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April 1, 2006

Albany -- The National Urban League recently released its annual state of Black America Report. The study measures problems and progress among African Americans.

One thing the study found isn't something new... the largest gap between blacks and whites remains economic equality. It found on average the net worth of blacks is only a tenth of that of whites in the country.

Some African American business owners say racial lines should not hinder a person's drive to succeed.

Hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude has gotten Warren Watson where he is today.

"You gotta have your goals set real high. A lot of them don't have their goals set high. You don't just open up and think it's gonna boom, but it don't work like that," said business owner Warren Watson.

The self-proclaimed entreprenuer has been in business for himself the past 16 years. Now he owns two shops with his wife... Top of the Line Communications and Top of the Line Hairstyles.

 "My wife wanted me to be more involved in what she was doing, so I started barbering. After I got tired of barbering. I decided to get into the telecommunications business, and I've been in it for three years now," said Top of the Line owner Warren Watson.

Watson's stores add to the increasing number of black-owned businesses in the nation.

Minority rights advocate Bill Wright says African Americans can increase the success rates as well.

"The single biggest thing has to be getting people of color to support black business, to support their own," said Albany NAACP President Bill Wright.

Warren Watson's message is to mold the future of black America for success.

"If the elders get on board and do what they gotta do to help them instead of giving up on them, I think young people have a better chance at life," said Watson.

It was taking that chance long ago, that rings in Watson's success today.

Despite the economic divide between races, black business ownership is up. For every two and a half white businesses, there is one African American owned business.

The State of Black America report has been coming out annually since the 1970s.

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