Longtime businessman Virgil Sparks, died on Monday, February 13th.
Sparks was a source of pride for the African American community when he became the first African-American in Monroe to open a used car dealership in 1974.
He was a proponent of building black businesses and helped to form the Black Business Alliance in the late 1970’s and 80’s. Working with other black businessmen, Sparks helped other businesses get on their feet, loaned money and contributed to community causes, civil rights litigations and community improvements.
Sparks North 18th Street location was a particular source of pride for the African-American community because he operated outside of the traditional African-American geographic area. His lot sold cars to both blacks and whites, which was a new venture for Blacks in Monroe.
He was a respected member of the Black business community. Others attempted to duplicate his success in the used car business, but most failed in their business.
His trailblazing efforts paved the way for others to follow with the opening of Fisher-Harris Used Cars in 1996. New car dealerships owned by John Hall at Northpoint and Aneas Williams dealership followed a few years later.
It was Virgil Sparks however, who paved the way in the auto sales business in Monroe.
He was a man for his generation.
Funeral arrangements for Sparks will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at the Hester Central State Funeral Home.
Burial will be at the Richwood Memorial Gardens in Richwood, La.
Visitation will be Wednesday, February 14, 2018, from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Hester’s Central State Funeral Home.