Editorial: A.G. Gaston

Editorial: A.G. Gaston

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Source: WBRC Source: WBRC
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, May 28:

Some people talk about what they'd like to see changed, others do something about it. They are the instrument of real change. Quoting 20th century spiritual and political leader, Mahatma Gandhi, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." There may be no better example of that kind of leading by doing than Mr. A.G. Gaston.

This Thursday, May 30 at 6:30pm, we will air a half-hour special about the life of Mr. Gaston. How could a poor, black youth from Demopolis, Alabama, a grandson of a slave, become a multi-millionaire? His approach to life and to business was centered on the uniquely American principle of entrepreneurship or in his words, "find a need and fill it."

While working in the mines he noticed that mine widows would come to the mines looking for donations to pay for the burial of their husbands. He turned those donations into a business by forming the Booker T. Washington Burial Society, which later became the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company. This was just one of the many businesses and, as a result, the many jobs he created based on the premise of "find a need and fill it."

The special that airs on FOX6 explores the life of this complex and yet very practical man and the change he saw and affected in his 103 years here among us. During times of civil strife, Mr. Gaston was conciliatory while quietly working behind the scenes to affect change. For him, it was all about balance.

Today the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club works to instill the values of being responsible, saving money and doing well in school with the goal of creating the kind of self-reliance that Mr. Gaston held so dear. Please join us at 6:30pm on Thursday.

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