Detroit business executive Don H. Barden holds the honorary title as the first African American to own a Las Vegas Casino. He was the first to hold a major cable television franchise, as well.
Born December 20th 1943, the ninth of thirteen children, Mr. Barden would go on to become a Detroit icon.
He had attempted to build a casino in his hometown of Detroit, but plans fell through with objections from local ministers in the community.
In 1998, Mr. Barden teamed up with the superstar Michael Jackson in a second attempt to obtain a casino license. They pledged to build a one billion dollar theme park and resort in return. This offer also fell through, and no casino was built in the area.
In 2001 Mr. Barden finally achieved his dream of owning a casino, the location: Las Vegas. This is a tremendous lesson in the power of persistence.
For over thirty years, Barden successfully owned and operated multiple companies. He was involved with everything from real estate and his casinos to broadcasting and international trade. In fact, Mr. Barden’s highly successful cable business was sold to Comcast in 1994. He had built it into one of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses in his fifteen years of ownership.
Don H. Barden died at the age of sixty-seven after a battle with lung cancer. He is remembered for his contributions to the people and world around him.
“Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano recalled Barden as a successful businessman who maintained a concern for the welfare of Detroit.”
Mr. Barden made an impression as an entrepreneur, expanding the landscape for those to come. Reverend Wendell Anthony put it this way,
“It’s one thing to be successful; it’s more important to be significant. Don Barden was significant as it relates to setting an example of exemplary African American entrepreneurship.”
No matter color or race, I think we all can respect that!
Rest in peace Don H. Barden.