A couple of days ago (See February 10, 2015), I found myself beginning to write Publisher’s Statements questioning the state of African-American institutions. I tried soliciting responses—until now the responses have been minimal. I’ve been asking myself “Why has there been silence?” I had a WOW moment this morning. Many of you are probably asking yourselves “Who is this Ronn, Ron, Ronald, etc.?”—probably there were some expletives thrown in!
It had never dawned on me to tell you something about myself. I’d assumed my prior publications of Routes gave you a good enough profile. I’ll try, as best I can, to fill in the gap.
I was born in Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York—ahem, 71 years ago. Until the age of 17, I along with my parents and my six siblings (5 boys, 2 girls) lived on Gates Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. (I have two other sisters —my father had two other daughters from a prior marriage.) My formal education was completed in New York City. My primary school was P.S. 44 (Monroe Street and Throop Avenue); Junior High School 258 (Halsey Street and Thompkins Avenue); Aviation High School Diploma – Airplane Mechanic. There was a four year break in my formal education—I joined the U.S. Air Force. I returned to New York after my 4 year enlistment, but some 9 months before leaving the service, married my ex-wife, a childhood sweetheart, at the age of 20. My jobs after the military: a bank teller at Chase Manhattan Bank, a United Airlines reservation’s clerk and passenger service agent at J.F.K. Airport; I attended Queensborough Community College, received an Associates Degree in Accounting; transferred to Bernard Baruch College where I received a B.B.A. in Public Accounting; worked for two years at the accounting firm Hurdmann, Cranston, Penney & Company; received a Fellowship (C.OG.M.E) to attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, receiving an M.B.A.; worked at Time, Inc., on the corporate staff for one year, 2-3 years as the International Production and Distribution Business Manager and my final position was in Advertising Sales. In 1977, I began my Adventurous publication of Routes, A Guide to Black Entertainment.
Surprised that I would give so much detail? There’s method to my madness. I’m giving this profile because I wish to describe how a boy from a relatively poor family has managed to carve out relevancy in his community and surprisingly in others. I am proud to honor a culture that continually and innocently gives to the world—I see and hear the contributions every day and I would like them to recognize it in Routes and elsewhere. I remember being told many times, like you, I’m sure, that I didn’t have what it takes to contribute to society. As an African-American male, I know the unfathomable statistics of how we are vile in the Western Capitalistic oriented culture.
But, before I began to fill in the details, I have to explain a contradiction: Twenty years ago friends and acquaintances continually prodded me to write a book about my experiences. I refused to consider doing so because writing for me isn’t easy; I thought it was too much work; I become too serious. But now that I’ve begun to republish Routes, I see it as a responsibility to help my community, as best as my skills will allow, to see its beauty and creativity.
So, if you find me too critical, don’t hold that feeling against me because I see the community’s relevancy as strong as I see Ronald Bunn’s.
Tomorrow, I will continue . . ..