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Broadcast Entrepreneur Danny Bakewell, Sr. was born in 1946 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Also raised in New Orleans, he graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1965, and went on to attend the University of Arizona.
At the age of twenty-one, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he was hired as a community organizer with the Neighborhood Adult Participation Project. During this time, he also worked as the director of new careers at the University of California, Los Angeles before becoming involved with the Black Congress. In the early 1970s, Bakewell was named president and chief executive officer of the Brotherhood Crusade, a Los Angeles-based civil rights and community development organization, where he served until 2006. During his long tenure, he raised over $60 million for community initiatives. He also co-founded the National Black United Fund in 1974.
In 1982, Bakewell became chairman and chief executive officer of The Bakewell Company, one of the largest African American-owned development companies in the United States. In 1986, Bakewell was named president of the Cranston Securities Company, a national investment banking firm. Then, in 2004, he purchased the Los Angeles Sentinel, the oldest and largest African American newspaper on the West Coast. Soon after, in 2007, Bakewell purchased the New Orleans radio station WBOK and in 2009, he was elected chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
Bakewell also established the Brotherhood Crusade Business Development and Capital Fund, the African American Unity Center, and the Taste of Soul of Los Angeles. In memory of his daughter, Sabriya, who lost her life to leukemia, Bakewell founded the SABRIYA’s Castle of Fun Foundation for hospitalized children. The Foundation has established over 200 units in hospitals around the country.
Bakewell’s numerous awards include the Trumpet Award from the Trumpet Foundation, the JFK Profiles in Courage Award by the Democratic Party, the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Adam Clayton Powell Award, the Roy Wilkins Award, and the Martin Luther King Drum Major Award, among others. He has also been honored by the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. In addition, the Los Angeles Unified School District honored Bakewell by naming a school after him.
Bakewell lives in California with his wife, Alina. He has two children: Danny, Jr. and Brandi.
Danny Bakewell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 29, 2014.