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On this date in 1914, Oscar Howard was born. He was a Black businessman, activist, and minister.
Oscar C. Howard was one of 5 boys and two girls born to Randall and Maria Howard in Rochelle, GA. Young Howard grew up on a sharecropper's farm but ran away when he was 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 War II. Howard’s business career 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). He published his biography, Oscar C. Howard: Master of Challenges in 1974
Howard retired in the 1980s and began working more in the field of public service. He served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Minneapolis YWCA, and Metro State University. He was also the first Black 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. Howard was an ordained minister and a deacon at Zion Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He was on the board of trustees of the United Theological Seminary and founded Kwanzaa Community Presbyterian Church.
Married for over 26 years and the father of four children, Oscar Howard died on November 3, 2003.