Stephen P. Hargrave

Visionary Overseer

Stephen P. Hargrave is a community activist, author, founder of Hustlin’ Backward Corporation, and Visionary Overseer of Real Black Excellence. As an honorably discharged Air Force serviceman (having worked as military police, dispatcher, and nuclear weapons guard/transporter) Brother Stephen’s life has been marked by responsibility, authority, and leadership under pressure.

He is an entrepreneur and owner/operator of Brothers’ Barbershop in Muncie. He is a dynamic and effective public and motivational speaker, conducting insightful lessons and workshops, and imparting practical wisdom and guidance for everyday living. As a spiritual mentor, Brother Stephen provides compassionate counseling and support to families in crisis, offering hope and restoration. Combining his exceptional leadership skills and his ability to inspire others, he strives to bring about positive transformation within individuals and communities.

Robert E. Ewing, Jr.

Executive Overseer

Robert E. Ewing, Jr. is a native of Muncie, Indiana, who grew up in both the south-side Industry neighborhood (Crosstown) and the Whitley neighborhood. In 2004, he married his high school sweetheart and together they share a son and a daughter. Brother Rob has been an activist in the community for over five years, advocating for our neighborhood youth and passionately pleading for more community involvement.

Brother Rob understands the challenges and obstacles that inner-city youth face—having seen firsthand the lack of resources and opportunities available to black children—and has been deeply burdened about single parent households and the absence of strong black fathers in our neighborhoods. Seeing this void, he helped co-found a nonprofit organization called Young Men’s Restoration Academy, focusing on young black men in the community. Since 2017, YMRA has been teaching African American history, the importance of community, respect and love for one another, self-identity, and many other principles that build strong young men.

Ernest Benion, Jr.

Executive Director of Operations

Ernest Benion, Jr. has a history of success. A former Division I scholar-athlete from the University of Illinois, he was the Male Athlete of the Year, an NCAA National Wrestling Champion, a Big Ten Conference Champion, and Huff Award Winner (recognized for maintaining academic excellence). After graduating, he began a short career as an Assistant Wrestling Coach at the prestigious University of Oklahoma, where he was a part of guiding the team to the Big Twelve Conference Championships, three wrestlers to National Championships, and nine wrestlers to All-American status (two eventual US National Team Members).

After a dynamic spiritual conversion, the Lord led Brother Ernest in the direction of his life’s calling, and he subsequently began working with children in the Oklahoma City schools. For his outstanding work as a PE teacher he was recruited to work for the nonprofit program, Schools for Healthy Lifestyles. There he was able to combine his passion for fitness and nutrition with his love of teaching and learning. Shortly afterwards he launched his corporate career, climbing the franchise ranks of Relax the Back—from an entry-level store sales consultant to the Director of Retail Sales and Training Program. With consistent commendation from franchisors, he was noted for his articulate approach to teaching the sales model, for creating conceptual models applicable to daily sales goals, and for his collaborative, humble approach to the franchise/franchisor relationship. Brother Ernest is a perpetually developing, consummate instructor who is tenacious for success.

Marcus A. Benion

Associate Executive Overseer

Marcus A. Benion is an accomplished project manager and educator. After graduating from the University of Purdue, he took his first job with Shawnee
Construction and Engineering, learning practical application of the construction process from both the office and field perspectives, before moving to Nucor Building Systems. There he excelled first as Project Estimator, taking hundreds of projects from inception to sale. While in this role he trained customers on the proprietary pricing software at Nucor, earning regular recognition among team members as a premier trainer. Marcus eventually took the position of Sales Team Product Owner for Nucor’s IT department. There he led and successfully completed the multimillion-dollar conversion of their proprietary software into a branded software across Nucor’s four brands of buildings. This extensive project required coordination and training for several hundred team members located across the country, many with differing needs to prioritize and manage.

Brother Marcus assisted in developing the RBE Bootcamp initiative, subsequently acting as an instructor through five senior camps and two junior camps. He has also instructed at Young Men’s Restoration Academy and RBE’s history class. As Associate Executive Overseer of Real Black Excellence, he manages and participates in all performances and reenactments.

Devin Carter

Director of Human Relations

Devin J. Carter is a forty-two-year native resident of Muncie. During his early teenage years, he struggled to understand his identity, leading to behavioral issues that culminated in a year in the juvenile detention system. His time in “the system” made a lasting impression and contributed to his current perspective that “if a child has structure, he can accomplish far more than a child just left to himself to rip and run in the streets.”

Soon after graduating high school, he met his wife Teresa Carter, and they were blessed with two beautiful children. In 2008, Brother Devin came to a pivotal experience, in which he was faced with the decision whether to continue on “a path of self-sabotage” or take the council of an individual that “to this day had profound effect” on his life. After taking that wise counsel, he began recognizing the extent of the terrible condition of his community. The realization that he had contributed to the perpetuation of
problems in the community moved him so much that he, in a three-way partnership with a longtime friend and advocate of the community, and their spiritual leader, started a program called Young Men’s Restoration Academy, using their own resources to cultivate a sense of community among young men from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In an effort to counteract the epidemic of drugs and violence plaguing his community, and burdened by a recognition that concentrating solely on raising his own family is not enough to make a difference for the other young black men being snatched up by the streets, jail, and death, Brother Devin’s goal is to ensure that all young people have an opportunity to be the best that they can possibly be.

Derek King

Educational Overseer

Derek King graduated from Southside High School and came back to Muncie after college. He is employed as the computers teacher at Southside Middle School. Brother Derek was recognized by The Star Press, an arm of Muncie’s local media, as one of the few black teachers in the Muncie Community School District. Many of the schools where he has taught have predominantly served African American students. Being from the area helps him connect with his students, giving them hope and showing them that they can rise above their circumstances. He wants his students, especially his black students, to have big dreams for the future, and to develop into responsible members of society, knowing that “we are all black history, every day.”

Megan A. Benion

Matriarchal Director

Megan A. Benion is a Muncie resident with a passion for the advancement of African American youth. As Matriarchal Director of Real Black Excellence, Sister Megan’s main burden lies in expanding the agricultural knowledge of the community, providing opportunities to local youth and their parents to work together with Negasi Gardens and Agricultural Experience. She has partnered with Concrete Rose to develop programs for the youth, and has labored at RBE Bootcamp, where she put her project development skills to work in creating activities for the trainees to learn leadership, teamwork, and problem solving. Sister Megan began her teaching career when she took her first Sunday School class at the age of fourteen. She has continued to teach and create opportunities for Muncie youth to learn about their African American history.

Rachel G. Tocholke

Matriarchal Coordinator

Rachel G. Tocholke is the personal assistant and secretary for Stephen P. Hargrave, and Matriarchal Coordinator for Real Black Excellence, creating and organizing systems of operation for maximal efficiency. She excels at communication—specifically, connecting people. Sister Rachel has fifteen years of teaching experience, including five years as Head Teacher, and has educated over two hundred students. She helped pioneer and establish a school in the Philippines for underprivileged youth; that school has now been in operation for twelve years and has expanded to three locations on two different islands. Many of her former students have gone on to college and are now teachers, business owners, salesmen, nurses, barbers, pilots, missionaries, pastors, deacons, firefighters, EMTs, construction workers, activists, authors, singers, and parents.

Sister Rachel has a passion for nutrition and wellness, and loves catering and coordinating large events, specializing in organizing school cafeterias and providing well-balanced, nutritious menus. She also has extensive experience in organizing and cooking for after-school and summer programs.

Because of her love for children and for serving underprivileged families, Sister Rachel has been helping busy mothers for over eighteen years, working as a nanny and seamstress, and owning and operating a cleaning business. Additionally, she provides nutrition and wellness plans for families needing assistance. Her expertise is making sure people have what they need.

Sasha King

Matriarchal Developer

Sasha King is the founder and CEO of Concrete Rose, an empowerment and leadership program focused on African American history and scholastic achievement. She is tireless and sacrificial, working with compassion, patience, and persistence for the improvement of youth in the community. Sister King and her husband Derek continue to play an integral role in the development of Real Black Excellence.

Visit our Education page to meet the Student EngageMent Activists!