Don Barden, one of
A native of a
The Fitzgerald’s Hotel/Casino property became part of the Barden Developement Co. in 2003. The company also had properties in
As a successful African-American entrepreneur in
A bitter Barden told the Associated Press in a 1997 interview that “I’m on a mission to prove that a poor, young African-American from a very large family, from humble beginnings, can rise to the top in
Without question, Barden, with a background that included running a newspaper, a record shop, a nightclub, a cable system, as well as several casinos, rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful.
In entertainment, he traveled with the likes of Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin. In 1990, he even taught then President Bill Clinton a new dance step at a state dinner with South African President Nelson Mandela.
Advised of Barden’s passing, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said, “Don was a stalwart leader and businessman in this community, as well as a friend. We were aware of his longtime illness and dreaded this day. We send our condolences to his family.”