Now that I’ve introduced The Black Belt Soap Company, let me introduce myself. I’m Dr. Temeka L. Carter, founder and CEO, born and raised in The Black Belt area of Alabama. Upon earning a Doctorate of Philosophy in 2009, I told my friends and family they didn’t necessarily have to call me “Dr.,” as I am not hung up on titles, “just for title’s sake.” I did not plan on changing who I was on the inside. My core values remained in tact, as I have always held a deep interest in uplifting my community. I painstakingly earned a doctorate and deserve all the accolades derived from such an exalted accomplishment, especially having been a first-generation college student from a poor, rural county. What I was trying to convey to my loved ones was that instead of me getting caught up in the superficiality of the title and hiding behind it, I simply wanted to show that my good works were “doctoring” on society and helping to solve problems. Through The Black Belt Soap Company, I am implementing the practical application of my ideas to enhance individuals and communities.
Most of my academic interests center on the concept of cultivating humanity, in which I believe begins with loving and developing oneself in hopes of extending that care to others. Through university classes that I teach in Liberal Studies, I work to inspire personal greatness within students. My humanitarian ideas carry over in the business realm, which allows for the creation of social entrepreneurism that expands the boundaries of the “ivory tower” of academia. When individuals improve their own lives, by default and over time, the world becomes a better place. Through my social projects, I am living Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The Black Belt Soap Company is more than just soap. It is a means of self-enhancement, self-determination, and community uplift. In 2002, a special report by The Birmingham News considered The Black Belt “Alabama’s Third World,” as it is one of the poorest areas of the state and country. My company is giving back to the community of beautiful people who are rich in spirit and determination.
I implore you to take this humanitarian journey with me.