October 26, 1988
S. B. Fuller, founder and president of Fuller Products Company and a "dean of black entrepreneurs," died of kidney failure in Blue Island, Illinois, at age eighty-three.
Fuller was a native of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. He left school after the sixth grade and lived in poverty until his mother, who died when he was seventeen, convinced him to become a door-to-door salesman. He sold cosmetics and built a national company with more than 5,000 salesmen.
During the 1960s, Fuller expanded his company into newspapers, appliance and department stores, as well as farming and beef cattle production. He is credited with teaching business skills to John H. Johnson, founder of the highly successful Johnson Publishing Company, and George Johnson, one of the nation's leading cosmetic manufacturers.