Oscar Howard, entrepreneur and activist

Oscar Howard
Wed, 1914-06-24

On this date in 1914, Oscar Howard was born. He was an African American businessman, activist, and minister.

Oscar C. Howard was one of 5 boys and 2 girls born to Randall and Maria Howard in Rochelle, GA. Young Howard grew up on a sharecroppers farm, but ran away when he was very young. Inspired by the then president of Fort Valley College in Georgia, Howard graduated from high school in 1942. After graduating from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he served in the U.S. Army during World Ware II. Howard’s career as a businessman began during the Korean War, when he began operating a food service business in the Twin Cities arsenal near Minneapolis, MN.

In 1956, he opened his own business, Howard’s Catering Co., which managed cafeterias in a number of industrial complexes in the state of Minnesota. In the mid-1960s, Howard took part in the “War On Poverty” program which provided home delivered meals to elderly residents in the inner-city of Minneapolis and St. Paul; some 62,000 were served during that summer. Soon after, Howard started a non-profit minority entrepreneurial program called the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA).

Howard retired in the 1980s and began working more in the field of public service. Howard served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Minneapolis YWCA, and Metro State College. He was also the first African-American member of the Minneapolis Athletic Club. During his life he also worked with agencies such as the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Salvation Army, Junior Achievement, and more. An ordained minister, Howard also served as a deacon at Zion Baptist Church. He was on the board of trustees of United Theological Seminary and was a founder of Kwanzaa Community Presbyterian Church.

Married for over 26 years and the father of four children Oscar Howard died on November 3, 2003. Reference: Virginia Howard (his wife).

Person / name: 

Howard, Oscar