John William Templeton, Founder, 18th annual National Black Business Month
2021 marks the 50th year as an award-winning investigative journalist, historian, playwright, poet and filmmaker for John William Templeton, creator of the 6,000 site California African-American Freedom Trail. Since 1984, he has conducted a longitudinal study of 155 characteristics for 115 metropolitan areas for his book Come This Far By Faith: African-Americans 1980-2020. That made him the logical choice when civil engineer Frederick E. Jordan commissioned him to do the first State of Black Business report in 2004–Loaded Dice. It called for August to be observed as National Black Business Month, with a set schedule of activities called 31 Ways 31 Days to prevent the issues from being co-opted. The report also distilled the 10 Key Factors for Black Business Success, with the annual Black Business Affinity Index rating the states. The latest two studies, Pandemic to Prosperity: State of Black Business, 18th edition and Hope Over Hate: State of Black Business, 17th edition chart how the disruption of the deadliest period in African-American history can disrupt long-standing disparities by solving the health risks to 47 million African-Americans, 30 million of which are still unvaccinated.
In Our10Plan, the African-American economic strategy, he set a path for reinvigorating Black businesses ss the foundation for healthy neighborhoods with a speech at the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in 2015 in Los Angeles. Further describing the plan in a national coalition of fraternities and sororities, churches, trade associations and experts called BlackWealth2020, he represented the group before 10,000 pastors at the Hampton Ministers Conference in 2017.
After the Rodney King beating in 1991, Templeton turned a free lance column with the San Jose Mercury News into Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols. 1-4, a 1,400 page set which became the foundation for the California African-American Freedom Trail and the first Black history exhibition in the California Historic State Capitol in 1995 with further exhibits in the Los Angeles Central Library, San Francisco Main Library and California Academy of Sciences. The book has been used in school districts from San Diego to Sacramento since 1992 with significant gains in student achievement whereever used. His 2008 commissioned study for the California Council for the Social Studies, Black Heritage as Gap Closer: Capacity of California Social Science Educators to Provide Culturally Responsive Instruction provides the pedagogy for infusion into the California History/Social Science Frameworks.
In 2006, he presented the Tourism Implication of California’s Black Heritage at the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History and contributed “African-Americans in the West” to the Oxford Encyclopedia of African-American History, Vol. 1, The Age of Frederick Douglass, edited by Paul Finkleman.
The 2007 exhibition Gold Rush Abolitionists in the Historic State Capitol was derived from the discovery of the California adoption to the 13th Amendment in a closet. Templeton would find every state resolution of adoption for the Amendment by 2013 and arrive at the National Archives on Dec. 30, 2012 as the first person to see the Emancipation Proclamation on its 150th anniversary. Similar discoveries for the 14th and 15th Amendment led to his trilogy:
- Road to Ratification: How 27 States Faced the Most Challenging Issue in American History
- Citizenship for All: 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment
- We Fought, We Vote: 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment
Following Potrero Progress, a bioscience magnet for high schoolers in 2010, Templeton created ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage, an instructional network to provide skills training to learners of African descent.
The pedagogy behind ReUNION–the Learning Garage–was described in 2013 and 2015 papers to the American Educational Research Association: Personal Authenticity and Perceived Chance of Success and the California African-American Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail was peer reviewed in 2017 at the American Historical Association – Pacific Coast Branch at CSU-Northridge with a scholarly review by Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson, (RET) USMC, former director of California State Parks.
In 2018, he wrote the opening chapter of Our Education, the most extensive culturally responsive research study of an educational system, under principal investigators Dr. Joyce King and Dr. Linda Tillman, interviewing more than 700 students, educators and parents in Santa Clara County, California. His 2020 paper From Freedman’s Hospitals to Obamacare is set to be included in a 2021 volume by the University of California, San Francisco Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.
His honors include:
- Who’s Who Among American High School Students, 1972
- National Achievement Scholarship, 1972, National Merit Scholarship Corp.
- Freshman Honors, Howard University, 1972
- Best Collegiate Investigative Reporter, Harpers Weekly/Center for National Security Studies, 1974
- cum laude, B.A. Catherine Hughes School of Communications, Howard University, 1975
- Who’s Who Among American College Students, 1975
- graduate research associate, Department of Black Studies/School of Journalism, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1978
- First Prize, Merit Award, Best Feature Writing, National Newspaper Publishers Association, 1978
- Chapter President, Piedmont chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, 1980
- Minority Fellow, American Newspaper Publishers Association Research Institute 1981
- First Prize, Merit Award, Best Community Service, National Newspaper Publishers Association, 1982
- First Prize, Merit Award, Best Original Advertising, National Newspaper Publishers Association 1982
- Outstanding Alumnus, School of Communications Alumni Association, Howard University, 1982
- First Prize, Merit Award, Best Special Edition, National Newspaper Publishers Association, 1983
- Stanford Professional Publishing Course, 1989
- Wanadu Aroo, (history advisor) to the Amiru Songhoy, Dr. Hassimi Oumarou Maiga, direct descendant of Askia Muhammad 1994
- Sesquicentennial Commendation, California Sesquicentennial Commission, 1998
- Library Laureate, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, 2002
- Circle 7 Award, KGO-7 San Francisco 2011
- Visionary Award, California Black Chamber of Commerce 2016
- Community Activist Award, San Francisco NAACP 2017
- Chairman’s Award, Oakland African-American Chamber of Commerce 2021
A fifth generation Presbyterian Ruling Elder, he served as Overture Advocate at the 2018 General Assembly in St. Louis representing presbyteries from San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Arizona and Ohio to authorize the republication of the most important speech in African-American history, Let The Monster Perish by Rev. Henry Highland Garnet by the Presbyterian Publishing Corp. by a vote of 485-9. Templeton was also elected Commissioner to the Synod of the Pacific, the governing body for Presbyterians in five Western states and has been Clerk of Session at New Liberation Presbyterian Church. He represents the denomination as a trustee of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Community leaders in Brooklyn embraced the tenets of Our10Plan and elected him Chairman of the Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corp. in 2019, causing a direct hands-on involvement in the hardest-hit areas of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His communications management history covers every genre of the industry
- Executive Editor, Winston-Salem Chronicle, 1978-1980
- Editor/General Manager, Richmond AFRO-AMERICAN and Richmond Planet 1980-84
- President, Communications Networks Inc. 1984-1987
- Managing Editor, Richmond Business Journal 1986-87
- Editor, San Jose Business Journal 1987-88
- Employee Communications Coordinator, FMC Defense Systems Group 1988-1989
- President, eAccess Corp. 1988-present
- Bay Options magazine/ASPIRE
- ASPIRE Book imprint
- National Black Business Month
- ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage
- Queen Calafia: Ruler of California
- 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology
- Journal of Black Innovation
- Station Manager/Development Director, KMTP-TV32
As an investment banker with Zenviba Ventureprises, he advised the Doctors Medical Center Closure Aversion Committee on a strategy to replace a West Contra Costa public hospital with the nation’s first carbon neutral health equity center.