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  • Writer's pictureEd Gaines

The FIRST African-American woman to own a luxury car dealership.

Lexus of Huntsville in Huntsville, Alabama owner Ellenae Fairwurst is the FIRST African-American woman to own a luxury car dealership. According to Black Enterprise, Fairwurst joins an extremely small group of minority women who own dealerships in North America. Black History Month.

Ellenae Fairhurst was born on January 6, 1943 in Dayton, Ohio to Jack J. Hart Sr. and Ellen Nora Hart. Fairhurst graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio in 1961. She earned her B.S. degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1965, and her M.A. degree in social and consumer psychology from the University of Detroit in 1973.

Fairhurst worked as a secretary for Motown Records and for the law firm of Goodman, Eden, & Robb, before she was hired in 1968 as a secretary at the Ford Motor Company. Fairhurst remained at Ford for seventeen years, where she served as a marketing research analyst and was promoted to project manager. She left her position in 1986, and joined the Chrysler Corporation, retail dealer development program. After two years with Chrysler, Fairhurst was named president and general manager of the Cumberland Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 1992, she sold her shares in the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership and purchased a Dodge dealership in Huntsville, Alabama. Fairhurst then purchased a Nissan Infiniti dealership in 1999 and became the first African American female in North America to own an Infiniti dealership. The same year, she became the first African American female owner of a Lexus dealership, which was located in Huntsville, Alabama. (The History Makers)

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