“Harold Hambrick, Jr., Community Treasure.” This is just one of the phrases used to describe the remarkable man widely known for the Los Angeles Black Business Expo (LABBX). It is the epitome of who Harold was to those who knew him and benefited from his enormous heart.
The official obituary, published on the front page of www.blackbusinessexpo.com, highlights the life of the visionary leader with a passion for all things African American, business and community.
Hambrick died on Oct. 8. Cause of death was not immediately known, but Hambrick’s life was one well lived, as expressed in his lengthy obituary. Here’s an excerpt:
As president of BBX, Hambrick took pride in showing off the history, services and accomplishments of the Black community, which he referred to as “the family.” He promoted the show as a way to introduce “relatives” to each other and to those outside the family. The first Black consumer show to run in the Tom Bradley Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the annual effort was massive. In its heyday in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the show included up to 400 vendors and nearly 300 workers on event day, providing an array of services.
“We allow folk to use their God-given talents to help us pull off one of the largest events held in celebration of the Black family,” he said.
Hambrick’s work was driven by the word “family” for the past 45 years. From biological family to the entire African American family, his conversations revolved around the power of “connectedness;” how we’ve worked together in the past and how we must continue to work together in order to leave businesses and cultural institutions from which future generations can benefit. As a demonstration of his support of the “community family” he could frequently be found at the events in the Black community, from book festivals to food festivals, to marketplace–type events and to music festivals—large and small.
Hambrick took pride in the fact that people who might not have seen each other in a long time, would reunite at the Expo. Attendees could be seen chatting in the aisles, visiting the vendors or participating in one of the Expo’s signature events, such as the Tom Bradley Business Institute, the Tastin’ Black Culture Food Court, West Coast “Coolture” Fashion Show; West Coast Black Music Festival, West Coast GospeLive, Kids World, Black College Row, The Health, Sports and Fitness Pavilion, Black Writers On Tour, the Hair Show, Youth Summit and Auto Land.
LABBX also offered businesses an opportunity to connect with owners of Black Newspapers throughout the state. At the 2006 Expo, Hambrick pulled together a meeting with then-Governor Schwarzenegger and publishers of African American newspapers throughout the state to discuss issues of concern to the Black press.
Born in New Orleans and raised in Slidell, Louisiana, Hambrick graduated from a segregated high school with 50 classmates. Three days after graduation, he left the state to join his parents and siblings in Los Angeles.
A graduate of Pepperdine University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Hambrick was also the owner of an income tax service in the Crenshaw district for more than 30 years.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife, Marguerett, three children, Jeffrey, Sharon and Tyra, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild, four siblings and a host of relatives and friends.
Isidra Person-Lynn, Communications Specialist, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, previously worked with Hambrick, and spoke with him just 2 days before he died:
“He spoke of many plans and dreams. In the over 20 years I worked for him, his plans and visions usually came true…He was much more than a boss, he was building a community and was thought to be honorary Mayors of both Leimert Park and Watts. And his L.A. Black Business Expo (which hired all five of my sons each year) launched many careers and businesses and brought the ‘family’ together.”
I last saw Harold at a business mixer. We shared a table at Denny’s on Crenshaw and he paid for my breakfast. I thanked him and he said “It’s the least I can do for all you’ve done for me.” I didn’t feel I’d done anything special (writing articles on the Expo over the years was part of my job). But I walked a little taller, realizing in this sometime callous world of business, any show of appreciation is a blessing.
Public visitation will be held on Thursday, October 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Harrison-Ross Mortuary, 4601 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles. “Memorial Remembrances of Harold Hambrick” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. also on Thursday, at Greater Liberty Baptist Church, 6557 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles. The celebration of life funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 17, at Victory Baptist Church, 4802 S. McKinley Avenue, Los Angeles. The Eulogist will be Rev. Dr. Clyde W. Oden, Jr., Pastor, Bryant Temple A.M.E. Church. The Officiant will be Rev. Theodore Peters, Harold’s cousin and Pastor of the Greater Liberty Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the River Road African American Museum, C/O Harold Hambrick Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 266, Donaldsonville, LA 70343.