Project Description

Clifton Taulbert

Entrepreneur, Pulitzer Nominee, International Lecturer, CEO

“The United States Supreme Court was not the picture that I saw each morning growing upon the Mississippi Delta. I saw cotton fields—a world that I thought would never change. But change it has, and the podium at the Library of Congress, where I was once invited as the special guest speaker of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, is just one of the many places where my journey has taken me. Once a migrant cotton picker, I am now an award-winning author, an entrepreneur, an educator, and a CEO of two different companies.My life has been quite the journey, and I have been quite blessed to live it. As an author, I have written fourteen books, including Who Owns the Ice House, Eight Habits of Heart, and Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, which was selected by the United States government as a gift for Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison in 1990. It also became a major motion picture. My most recent book, The Invitation, is an intensely vulnerable story, inspired by multiple trips to the “deep South,” where I was forced (as an adult) to face my own childhood as a black kid growing up on the Mississippi Delta in pre- Civil Rights America. It was chosen by the Architect of the United States Capitol as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Legislation. I was also a recipient of the 27th NAACP Image Award for Literature. As an entrepreneur, I have worked as a banker, educator, and business owner. A proud graduate of the Southwest Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, I now serve as a director of Central Bank of Oklahoma. I helped to bring the StairMaster® exercise system to the world in the 1980s, and I am currently in my seventh year as the President and CEO of Roots Java Coffee, a national coffee supply company wholly owned by African Americans.”