Roanoke, Virginia – The real backbone of our community are people who often remain nameless and ungrateful.
St. Patrick Wright, owner of Wright’s Refrigeration and A / C Service, says he was one of the few black business owners when he opened his business in the 1970s.
“I was the first, as far as I know, black man to start such a business,” Wright said.
Serving customers of all races and backgrounds, Wright says there were problems, but the community welcomed him.
“You have to be twice as good because everyone thinks you’re not capable of it,” Wright said. “It doesn’t really matter whether you’re black or white, if you have experience, clientele and business thought.”
Mr. Wright, who was born in 1942, also served his family and community. He says he later taught his profession at Western Community College of Virginia and VA Medical Center.
“He paid his dues,” said his son, Philip Wright. “Icons are there, but over time you don’t want to forget them because they paved the way for others.”
In the place where his business once stood, on 10th Street and Andrews Road, now stands a park.
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