The first seeds to establish a Ford minority dealer organization were planted by Judson B. Powell, a member of Ford's minority dealer operations department. The year was 1978. However, at that point, there was little interest. Business was good and there was a slow, but steady increase in minority dealer count.
But that changed in 1979 with the downturn in the economy and high interest rates which lead to a significant loss of dealerships, especially among the minority owned dealers. Ford's black dealer count declined by almost 50 %, from 39 to 19 and only one dealer, Bill Shack (Ford-Yucca Valley, Ca.) was making money and owned the business.
As a result, with the assistance of LaRoy Doss, the Ford dealer in Pittsburgh, California, a letter was sent to all Ford/LM minority dealers inviting them to attend a meeting in New Orleans, La., during the March 7-9 period. The purpose of the meeting was to determine what collective actions could be taken to prevent the further erosion of African-American dealerships... "we were an endangered species"...
Thirteen dealers accepted the invitation and the Black Ford Lincoln Mercury Council (BFLMDC) was established. Those dealers in attendance were:
The mission of BFLMDA was three-fold: first, provide self help for its members; second, work with Ford in developing programs designed to help minority dealers and lastly, establish long term goals to assure a diverse dealer network.
The organization conducts a series of meetings with Ford management, as many as six a year, to present their views. Over the years, the Association has become a highly interactive group with the Company. In the early 1990’s, it was re-designated the Ford Motor Minority Dealer Association (FMMDA) to represent all ethnic minority groups. It’s present membership is 95% African-American. Executive Directors of FMMDA have been: Virgil Anderson (1983-1987), Robert Hill (1988 thru June 2003), and presently, Dr. A. V. Fleming.
For additional information, go to www.fmmda.org