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Nathan Conyers

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Information about Nathan Conyers

Profile image of Nathan Conyers

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Auto Sales Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Meat
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Martin, Turks, Caicos
Favorite Quote:
Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Birthplace

Born:
7/3/1932
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Auto Sales Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Meat
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Martin, Turks, Caicos
Favorite Quote:
Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Birthplace

Born:
7/3/1932
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Nathan Conyers is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Nathan G. Conyers, founder and president of Conyers Riverside-Ford, Inc., was born on July 3, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan's "Black Bottom" community during the Great Depression. Nathan Conyers was the fourth of five children and one of four surviving sons of his parents John Conyers, Sr. -- a factory worker and union organizer -- and Lucille Simpson Conyers. Both parents emphasized education and self-reliance. His eldest brother is Michigan Congressman John Conyers, Jr.

Conyers graduated from Northwestern High School in 1950. A brief stint with the Army made him realize the importance of education. Attending Wayne State University to earn first a bachelor's and then a law degree, Nathan Conyers passed the Michigan Bar in 1959. He served as a special assistant attorney for Michigan's Attorney General, and as a closing attorney for the Veteran's Administration and the Small Business Administration. In 1960, he went into private practice with the firm of Keith, Conyers, Anderson, Brown and Wahls, P.C., a historic firm that championed civil rights and earned a stellar reputation.

Heeding the lifelong wish of his father that a family business be established, in 1970 Nathan Conyers and his brother John launched Conyer's Ford at 2475 West Grand in inner city Detroit with Nathan Conyers as president. At the time, there were only twenty black-owned dealerships in the United States. With the assistance of Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., Conyers helped forge the National Black Dealers Association and became its first president in 1970. In 1979, Conyers established the Ford Lincoln Mercury Black Dealers Association. In May of that same year, minority dealers met with the goal of leveraging much needed financial support from federal agencies. As a result of this effort, the National Minority Dealership Association was formed. In 1984, Conyers acquired Riverside Ford, Inc. at 1833 East Jefferson and later converted the dealership on West Grand to a body shop.

Known for his thirty-one years of professionalism and distinguished community service, Conyers is the longest serving African American car dealer in the country. He is the recipient of Time Magazine's Quality Dealer Award, and is one of only six businesses to make Black Enterprise Magazine's Top 100 list for the last twenty-five years.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathan Conyers interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathan Conyers's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathan Conyers gives his parents' names and backgrounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathan Conyers talks about his father's ancestors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathan Conyers details his father's involvement in the union movement
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathan Conyers discusses his mother's leadership role
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathan Conyers lists his brothers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathan Conyers remembers his childhood community
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathan Conyers explains his neighborhood's solidarity
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathan Conyers remembers his childhood personality and aspiration to become a lawyer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathan Conyers describes himself as a high school and college student
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathan Conyers recalls his military experience
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathan Conyers dissusses mentors and his work in radio sound effects during high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathan Conyers talks about being a distracted student
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathan Conyers talks about law school and the help of his brother John's class notes from the previous year
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathan Conyers explains his post-law school experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathan Conyers talks about his early experiences working in law
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathan Conyers remembers the Keith, Conyers, Anderson, Brown and Wahls law firm and the social climate of 1960s Detroit
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathan Conyers recalls the Algiers Motel Incident investigation by the U.S. Justice Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathan Conyers discusses his firm's involvement in the national Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathan Conyers discusses events that led to the Detroit Riots of 1967
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathan Conyers explains Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s reasons for coming to Grosse Pointe, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathan Conyers remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s visit to Michigan in 1968
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathan Conyers discusses the Detroit Riots of 1967
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathan Conyers talks about changes made by Detroit Mayor Coleman Young
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathan Conyers comments on passing life lessons to younger generations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathan Conyers describes how he transitioned into the retail automobile industry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathan Conyers explains how he was chosen to run the family business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathan Conyers recalls reactions to leaving his law firm
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathan Conyers tells of his involvement in the National Black Dealers Association
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathan Conyers explains how Jimmy Carter aided black-owned car dealerships
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathan Conyers talks about racial discrimination in the retail automobile industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathan Conyers comments on the growth of his car dealership
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathan Conyers discusses his family's involvement in his dealerships
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathan Conyers describes his hopes for younger blacks in business ownership
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathan Conyers discusses white business owners' lack of acceptance of Detroit mayor Coleman Young
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathan Conyes talks about the status of Detroit after Coleman Young's administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathan Conyers comments on his life in Detroit and his love for the city
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathan Conyers speaks about Motown's existence in Detroit
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathan Conyers considers black Detroit's legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathan Conyers shares opinions on how Detroit's black business community could better itself
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Nathan Conyers talks about progress made in the black business world
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Nathan Conyers discusses the influence of brother John Conyers and colleague Damon Keith
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Nathan Conyers talks about differences between his two dealerships
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Nathan Conyers discusses the importance of loyalty in business
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Nathan Conyers explains his hopes and concerns for Detroit's black community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Nathan Conyers comments on progress made within the black community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Nathan Conyers reflects on his life and career