Reflections on Chicago’s “Mr. Buy Black”

“Mahatma Gandhi once said that his life was his message. If that is true, then it shall be true for everyone of us who have devoted their life to a cause deeper than their own. As I caught up on some reading this evening, I was shaken by a text to my cell phone informing me that a friend, a brother, a mentor, promoter of peace, a spiritual counselor and humble lover for all mankind. Reverend Dr. Webb Evans made his transition this evening (February 23, 2015) at the blessed age of 101. Here was a guy who still drove, walked, ate, read, spoke, sang, danced, preached at over a century years old.

Dr. Evans was a firm believer in circulating the black dollar and was such a giving, honest, warm, loving, loyal and funny man. He never once bragged about his education nor did he ever brag about his accolades but forever challenged young people like me to think both creatively and critically. I remember when me and him went to see a play and he said well Brent, how was it son? I said I thought it was fantastic, he said no son not what you really thought but you haven’t given me facts.

I thought that was incredible. Here was a man who was in his late nineties at that time, still in his right mind and who showed me the importance of having a bias. I also remember me telling him Dr. Evans, I can’t stand my job, the Executive Director always has something bad to say about me. He said son God knows and loves you and if people are arrogant enough to highlight the bad in someone, then life itself is almost certainly theirs to fail always. I will always remember the moments we shared together, the wisdom he instilled in me, the encouragement he gave me always. I love him dearly and will miss him deeply.. Dr. Evans: We’ll Done Sir!!!! Forever an advocate for change and your brother, mentee and friend.”

Brent Hamlet with Webb Evans(The Future) Dr. Brent R. Hamlet, JD, Ph.D.

“Here’s to the life of a great man, Dr. Webb Evans aka Mr. Buy Black. May your legacy continue to live on through u who will carry on your dreams of a better tomorrow for Blacks.

Felicia Pritchett-Miller with Webb EvansFelicia Pritchett-Miller

“God bless the life and legacy of “Mr. Buy Black,” our elder Rev. Dr. Webb Evans, founder of The United American Progress Association (UAPA) who made his transition at 5:00 PM on Monday February 23rd at Mercy Hospital at 101 years of age. He was the absolute “Black economic conscious” for generations of us. Thank you my dear elder for everything that you meant to me from childhood to adult! My heart is heavy and I’m at a temporary loss for words. But I will indeed have a lot more to say and do in your continued legacy. But for now, our community should stop and recognize the loss of this tremendous elder! We talk about how not to forget our community landmarks and Webb Evans is one of those landmarks we must not forget. There was absolutely NOTHING more important to him than telling our major leaders and ordinary people the importance of using our economic power in ways to sustain and increase our community businesses, jobs and institutions. His life and legacy paved the way for so many who will not know whose shoulders they stand on if we don’t properly promote the life and legacy of Webb Evans

I know how important all the dynamics of election day is and the coverage, but at the same time we should have time to stop and take a moment to publicly recognize the death of the 101 year old Rev. Dr. Webb Evans on whose shoulders we all stand. And especially during the show of Cliff Kelley who doesn’t need any notes at all to be able to let the audience know the importance of the icon Webb Evans to our community! “Mr. Buy Black” Webb Evans died peacefully at 5:00 PM on Monday February 23rd at Mercy Hospital. Evans was founder of The United American Progress Association. Funeral services pending. But Webb Evans is worthy of public mention even as we focus on the election as well.”

Mark S. Allen

At legendary Webb Evans 100th birthday celebration breakfast at Dan's Soul Food and Bakery at 2523 West 79th Street
Mark Allen At legendary Webb Evans 100th birthday celebration breakfast at Dan’s Soul Food and Bakery at 2523 West 79th Street

“Sad news , Elder Webb Evans has passed on, from what I understand he died quietly in the hospital yesterday. I’ve known brotherWebb Evans for a while now, I first met him when I was working for Star Planet Television where he would make his television appearances on the Straight Talk Business Roundtable. Brother Webb Evans was a Garveyite, a walking library, a principled, energetic brother who was always excited to see me or anyone. He had a passion for Black liberation and was always on point about Black economics. “Circulate your dollars!!” Brother Evans used to enthusiastically instruct while wearing his RBG regalia. Whether it was at African Liberation Day, a lecture, at the tv studio, at marches or meetings, or just in the streets, Webb Evans and I always had great conversations where he would impart onto me some wisdom regarding solutions for our people. I regret not knowing him deeper, which reminds me that we all must embrace our warriors, scholars, activists and elder statespersons while they are here with us now. For Webb Evans to pass on in Black History Month right before an election is hauntingly ironic. He was Black history and he illustrated in a historic context that in order for Black people to have political power, we needed economic power.

We have lost a giant….but we gained a powerful Ancestor. Thank you Elder Brother Webb Evans for your 101 years of life.”

Human Rights Campaign with Webb Evans

“Dr. Webb Evans was a leader in Chicago, Detroit and Mississippi and other parts of the south for the cause of furthering economic growth among people of color, by encouraging many to spend their American dollars in support of black owed businesses within their communities. Thereby creating jobs, better schools and buying power, to give our people and stronger economic base and a voice that could be heard in this world. This was his purpose in life, always helping others. I am proud to be called his nephew. He will be a hard act to follow. In his words: “I’ll see ya”. My uncle lived, He was president of his own Corporation NAPA, went around the world, spent his life helping the advancement of black people and went into glory at 101 yrs old. What is there to be sad about. He said that he was tired, and closed his eyes in sleep. I pray to live such a full life.”

Elder Webb Evans (nephew)

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