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Angela Black

attorney and philanthropic foundation president, was born in New York City to James Thomas, a laborer, and Viola (Atherley) Thomas, a housekeeper. Thomas grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, the youngest of six children in a close-knit family of West Indies heritage. When Franklin was eleven years old his father died, and his mother took a second job during World War II as a machinist to support the family. However, when the war ended and the soldiers returned home, many companies replaced the minorities and women they had hired with war veterans, and Thomas's mother lost her machinist position.

Despite the violent atmosphere in his neighborhood Thomas was a well adjusted child socially and academically He was a Boy Scout and an excellent student who maintained high course marks By the time he entered Franklin J Lane High School he stood six feet four ...


Franklin Thomas grew up in Brooklyn, New York's Bedford-Stuyvesant community and graduated with a B.A. in 1956 and a law degree in 1963, both from Columbia University. He worked stints as an attorney with the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency, with the District Attorney's Office, and with the Police Department. From 1967 to 1977 he was President of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, working on business, job, and housing development in his home neighborhood. He was named the President of the Ford Foundation in 1979, the first African American to hold this position, and he remained in this post until 1996. Thomas later became head of the TFF Study Group, which assists development in southern Africa. In 2001 he chaired the board that directed the activities of the September 11th Fund and the September 11th Telethon Fund Thomas is an advisor to the Secretary General of ...