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Highly Regarded Businessman Transitions

Devoyd Jennings was a champion of Black Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Devoyd Jennings
Devoyd Jennings / Credit: Eva D. Coleman

By Amore
Texas Metro News

When there were discussions about business and the Black communities of Tarrant County, Devoyd Jennings, President and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce (FWMBCC), was at the center of those conversations for decades.

Mr. Jennings died earlier today at his home.  

Expressions of sympathy were quick in coming as many remembered their friend and colleague who missed a meeting early Saturday. According to businessman and former CEO of D/FW Airport Vernell Sturns, that meeting also included veteran journalist and FWMBCC Director of Communications Bob Ray Sanders, who he talked with in-depth as they tried to wrap their thoughts around the loss.  

“I am deeply saddened by the news I got this afternoon that Devoyd Jennings had passed,” said businessman Vernell Sturns, who has known Mr. Jennings for more than 40 years.  “We have worked on many, many things in the community, trying to improve conditions especially for minorities. I am deeply grieved by the news today of a young man who has contributed so much to the Fort Worth community, to the Black community and was a special and dear friend to me.” 

As late as a few days before his death, the champion of entrepreneurs and Black businesses saluted Black businesses on his Facebook page.

“This is fantastic,” he wrote about a posting announcing A.S.A.P.P. Barber College offering classes and scholarships.

In an interview with NBC5 earlier this year, Mr. Jennings discussed the plight of Black businesses.

“When there is a recession for the majority community a lot of times it is a depression for the minority community. At the end of the day, the color of freedom is green. And as long as we can create some green opportunities for all that want to be involved we make that difference.”

Mr. Jennings is remembered for spending his life making a difference. 

He attended George Washington Carver Elementary School.  A proud member of the I.M. Terrell High School Class of 1966, he enrolled at Tarrant County College and later studied economics and marketing at Texas Wesleyan University, graduating in 1971. A former Energy Consultant\ Lobbyist at TXU Energy, Mr. Jennings was always on top of the issues and contributed his thoughts in columns that appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Honored by the City of Fort Worth with Devoyd Jennings Day, in 1991  he became one of the Colonial Country Club’s first Black members,

A member of the Texas Association of African American Chambers. His extensive knowledge of public and private organization efforts in the area of economic development is gained through more than 30 years of experience with economic development organizations in the metroplex.

  He has served on numerous boards including: The Texas Association of Business Texas Wesleyan University, North Texas Commission, and the Texas Association of African American Chambers.

He resides in Forest Hills with his wife of 40 years, Gwen Barbee. 

NOTE: This is a developing story.
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