Within ten years of launching his investment venture capital firm the TLC group in 1983, Reginald F. Lewis was the manager of a $2.5 billion financing business. The company is the largest firm owned by an African American in all of US history. Lewis leveraged the largest buyout in business history when he purchased Beatrice Food Company in 1987.
Lewis grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Baltimore, and attended Virginia State College on a football scholarship. In 1965 he graduated with a degree in economics, and then went on to Harvard Law School and graduated from there in 1968. Forbes listed Lewis as one of America’s 400 richest citizens, with a net worth estimated at about $400 million. Lewis was the first African American to own a company valued at over one billion dollars, Beatrice Foods.