Lawrence Ross/The Root

Until the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, most hotels and motels actively discriminated against blacks. And hotel and motel ownership was a rare instance unless the building was completely built by the African-American hotel owner from the ground up (more on that later). The idea that blacks would own a corporate hotel franchise was unthinkable.

And yet, in 2017, we have a number of African-American investors who own multiple hotel properties across the country, and you probably didn’t even know it. In total, African-American investors own more than 1,000 different hotels across the country, and Wednesday night, I spent the night in one of them.

Lawrence Ross/The Root

Right next to the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in Irving, Texas, sits the 153-room Courtyard Marriott at 4949 Regent Blvd., owned by Marriott International’s first African-American franchisee, Bill Deramus. The Prairie View A&M grad now leads Capstone Development, which now owns 25 major hotel franchises across the country.

Lawrence Ross/The Root

My experience? Excellent. The albacore tuna croissant sandwich with red quinoa salad (yeah, I know, but I’m from California, so sue me) was perfect. They had a full bar, and although I didn’t have a drink, I could see rolling in here just to chill and watch a game. It was first class all the way, and I added another $199 to my black business spending. Three days in and I’m at $273, with more to come.