As you may know from my previous blog post, the sixth novel in my Christopher Family Novel series has been launched: The Right to Be, my first LGBT-centered romance novel. However, The Right to Be could only have been made possible through Mark My Words and the character nearest and dearest to my heart: Allan Beckley Christopher, African American billionaire mogul, the linchpin character to my series, a man who succeeded against the odds.
From his humble beginnings in Kansas City, Missouri, to his current status as billionaire and Chairman of the Board of Christopher Electronics, Allan Beckley Christopher, now at the age of 93, is a work in progress. However, as inquiring minds want to know, what was my inspiration for creating this character?
All too often, in reading fictional stories about African American men (especially when I was a young adult), they were portrayed in the following categories:
- Down and out.
- Broke, busted, and disgusted.
- Deadbeat dads.
- On drugs.
- Incarcerated or on their way there.
If they were considered successful, the images were relegated to the narrow range of sports, entertainment, or illegal gain, and I knew that wasn’t the whole truth.
African American men have made countless contributions to this country as inventors such as Garrett Morgan and entrepreneurs like John H. Johnson. These proud, hardworking, highly successful men with strong values, integrity, and ethics have always been a part of our history–they just weren’t getting the attention or the energy.
In my own family, my father had a distinguished career in the Air Force. He taught himself how to program computers, and implemented the system at his Air National Guard base they they use today. One of my uncles was the first African American executive for the Dayton-Hudson Corporation (later Target), and trained future Minnesota governor Mark Dayton. Another uncle built and designed computers for Honeywell. Another had a career as a vice-principal and educator. Family friends owned their own businesses.
At the time, when creating what was then this self-made, African American multimillionaire (he did it in the 1960s), two outcomes came up: he would either do everything possible to forget his roots or reach back and avidly support the community that nurtured him. In the case of Allan Beckley Christopher, he chose the latter.
When I added in the African American men in Black History I read about to those I knew personally, the character of Allan Beckley Christopher took shape as a composite of all of them. The ultimate test, of course, came when my father read Mark My Words from cover to cover. Did this character represent Black men of his generation? I am pleased to say that his answer was a resounding yes.
As such, Allan is included in every book in this series of stories about his large, extended, wealthy, and powerful family. They are designed to be read in sequence, so you can start with Mark My Words and learn about him, what made him who he is today, through the people who were there for him from the beginning. In order, the series consists of Mark My Words (Books 1, 2, and 3), You Never Know, Never Give Up, and The Right to Be.
At the end of the day, the character of Allan Beckley Christopher is a man who believed in dreams and never gave up. He is waiting to share his story with you at your Amazon or Barnes & Noble library. If you reside in Minnesota or Des Moines, check out the Christopher Family Novel series at your public library.