By Mr. E. B. Taylor
Mr. Robert W. Coleman, in conceiving and compiling the first Colored Business Direc-
tory, performed a service of incalculable value to all the people, not only of this city and
state but of the country. As far as I have been able to ascertain there was no such
systematic collection anywhere in the United States, prior to his inauguration of it in
Baltimore, although since t hen the idea has been extensively copied throughout the Union.
As a result of not having such a record, when we wished to address the colored business
community, it was essential to go through all sorts of round about ways to secure their
names. In southern communities the usual method was to plod through several thousand
pages of a city directory, selecting the names preceded by a star. This was often inaccu-
rate and unsatisfactory, as I know personally scores of colored people whose names were
riot as marked, due to the fact that a light skinned person would answer the queries of
the solicitor, or because the house was perhaps too nice looking for a colored tenant
(in the judgment of the same men) or because it seemed too busy a place, or too large a
corporation for a person of color. Mr. Coleman by collecting these names into a compact
little volume has saved time which cannot be estimated.
His rewards have not, of course, been commensurate with the good he has accom-
Before closing I want to pay a tribute to the wonderful disposition of the compiler
of this volume. If there is any person in the world whose disposition I envy, it is "Bob"
A young, active man, interested in social, business and political activities, is suddenly
stricken almost blind. A wife, six (0) beautiful children (and they girls) to care for, a
man would almost feel justified in giving way to despair. Not so Mr. Coleman. He has
never stopped to realize he is not like other men. With renewed vigor, undaunted he
set out, found new avenues of profit, has gotten his girls to the point where one has gradu-
ated, has maintained his home, kept up his cheerful, optimistic disposition and has con-
stantly climbed the rounds of the ladder of success. His life is an inspiration to us all,
who when much more minor troubles assail us, are ready to throw up our hands in sur-
render. He deserves, if anyone does, the general support of all.