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Dennis Paul Kimbro

Author of Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice, Dennis Kimbro was born December 29, 1950, in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1972, he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Oklahoma. He later earned his PhD in political science at Northwestern University, researching wealth and poverty in underdeveloped countries.

Kimbro wrote Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice as an updating and extension of the work of Napoleon Hill, who wrote the 1937 bestseller Think and Grow Rich after researching the practices of highly successful persons, and who left at his death an unfinished manuscript directed towards African Americans. Kimbro was commissioned by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to complete the manuscript. Published in 1991, Kimbro and Hill's book became a number-one bestseller.

Clients of Kimbro’s lectures have included General Motors, Walt Disney, Frito-Lay and Wells Fargo. He has appeared on television shows including Today and CNN’s Larry King Live, and in publications including Success, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today. He is listed in Who’s Who in Black America; a recipient of the Dale Carnegie Achievement Award; and a past Director of the Center of Entrepreneurship at Clark Atlanta University. In addition, in 1996, he served as one of eight national judges for the prestigious Ernst & Young USA Today Entrepreneur of the Year, held in Palm Springs, California.

In 2005, Kimbro’s second edition of What Keeps Me Standing: A Black Grandmother’s Guide to Peace, Hope & Inspiration was released. He is married, lives in Atlanta and is the father of three daughters.

Accession Number

A2006.074

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/12/2006

Last Name

Kimbro

Maker Category
Middle Name

Paul

Schools

University of Oklahoma

G. Washington Carver Institute

Benjamin Franklin Junior High School

Teaneck Senior High School

Northwestern University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Dennis

Birth City, State, Country

Jersey City

HM ID

KIM02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Learn How To Say 'I Can.'

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/29/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Management consultant and author Dennis Paul Kimbro (1950 - ) wrote the popular books, 'Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice' and 'What Keeps Me Standing: A Black Grandmother’s Guide to Peace, Hope & Inspiration'. He was highly sought after as a public speaker and management consultant.

Employment

Clark Atlanta University

Texas Instruments

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dennis Paul Kimbro's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dennis Paul Kimbro lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes his father's experience in World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes Kearny, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls Columbia Elementary School in East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls those who influenced him to pursue education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dennis Paul Kimbro reflects upon the education of the African American community

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dennis Paul Kimbro remembers the assassinations of civil rights figures

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes New Jersey's Teaneck High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls New Jersey's race relations in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls his decision to attend the University of Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the process of writing his first book

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dennis Paul Kimbro remembers pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes his studiousness

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls his parents' thoughts on him attending college

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the nine values of greatness, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the nine values of greatness, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the nine values of greatness, pt. 3

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls his interview with Johnnetta B. Cole

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the nine values of greatness, pt. 4

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the nine values of greatness, pt. 5

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dennis Paul Kimbro remembers a lesson from William Clement Stone

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the publication of 'What Makes the Great Great'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dennis Paul Kimbro remembers how he struggled financially in the 1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes his book 'Daily Motivations for African-American Success'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the impact of 'What Makes the Great Great'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the inspiration for 'What Keeps Me Standing'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes 'What Keeps Me Standing,' pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes 'What Keeps Me Standing,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls Janey Coverdale's letter on forgiveness

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dennis Paul Kimbro recalls his decision to become a professor

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes his future projects

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dennis Paul Kimbro reflects upon the success of Barbara L. Thomas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dennis Paul Kimbro describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dennis Paul Kimbro reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the process of writing his first book
Dennis Paul Kimbro describes the inspiration for 'What Keeps Me Standing'
Transcript
And then, right when I finished in 1972, I graduated in 1972, my first job, I worked for Texas Instruments [Texas Instruments Incorporated] in Dallas, Texas, okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Doing what?$$I was a front line supervisor. Back then, they were just starting to manufacture Texas Instruments, the silicon chips, okay. That was used for the TI [Texas Instruments] calculator. Remember the two calculators that they had, one was the financial calculator and the other one was--there was a financial and scientific calculator and the other one was a regular calculator. I can't gloss over this--got married my senior year in college. Yup. Me and my wife got married by a justice of the peace. We were both seniors at the University of Oklahoma [Norman, Oklahoma], got married and went back to class after we got married (laughter), had our first child, okay--$$While you were still in school?$$Yeah, um-hm, and got married. Several months later my first daughter was born, went to Dallas, Texas, worked for Texas Instruments, worked there for one year, but I knew that I wanted to go to grad school.$$Did you know what you wanted to do?$$Yes. Back then I was still studying wealth and poverty, okay? And I went to grad school. I got a free ride from Northwestern [Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois]. They had a program in political science, of all things, and I took it because it was a free ride, okay? Because I don't know what I actually want to do. I want to do international business and this, that, and the other, so I took it and they had a three-year program, and it was a free ride, but I was looking at wealth and poverty among under-developed countries, okay? And, all that time, the three years that I was at Northwestern, I just started collecting data and I started looking at why is one country, you know, impoverished while another one is wealthy. What are the linkages, what are the mindsets, what are the institutions that these wealthy countries, you know, particularly in sub-Sahara [Sub-Saharan Africa] and Africa, what do they produce? How are they galvanized, you know, how are they pulled together? Who organizes them? Well, by the time I got to my third year and I defended my dissertation, I didn't want to study countries. I still wanted to ask that question about wealth and poverty. I didn't want to study countries. I wanted to study individuals, and I didn't want to study anything about Africa. I wanted to study African Americans here in the United States, and so, I did a 180. I started looking at the wealthy African Americans here in the United States, and I started collecting data, you know, because there weren't any books, and no one had published anything on these individuals. Again, at the time it was get a job, work on a job, work for the government, that type of whole mindset, and I was, there were only a few people that were creating wealth, and I was collecting data on them, and so I had all this data, all this research that I conducted, and I turned to my wife and I said, "Pat [Patricia McCauley Kimbro]," I said, "I think there's a book here and I'm not sure, but I think that maybe I could write a book off of everything that I learned on the surface, you know, circuitous with these individuals, but I won't know," and she said, "Well, when will you know if you have a book or not?" And I said, "Well, you gotta conduct face-to-face interviews," and she said, "How do you do that?" And I said, "Well, maybe I'll apply for a grant or somebody will blah-blah-blah," and she says, and it was really my wife's idea, she said, "Don't wait for a grant. Go ahead and do it now." I said, "Well, you don't understand. I mean, you gotta fly to these locations, you have to stay in a hotel, and we don't have money for that." She said, "Well just get started. Maybe some people around here, you can drive to with this, that and everything, and somehow, some way, the money will come." Well, that's one year ordeal. I thought I could finish this book in eighteen months, Shawn [Shawn Wilson]. That book took seven years of my life. It took me longer to write what became 'Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice,' [Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill] than to finish my Ph.D., and the money never came (laughter) but I just went around the country interviewing successful African Americans. I had a list of fifty individuals. What did I know? I said these are the fifty that I've got to interview and you can go back to this particular time. We're going back to late '70s [1970s], early '80s [1980s], and you can imagine who were the fifty, you know, John Johnson [HistoryMaker John H. Johnson] of Ebony magazine, Don King, the fight promoter, Wally [Wally Amos], Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, you know, those type of individuals--Ernesta Procope [HistoryMaker Ernesta G. Procope], she was the only black woman on Wall Street, E.G. Bowman investment company [E.G. Bowman Company, Inc., New York, New York]. So, those were, Ral--those were the individuals that I was going to meet and interview.$So, by the time that the third book, 'What Makes the Great Great' ['What Makes the Great Great: Strategies for Extraordinary Achievement,' Dennis P. Kimbro], has come out, you've become a motivational speaker and you're speaking (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And I never see it in myself. I don't even claim being a motivational--people may, you know, they may hear me, you know, and they might say, man, your words are inspiring. Your words motivate me. But I'm just a college professor. I've never said that I was a motivational speaker. I mean, you may capture me and you may pigeonhole me into that, and I have no problems with that, okay, but I teach. That's what I do for a living. People come up to me all the time, Shawn [Shawn Wilson], "Man Dr. Kimbro [HistoryMaker Dennis Paul Kimbro], I wanna do exactly you want to do." I said, "You--you're a teacher?" "No, I don't teach." "Oh, you're a writer?" "No, I don't wanna write." "You're a college professor?" "No, I don't wanna--." "What is it that I do that you wanna do?" "Man, I wanna be a motivational speaker." I said, "Okay, go do it," (laughter).$$So, the reason I say that is because out of you travelling country, the book, the standing--what's the title?$$'What Keeps Me Standing' ['What Keeps Me Standing: Letters from Black Grandmothers on Peace, Hope and Inspiration,' Dennis Kimbro].$$'What Keeps Me Standing' comes about--$$Yup.$$And it's just a great idea for a book.$$And that was the idea of my youngest daughter. Again, you gotta rewind the videotape and go back to this time period where Bill Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] is running for reelection against Bob Dole, okay, and I was about to go on another wing of the tour for 'What Makes the Great Great,' and I knew that I was gonna be gone for several days, blah-blah-blah, and this, that and everything, so my wife [Patricia McCauley Kimbro] said, "Well, takes a mini-vacation. Let's get all the girls together." I had one in college, one was about to go in college, and I had my youngest daughter, who was about to go into high school and the girls always loved going up to North Carolina, this, that and the everything, so no one wanted to fly. They wanted to drive and this, that and everything, so we're driving, I've got the three girls in the back, my wife is reading USA Today, and I'm driving, and when she gets through reading it, she just throws it in the back to the girls, and my youngest daughter, MacKenzie [MacKenzie Kimbro], she gets a hold of it and right there on the first page, it's about the impending, upcoming presidential election, and while I'm driving she says to me, she says, "Dad, who you gonna vote for?" And I said, "MacKenzie, that's a good question. I don't know. You tell me, who should I vote for?" And she said, "Well, if I could vote, I know exactly who I'd vote for." I said, "Who would you vote for?" She said, "I'd vote for Grandma Mary [Mary Anderson Kimbro] for president and Grandma Ruby [Ruby McCauley] for vice president." I was driving and I said, "And why would you want to do that?" She said, "Because Dad, man, they know everything, man. Grandma Mary helps me with this, Granma Ruby helps me with that," and these are two black women. If you put their entire education together, you still wouldn't get a high school diploma, but in the mind and in the eyes of a young child, they know everything. So I just thought about that and even when I'm on tour and signing books at 'What Makes the Great Great,' and blah-blah, and it just stayed in my mind, days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, I guess about six months later, this thing just wouldn't let me go, so I turned to my wife and I said, "Pat, you know, I'm thinking about this grandmother book and even if I were to write this book, even if I were to write this book, I can't go around the country interviewing all these folks. It would take me forever. How would I get this information?" And my wife says, completely passe, completely off the cuff, in passing, she says, "That's easy." I said, "What do you mean, easy?" "Tell them to write you a letter." And I said, "What do you mean?" "Tell them to write you a letter." I said, "Who, in this day and age, will write a letter, in this day of emailing, faxes, phone call, call waiting, (laughter) voicemails?" I said, "No one takes the time to write a letter." She said, "Yeah, they'll write you a letter." So, whenever I gave a presentation, if I thought the audience would lend itself, the audience was apropos to that type of setting, people would ask me all the time, "What book are you working on now?" And I would share that with them and I would say, "By the way, if there are any black grandmothers in the audience who would love to write a letter, blah-blah-blah." And I, did I received letters over a five-year period. Oh, my God, did they respond. Over a five-year period I received letters from every type of black grandmother under the sun. I received letters from black grandmothers, Ph.D.s from Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts], high school dropouts, doctors and lawyers, third grade education, grandmothers whose children and grandchildren are thriving and surviving, to one grandmother, her name is Flora Kelly, she lives is Waterloo, Iowa, in Waterloo, Iowa. She has seven children. The day that she wrote my letter, five were incarcerated in prison. She told me, she told me right there in the letter, that she would go down to the correctional facility and she would see her sons, but she just got to the point in life where she just hated to see her sons caged up like animals, and she would write 'em letters. She sent me one of the letters that she would write to her sons. I received three letters from white women, white grandmothers raising black children (laughter). Every type of letter out there.