J. Bruce Llewellyn Harlem Born

July 8, 2012

J. Bruce Llewellyn (July 16, 1927 – April 7, 2010) was a prominent American businessman. His personal wealth has been estimated to exceed $160 million. In 1963 he joined others to found 100 Black Men of America, a social and philanthropic organization. In 1985 he and a group of business partners, among them Julius Erving and Bill Cosby, bought a majority share of the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the first of the company’s bottling plants to be acquired by a black person or persons.

One of the leading African-American entrepreneurs of his generation.

Llewellyn was born in Harlem, New York, the son of immigrants from Jamaica. His parents came to the United States in 1921. After two years the family moved to Westchester County, settling in White Plains, in a predominantly white middle-class environment. Llewellyn went to integrated schools. Llewellyn worked in his father’s bar and restaurant and sold magazines and Fuller Brush products. In 1943 Llewellyn joined the US Army where he served as a first lieutenant.

His sister Dorothy Cropper became a judge on the New York State Court of Claims, and his daughter, Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, is married to Tom Clancy. His wife of 30 years, Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn was Vice Chair of Philly Coke and serves as Vice Chair of Jazz at Lincoln Center. His daughter, Jaylaan Ahmad-Llewellyn, is a Harvard graduate and founder of Bluhammock Music. His mother, Vanessa Llewellyn, a Jamaican immigrant, lived to be 103.

Look at his chapters of influence here.


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