From Picking Cotton to Growing Families

From picking cotton article.jpeg

“Whatever you do will impact other people,” said Abdul Seraaj, owner of Seraaj Family Homes, Inc., a national foster care agency headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama.

Seraaj speaks from experience; the work he did in his youth for African American-owned businesses and African American entrepreneurs still impacts him today. He calls himself fortunate to have the experiences of picking cotton for African American farmers, working as a construction laborer for African American contractors like his brothers Van Woolfolk and David Woolfolk, and cleaning for William Penn’s African American owned cleaning service, especially as a Black man born in 1956.

“They were excellent role models,” said Seraaj. “I saw what it took. I didn’t fully understand, but I saw their work ethic. I had this burning desire to start my own business one day.”

As he grew older, Seraaj accepted Islam as his faith and realized that owning a business and engaging in business was a part of his faith, especially owning or engaging in businesses that serves humanity.

From Islam, he also learned a saying that made his purpose realized: “whatever comes easy to you is what you’re destined to do in life”. Seraaj says “serving humanity” – a part of his company’s motto − does not feel like work. His drive to continue working in foster care stems from the impact he sees his organization has on the youth and families they help, including: reuniting youth with their families, facilitating countless adoptions, and providing safe and stable homes for youth while they finish their education and prepare for adulthood.

Seraaj says that working for African American-owned and wholesome businesses in his youth positively affected his psyche.

“We need [moral] wealth creation; we need people to create wealth from things other than gambling and immoral things that hurt our community like alcohol and drugs,” said Seraaj. “If that’s the only thing kids see, that’s the only way they’ll think they can make it.”

As the owner of a company that serves a large population of Black youth in foster care, Seraaj hopes he is doing the same for youth within his community. He sees some of the results now from the phone calls and emails he receives from former foster youth, from the aspirations of the youth he works with at his newest company The Grandma Home House Retreat, and even the inspired comments from his current and former employees.

Through his businesses, Seraaj is recycling inspiration and churning out motivation, just as his entrepreneurial role models did for him in his youth/


BlackTie Magazine is a lifestyle magazine based in Montgomery Alabama from the African American perspective. The culture of the publication is set on helping locals get informed, get inspired, and get involved. At BlackTie Magazine, we understand that there are many positive and inspirational people of color doing big things in the area, which is why we created a platform where we can help celebrate and honor those who are doing just that!

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