A Walk Down Wall Street: A Modern History of Black Achievement in the Financial Markets

Black Enterprise, October 2006 | Go to article overview

A Walk Down Wall Street: A Modern History of Black Achievement in the Financial Markets


For decades, African Americans have worked on Wall Street--the center of high finance--and gained wealth and power while overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. Here's a 100k back at more than 50 years of milestones achieved by African Americans on The Street.

1949: Thorvald McGregor and Lawrence L. Lewis are considered the first blacks to become registered stockbrokers.

1950: Brokerage house F. L. Salomon opens a branch at Harlem's legendary Hotel Theresa and hires black stockbrokers in an attempt to attract investments from African American lawyers. doctors and professionals.

1952: Norman McGhee launches his investment firm. McGhee & Co., which is believed to be the first black-owned firm to obtain a National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) license.

1953: Lilia St. John becomes the first black woman to pass the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) exam to work for Openheimer & Co.

1955: Philip Jenkins co-founds Special Markets Inc., the first black-owned and operated brokerage located in the Wall Street financial district. His reputation was held in such high regard that the black press dubbed him "The Wizard of Wall Street." [1]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1967: Investment pioneer Norman McGhee launches what is believed to be the first black-owned mutual fund, the Everyman Fund.

1968: Russell Goings becomes the first black branch manager for Shearson Hammill Inc.'s Harlem branch. He eventually buys the branch from the firm and renames it First Harlem Securities. [2]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1970: Joseph L. Searles III becomes the first black floor member of the NYSE. However, because of a downturn in the market, Searles would have to relinquish his seat in less than a year.

1970: Henry Parks becomes the first African American CEO to take his company, Parks Sausage, public. The food manufacturer was listed on NASDAQ. [3]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1971: Johnson Products Co., the nation's largest black haircare products manufacturer, becomes the first black-owned company to be traded on the American Stock Exchange. [4]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1971: Daniels & Bell becomes the first black firm to purchase a seat on the NYSE. Later that year, black-owned First Harlem Securities would also become a NYSE member firm. [5]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1973: Maynard Jackson is elected mayor of Atlanta. Through the implementation of his minority business set-aside program, several black investment banks are tapped to underwrite municipal bonds and establish national reputations. Jackson's model is replicated by other big-city mayors and federal agencies. [6]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1974: Henry Parker is elected the state treasurer of Connecticut. …

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