepreneurship that came before — leaders like Herman Russell, Madam CJ Walker and so many others.

Today, RICE (the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) and Operation HOPE are here to help, amongst others.

Operation HOPE, the organization I founded in 1992, immediately following the Rodney King Riots in a Los Angeles, operates more than 180 HOPE Inside offices across 49 states throughout the country, focused on financial literacy and financial coaching for the underserved.

Most recently HOPE launched 1MBB (the 1 Million New Black Business Initiative), backed by a $130 million, 10 year commitment from Shopify.

RICE, founded in the spirit of leading black entrepreneur and pioneer Herman Russell, and developed under the vision of his children, most notably Jerome Russell, has already established itself as the leading Black business incubator in the ATL. And it is helping, to make Atlanta ‘better.’

Jerome Russell, Herman Russell, Donata Russell Major and Michael Russell.

RICE is led by Jay Bailey, who once also led the Atlanta offices for Operation HOPE. But for this important new initiative, he has driven key growth all on his own steam.

Mori Russell, represents some of the next generation of business and civic minded leaders within the Russell Family. Seen here at the Russell Center.

Thanks to sacrifices made by 20th century leaders and their outsized leadership during their times, Atlanta is today the unrivaled moral capital of America, and admired for such around the world.

Herman Russell, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ralph Abernathy and Andrew J. Young, meeting at Mr. Russell’s home during the civil rights movement.

Today, in 2022, Atlanta is also the 10th largest economy in the United States, and the only international city in the South, and growing. — thanks to outsized 20th and 21st century transitional leaders, such as Ambassador Andrew J. Young, the Operation HOPE Global Spokesman and Honorary Chairman, who helped to frame the city as a place for international investment, business, and life.

And now Atlanta has a chance to create a little more unique history — a gateway for a new form of freedom called self-determination, and not just for Black America, but for all of America.

Freedom through self determination. Freedom, through economics, ownership, small business and entrepreneurship.

The new color in Atlanta, is not white, black, white, brown or yellow — it’s green. As in the color of U.S. currency. Once again, Atlanta is on the move.

Let’s go…

John Hope Bryant. Entrepreneur.

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