Robbins seeks to make SB Fuller's former home a museum

SB Fuller started his business with $25 in 1935 buying soap and then selling it door to door.

Video Transcript

WILL JONES: SB Fuller started his business with $25 in 1935, buying soap, and then selling it door-to-door. Fuller Products Company expanded with a line of cosmetics. His business empire grew to include real estate and newspapers. Fuller employed thousands of people in Chicago and across the country. Martin Fuller Casey says his grandfather never forgot his humble beginnings in Louisiana.

MARTIN FULLER CASEY: He made a promise to God. He said, God, if you get me out of poverty, and let me get rich, I will spend the rest of my life teaching others.

WILL JONES: Fuller was very vocal about Black advancement, and at times, his critical statements garnered controversy within the Black community. It led to a boycott of his products. The company lost millions of dollars.

MARTIN FULLER CASEY: A lot of people took offense to what he had to say, especially the NAACP, the Urban League. They turned on him, and he was members of these organizations.

WILL JONES: Fuller passed away at 83, in 1988. The Robbins Historical Society is looking to turn Fuller's former 4,000 square-foot-home in Robinson into a museum.

TYRONE HAYMORE: It was donated to us about 3 and 1/2 years ago. And it's badly damaged.

WILL JONES: They're trying to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate the house. Landmarks Illinois awarded the Robbins Historical Society a grant to help with the project.

BONNIE MCDONALD: The home in Robbins helps to tell the story about SB Fuller as not only one of the nation's most prominent and successful black entrepreneurs, but one of the nation's most successful entrepreneurs period.

WILL JONES: Casey believes the story of SB Fuller needs to be shared with young people to inspire them to reach their potential.

MARTIN FULLER CASEY: That's a big thing Mr. Fuller used to stress. You've got to know your history. You've got to know whose shoulders you stand on.

WILL JONES: In Robbins, Will Jones, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.