• Facebook Clean
  • Twitter Clean
  • LinkedIn Clean
  • White Instagram Icon

Our Founders

BESLA was founded by like-minded professionals who saw the need for an organization where collective experiences and knowledge could be shared for professional development, networking, and the advancement of people of color. Prior to BESLA, artists, athletes, lawyers and professionals of color in the sports, entertainment and legal professions were anomalies-- exceptions to the rule. Black professionals like Muhammad Ali, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Thurgood Marshall, and Hank Aaron, all fought uphill battles for fair and equitable treatment, and the rights of others, like themselves, who did not have the celebrity, platform or voice to call attention to their respective struggles. They were agents of change. They challenged the status quo, and forced society to reevaluate their pre-conceived notions of the skills, capabilities and ‘place’ of people of color.

The original founders of BESLA changed the trajectory for other attorneys and professionals of color to break into and be successful in law, sports, media and entertainment.
  • Phil Asbury

  • Michael Ashburne

  • Timothy Crawford

  • Larkin Arnold

  • Karl Gutherie

  • Albert R. Hopkins, Jr.

  • Kendall Minter

  • Don Mizell

  • Philip Ransom

  • Ronald A. Davis

  • Bill Hayes

  • Bob Brennan

  • Charles Ward

  • Chere D. Lott

  • Herbert Harris, Jr.

  • ​James M. DeLeon

  • ​Louise West

  • Robert Holmes

  • Joseph Porter

  • Thomasina Reed

  • Ray Tisdale

  • Ron Sweeney

  • Gregory Reed

  • Frederick D. Cooke, Jr.

  • ​David Franklin

  • Fletcher “Flash” Wiley