TAMPA (FOX 13) - James Hammond can't help but beam with pride when he sees children learning what it takes to become entrepreneurs in his hometown.
"Tampa's my dream. This is really incredible what Tampa's done here," he said.
His interest in business started with his father.
"My dad was manager of the Rogers Hotel, the only black hotel in the state of Florida. Black owned, black controlled," he explained.
His desire for leadership grew once he got into the military. The 87-year-old says achieving his dreams came at a time of resistance.
"Black people didn't have control over anything. We were boys. We were called boys back then. I was determined. I'm not going to let that happen to me. I'm not a boy, I'm a man," Hammond recalled.
Once he got out of the service, he became an electrical contractor. His vision went beyond growing his own business.
"As he saw a lot of the unrest in the streets of Tampa, especially in the black residents in the neighborhood, he became determined with local residents at the time to create an organization that could help black people rise out of poverty and begin helping themselves," said Jeannette Bradley.
Bradley is with the non-profit that Hammond co-founded called 'THAP,' which stands for Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan. Through the organization, Hammond transformed a collection of storage units into office spaces for local entrepreneurs.
"I want us to continue to grow and get bigger and bigger and more powerful," he said.
LINK: For more information on THAP, visit http://www.thap-inc.org