BALTIMORE (AP)—Raymond V. Haysbert Sr., whose Parks Sausage Co. became the first Black-owned business in the U.S. to go public in 1969, has died at 90.
He died May 24 at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore after suffering from congestive heart failure, his son Brian Haysbert said May 25.
RAYMOND V. HAYSBERT SR.
Born in poverty, Haysbert later became a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, serving in Africa and Italy in World War II before settling in Baltimore. There, he joined the company started by Henry Parks that became well known throughout the northeast by advertisements featuring a hungry boy asking, “More Parks Sausages, mom, please!”
Former Baltimore congressman and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume said that in addition to his role as chief executive at Parks, Haysbert was a political adviser and community leader who became “synonymous with the struggle for entrepreneurship among African-Americans at a time when it wasn’t very popular.”
Haysbert helped integrate Baltimore politics by working to get Parks elected to the council in 1963.
Haysbert, who had suffered several heart attacks in recent years, remained chairman of the Greater Baltimore Urban League until his death, bringing the organization back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Born in Cincinnati, Haysbert worked for a coal company before joining the Army Air Corps. He is survived by his wife and four children.