Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 19, 1920
Businessman, Tuskegee Airman
Interviewed by Phillip Davis
2004 Visionary Heritage Fellow
Coppin State University
Raymond V. Haysbert is a Tuskegee Airman and co-founder of the Parks Sausage Company in Baltimore, Maryland. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 19, 1920, Mr. Haysbert was a child of divorce and poverty. From an early age, his mother encouraged Haysbert to excel in his studies, teaching him the value of an education which she believed was her son’s way out of poverty. While attending Wilberforce University, Haysbert pursued his love for numbers by majoring in mathematics. However, in his junior year, he temporarily dropped out of college to seek employment.
Haysbert briefly worked for a coal company before joining the service. Due to his high military entrance examination test scores, he was selected for Army Air Corps training in Tuskegee. Haysbert served as a fighter pilot in Africa and Italy with the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen. After the military, Mr. Haysbert returned to Wilberforce University and completed his degree in mathematics. He also earned a degree from Central State in accounting and business administration where he began teaching business while operating the college bookstore. However, the opportunity to join fellow Ohioan, Henry Parks, in a new business venture led Haysbert to Baltimore.
Under Haysbert and Parks, the Parks Sausage Company experienced tremendous success despite racial barriers becoming the first Black-owned company to trade on the stock exchange. Its popular slogan “More Parks Sausages Mom, Please!” is known throughout the country.
Mr. Haysbert has received numerous honorary degrees and citations including Minority Business of the Year from President Bush. Mr. Haysbert is still active in the Baltimore business community continuing the strong legacy of Black business ownership.
URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/haysburtraymond