Preston Taylor, AM Burton Honored

Preston Taylor and Andrew Mizell Burton are among the newest inductees into the BusinessTN Leadership Hall of Fame.

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One thought on “Preston Taylor, AM Burton Honored

  1. The irony is exquisite.

    Could we transcend the framework of time to gather all of these worthies together in one room, to receive their recognition, that would truly be something to see. Of occasions of that kind, Harold Straughn used to say, “Each one is going to have to explain why he is with everyone else.”

    Taylor and Burton have much in common, even in the emphatic opposition of their racial attitudes. Taylor is Burton’s senior by 30 years, and had already made some money when Burton was still a small child. Taylor owned a cemetery and a funeral home, and Burton sold burial insurance. We may wonder whether they ever did business with one another directly, and how such conversations would proceed.

    We may note that there is not one woman on this list of historic Tennessee business leaders — a jarring omission, even in Tennessee. i think immediately of Selina Moore Holman (1850-1915), who was not a “businesswoman” exactly, but surely a “leader” who exerted profound influence on several aspects of business in Tennessee. She became president of the Tennessee affiliate of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1899, and quadrupled its membership in four years. In a time when women could not vote and beverage alcohol was perhaps the leading industry in Tennessee, the WCTU campaigned for suffrage and for prohibition. Holman, at the head of that voluntary association (what we should now call a “501c3 corporation”), was in that time probably the most powerful woman in Tennessee. A direct contemporary of Taylor and old enough to be Burton’s mother, Holman rose from rags to influence on the strength of her intelligence and hard work. In her work she emphasized values that both Taylor and Burton cherished, along with some that they likely did not. She was a nemesis to David Lipscomb, a great friend to Theophilus Brown Larimore, and to Robert Henry Boll “a mother in Israel.” In a gathering of historic Tennessee “leaders” from this list, we might wonder what Holman and her brother Lem Motlow would say to each other.

    God’s Peace to you.

    d

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