Often times we talk about legacy and generational wealth in the Black Family and the lack of it.
However, lately we’ve been seeing more examples of financially astute African Americans that I consider newsworthy.
For instance, the recent billionaire, Robert F. Smith, bestowed a financial blessing upon the 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College an all male Historical Black College or University.
Here locally we have a prime example of generational wealth in the family of C. Blythe Andrews Jr. For more than 75 years, the Florida Sentinel has been a main stay in the African American community in Tampa FL. Founded back in 1959 by C. Blythe Andrews Sr., the paper has served as a pillar in the Black community and C. Blythe Andrews Jr strategically continued the legacy.. However, unbeknownst to many, the Andrews not only own the Sentinel Bulletin but also own a great deal of real estate, prime real estate at that. C. Blythe Andrews Jr. left more than 600 apartment units and commercial property on what has become the most sought after land near downtown Tampa.
Before his death in 2010, C. Blythe Andrews ensured that his wealth would be transferred to his family and placed the operation of the newspaper and the real estate in the capable hands of his daughter, Kay Andrews Wells and son C. Blythe III.
C. Blythe Andrews Jr. tenacity, ingenuity and activism has established the Andrews as the respected hard working wealthy family in the Tampa Bay area. We as African Americans should make a conscious effort to help maintain and protect the Andrews legacy from unscrupulous so called businessmen that come after the family with schemes and manipulations to try to steal or destroy their legacy. So when you see an Andrews, don’t hate... Congratulate! They have daily battles to fight that we have no clue about.
In 1994 under the leadership of Mayor Sandy Freedman, the city honored the Andrews family by renaming the public library in the African American community at 2607 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Befittingly so, Mr. Andrews was a strong advocate for bringing the library to the College Hill area.
A special feature of the new library is a room that will house the archives of the Florida Sentinel Bulletin, The library has been a meeting place for non-profits, community organizations, activists and individual learning for years. To increase access and improve technology, the old library was torn down and the new 25,000 square foot facility was built in its place. The old facility was one story while the new facility is two stories, twice the square footage with more than 12,000 books adorning the shelves. Kay Andrews reflected on her dad’s tenacity when it came to establishing the library. The $7.75 million project was funded by revenues from the Special Library District ad valorem tax, as well as a $500,000 grant from the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services.
C. Blythe Andrews Jr. served on boards of the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority, Tampa Sports Authority, and Florida Arts Council, among other civic endeavors. He and his family were instrumental in acquiring the land on which the library sits, and over the years donated book collections and volunteered many hours to help the library grow and thrive.
This month, we salute the Andrews, the pride of being Black in Tampa Bay.