The Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce celebrated its first president by naming its office building for him Monday. James E. Clingman Jr. served as chamber president from 1996 to 2000, playing a major role in the organization acquiring a space from Huntington Bank in Walnut Hills. Clingman’s vision was vital in shaping the African American business community, president and CEO Eric H. Kearney said in a news release. “The African American Chamber has grown in scope and importance to the Cincinnati business community largely due to Jim’s efforts,” Kearney said. “We continue to advocate for African American business interests throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Our accomplishments are many and by honoring the efforts of those who have shaped our past, we secure our future.”
About 100 community members joined the chamber’s board in the building dedication. Clingman said the Chamber’s growth has been a collaborative effort. “It’s the combined vision of the men and women who gathered together 20 years ago at a minority-owned business, Integrity Hall, to give shape to what has been embraced and transformed through the years,” he said. Kearney also acknowledged other founders and past presidents, including Loretta Allen, Rev. Craig Edwards, Wenona Johnson, Steven Reece, Jim Curry, DeAsa Nichols, Steve R. Love and Sean Rugless. The building dedication comes as the chamber celebrates 20 years of work in the local African American business community.