Livingstone commencement features chairman emeritus of 100 Black Men of America
By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone CollegeNews Service
The chairman emeritus of 100 Black Men of America Inc. will deliver the keynote address at Livingstone College’s 130th commencement exercises on Saturday.
Commencement begins at 10 a.m. in Alumni Memorial Stadium. The inclement weather site is Varick Auditorium.
In 1994, Thomas W. Dortch Jr. of Atlanta was elected the third national president and chairman of 100 Black Men of America Inc. That same year, he spearheaded an aggressive plan titled “Four for the Future.” Dortch, who assumed the presidency after working more than 20 years in government, helped put 100 Black Men on the map by guiding its expansion from 43 chapters to 102 chapters throughout the U.S. and in Africa, England and the Caribbean Islands. He was the architect in shifting the organization’s focus to programs that support mentoring, education, health and wellness and economic development — areas critical to the future of African-Americans. Dortch served in that capacity for 10 years.
The concept for 100 Black Men of America Inc. began in 1963 when a group of concerned African-American men began meeting to explore ways to improve conditions in their community, according to the organization’s website. Their vision was to create an organization that would implement programs designed to improve the quality of life not only for African-Americans but for other minorities as well.
Among the original visionaries for 100 Black Men were Jackie Robinson, who integrated Major League Baseball when he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and David Dinkins, who in 1990 became the first African-American mayor of New York City.
Dortch’s contributions to 100 Black Men of America were significant. But he has done much more.
He established the National Black College Hall of Fame Foundation Inc. as a vehicle to continuously highlight the contributions of historically black colleges and universities and their graduates. He co-founded the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, or GAME, to serve as an advocacy organization for minority business development. And he also co-founded the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance, which works with the construction and transportation industries.
Currently, Dortch is the founding chairman of the National Cares Mentoring Movement, a national effort founded by Susan Taylor, editor emeriti of Essence Magazine, which aims to recruit 1 million African-American men and women to mentor 1 million African-American boys and girls.
Dortch earned his bachelor of arts degree in sociology and pre-professional social work from Fort Valley State University in 1972 and his master of arts degree in criminal justice administration from Clark-Atlanta University in 1986. He also attended Georgia State University as a Ford Fellow in the Urban Administration Program and has received honorary doctorate degrees from Fayetteville State University, Jarvis Christian College, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Fort Valley State University.
Dortch has made guest appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, The Montel Williams Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Talk Back Atlanta, Good Day Atlanta and Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor. From 2002 to 2004 he was named one of the 100 most influential black leaders in Ebony Magazine. Since 2002 he has been listed annually as one of the 100 most influential leaders of Atlanta in The Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Dortch is an entrepreneur and owns Atlanta Transportation Systems Inc., TWD Inc., FAD Consulting LLC, Cornerstone Parking, LANCOR Parking and Better Dreams Mattress Company LLC.
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