By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9
Ephren Taylor is not yet a household name in this country, but there's a good chance he will be, not because he's black, and not because he's so young, but because of what he's doing.
At 25 years old, Ephren Taylor, CEO of City Capital Corporation, is just a few years older than the Langston students he ate lunch with today, and yet already 13 years removed from his first commercial venture.
"Ended up creating, ya know, video games at the age of 12, started selling them to my peers and students," Taylor said.
By the 8th grade, Ephren was getting paid to design Web sites. In high school he had a $3.5 million internet company, then started finding his real passion was community activism, and buying up houses in inner cities.
"Cause I read about a theory that said, ‘The less broken windows you have on a block, the crime rate drops', I figured that's an easy solution," Taylor said. "Just replace the windows, drop the crime rate. Why pay all the money for the police, when you can put people in these house, make them affordable? And, so that's what we started doing."
Taylor's success has put him in a class of African-Americans that schools like Langston hope to tap into, especially this month when there's added focus on black culture and its place in America.
"If you look at the American public education system, most of the things that you're going to see is something that begins with slavery and you might sprinkle a little Martin Luther King, and that's about it," Marc Flemon of Langston University said. "But, black people in America have contributed to a lot of the overall success in this country."
Ephren Taylor, of course, is contributing now, which is why Langston's president asked him to come speak to her students.
"You know, it's okay to be a role model, but my thing is to empower other young people, to show that Ephren is not an anomaly," Taylor said. "You know, the other individuals out there are not an anomaly. This is something that can happen, not only for African-American youth, but for youth across the country."
And really, this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what Ephren told me he's working on.
And it's not too late for people to see and hear Taylor in person. He's speaking and doing a book-signing at 7:00 p.m. Thursday in the atrium at Langston University.
To view an extended interview with Taylor, click on the featured video to the right.