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At 101, Dr. Webb ‘Mr. Buy Black’ Evans has passed

Funeral services set for Saturday

By Chinta Strausberg

At 101, Dr. Webb Evans, known as “Mr. Buy Black,” passed on Monday, February 23, 2015, at 5 p.m. at Mercy Hospital ending decades of teaching African Americans the importance of supporting black-owned businesses.

Visitation service for Dr. Evans will be held on Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Leak Funeral Home, 7838 South and Cottage Grove, with the pre-past services being held Saturday, March 7, 2015, at the Cathedral Baptist Church, 4821 So. Wabash Avenue, at 9:30 a.m.  The funeral begins at 11 a.m.

Born on Thursday, November 20, 1913 in Greensboro, Alabama to a family of nine, Dr. Evans’ parents, Mamie and Simpson Evans, were sharecroppers, according to his sister, Bernice Lynch.

But, when Evans’ family moved to Mississippi, Lynch said her brother’s first job was working at a funeral home driving an ambulance.

She said Evans moved to Chicago in 1938. He was married to Cora Evans who passed in the 1990’s. He never remarried.

But it was in Chicago more than 52-years ago that Dr. Evans began making   his signature mark. That is when he launched his “Buy Black” movement.

Evans, who was also a poet, author and speechwriter, opened a grocery store, Evans Food Mart, in 1949 located at 9 W. 31st St. In 1953.   He re-located to 515 E. 46th St.  in the Bronzeville community. It was the perfect setting to promote his “Buy Black” campaign. Evans operated his store for 25-years, but he decided to take his “Buy Black” movement citywide.

As the founder and president of the United American Progress Association, Dr. Evans handed over the gavel to Minister Rahim Chesed Aton, the board chairman who was like a son to Webb, on November 10, 2012. You could still see Evans driving his “Buy Black” decorated car until he was 100-years old,

“I have been groomed to carry on the vision of Dr. Evans,” said Aton who is also a professional gospel musician.  “I am humbled” at being chosen to have the mantle passed on to him. Aton vowed to carry on Evans’ legacy and mission of teaching African Americans to “Do For Self,” and to always “Buy Black” first.

Almost until the day he died, Dr. Webb would be seen at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Saturday forums and other meetings throughout the community. He would always be passing out his “Buy Black” literature.

Dr. Webb’s commitment to civil rights began a long time ago when he began marching with A. Phillip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington D.C. back in 1963. He marched with the late activist Lu Palmer, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., activist Eddie Read and others.

Evans is the author of “How Blacks Can Get Off the Economic Bottom,” and “The Other Way.”  He was working on a third book at the time of his death, according to Aton.

Gov. Frank G. Clement made Dr. Evans Honorary Citizen of the Great Volunteer State of Tennessee, and he was listed in ‘Who’s Who in Black America.’ He traveled to Israel where he studied the lifestyle of blacks. Dr. Evans has met with officials from the United Nations and was chosen to be the Ambassador for Peace by the Interreligious and International for World Peace Organization.

Dr. Evans was honored with a Life Time Achievement Award from WVON radio, and he always believed that ‘the race who creates jobs will always have more jobs than those who only look for jobs.”

‘Mr. Buy Black’ will always be remembered for his teaching, ‘As often as you can, put your black dollar in another black hand.’

Dr. Evans leaves to mourn a sister, Bernice Lynch, a brother, Willie Evans, and a host of friends and family.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

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