(Updated 3/12/15)

A Salute to Women's History Month 2015


African American Women Pioneer Car Dealers

There were two African-American women who should receive
special recognition for their pioneering efforts. They are:
Barbara Wilson & Jacqueline Edgar

After graduating from Prairie View A & M University in Texas, she moved to Detroit in 1962 where she met her husband, Porterfield, who was in the used car business. He was appointed the Pontiac dealer in Detroit in December, 1970.
At that time, she was working in the accounting department of GM. But with the acquisition of Pontiac, the decision was made for her to join her husband and learn the business the 'old fashioned way, by doing it" - - doing anything and everything to make the business successful.

During this period, they acquired GMC Truck. In March of 1979, the Wilson's, were approached by Honda to be their dealer in Ferndale which they accepted. Barbara Wilson was shown as the President and Dealer Operator on the sales and service agreement along with her husband as dealer principals. She managed the business on a day to day basis.

When Porterfield died in 1989, the Pontiac dealership was closed, and Barbara devoted her full attention to successfully managing Ferndale Honda which she did until 1996. History will record Barbara Wilson as the first African-American woman to appear as a dealer principle in the automotive retail business.

Barbara Wilson

Born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, Jacqueline Edgar, known as "Miss Jackie" to all, never thought she would one day become a successful owner of a new car dealership. Being black and female, "it just wouldn't happen".
Although she had a job in a local grocery store, she made the decision to become a salesperson believing she had the talent to sell cars and make a good living to support her family. The Lincoln-Mercury dealer in New Ibernia provided her that opportunity (1974) and eventually she became a top salesperson.

In 1977, she joined J. P. Thibodeau Honda-Cadillac. Because of her strong sales abilities, he suggested she join GM's Training Program. She declined because it would have represented a cut in pay which she could not afford. For the next several years, she stayed in the car business absorbing all she could about managing the 'business'.

In 1982, she was approached by GM to determine her interest in becoming the Chevrolet dealer in Jeanerette. Although losing money, it was believed that her knowledge of the market (only nine miles from her home) and selling talents, she could turn the operation into a profit.

After much negotiation, she made an offer which was accepted and history was made. She was the first African-American woman to be the sole owner of a new car dealership. Another historical event occurred.
In 1985, she was contacted by Ford's New Orleans office about a possible interest in the Ford dealership in Breaux Bridge, a bigger opportunity. She was, and under Ford's Dealer Development Plan, she invested $50,000 in 1986 and now owned two domestic dealerships.

After two years, she sold the Chevrolet dealership and focused her total energies on the Ford business. In 1995, she secured an RV line and opened a separate RV/Truck operation which has been highly successful. She remains in the retail business today. Jacqueline "Miss Jackie" Edgar demonstrated that neither color nor sex is a factor in being a successful entrepreneur.

Jacqueline Edgar

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