Charles T. Burns' parents wanted him to become a lawyer. Instead, the Morgan graduate got into the numbers racket after seeing his first cousin, Thurgood Marshall, unable to find legal work.
Yet when Mr. Burns opened his first grocery store in 1938 on Baltimore's Madison Avenue, he insisted, "In any business it is not a question of color, it is a question of giving people what they want, when they want it, accompanied by equal and better service."
In 1970, Mr. Burns bought a bankrupt supermarket. When he died Sunday at 76, he had built Super Pride Markets into the country's largest black owned-and-operated supermarket chain.
"When I get into business, I don't look at the profits that can be made, but at the loss I can take," Charlie Burns used to say. Not for nothing was he known as "The Fox."