Sidney Preston Dones was a man of many skills. He was an insurance agent, music dealer, filmmaker, actor, and money lender. Dones also did a lot of investing in real estate.
Dones was well-respected throughout the community and was largely responsible for solidifying Black enterprise on Central Avenue. In 1914, he organized the Sidney P. Dones Company and set up shop at 8th and Central, next door to the Black-owned newspaper, The California Eagle. His company dealt mainly in real estate but also offered insurance and legal services.
Dones was born on February 18, 1888, in Marshall, Texas. In 1915, Dones was recognized as Los Angeles’ most popular young businessman. He married in 1913 to Bessie Williams and the two had two children together. However, he would marry three other times.
By 1916, Dones had opened up the Booker T. Washington Building which was a three-story building with shops on the sidewalk level and apartments.
As an actor and director, Dones is known for the films Loyal Hearts which was originally titled Injustice (1919), Reformation (1920), and The Ten Thousand Dollar Trail (1921). Sidney P. Dones died at the age of 59 on August 2, 1947, in Los Angeles, California.