Making History on Wall Street. (Publisher's Page)

By Graves, Earl, G., Sr. | Black Enterprise, October 2002 | Go to article overview

Making History on Wall Street. (Publisher's Page)


Graves, Earl, G., Sr., Black Enterprise


Wall Street has long been recognized as the capital of free-market America and the seat of global financial power. For Africa Americans, The Street is also a powerful symbol of our complex history and continuing struggle for full and equal access to economic power. As detailed by Gregory S. Bell in Black Enterprise in The Black: A History of African Americans On Wall Street (John Wiley & Sons, $24.95), four centuries ago, our enslaved ancestors literally built the streets and structures, including the landmark Trinity Church, which comprise much of today's Wall Street. The discovery of a "Negro burial ground" by construction workers in 1991 brought global attention to the fact that black people labored, lived, died, and were bought and sold in the area of lower Manhattan now known as Wall Street.

That is why the significance of the executives and entrepreneurs on our latest listing of top African Americans on Wall Street cannot be overstated. Our 2002 list of the BLACK ENTERPRISE Wall Street All-Stars has expanded to 50 people, up from the 25 featured in our 1992 and 1996 lists. As recently as 20 years ago, it would have been easy to publish this list on a single page in this magazine. Today, despite the intense pressures, high turnover rates, and brutal performance standards of the finance industry, African Americans are continuing to move forward, shattering barriers to advancement, and raising the bar of excellence. Two of the executives on this year's list, Fannie Mae's Franklin D. Raines and American Express Kenneth I. Chenault, are CEOs of multinational corporations with serious impact on the markets. A third, E. Stanley O'Neal, will take over as CEO of Merrill Lynch in December, making him the first African American to lead a major Wall Street firm.

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