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Shantel Agnew

lawyer, businessman, and one of the first African American chief executive officers (CEO) of a Fortune 500 company. Chenault was born on Long Island, New York. His father, Hortenius Chenault, was a dentist, and his mother, Anne Chenault, was a dental hygienist. Kenneth Chenault graduated with numerous honors from Waldorf High School, a private school in Garden City, New York. He completed one year at Springfield College before transferring to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. There he earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1973. He earned a JD from Harvard Law School in 1976.

After he graduated from Harvard, Chenault was hired as an associate by the law firm Rogers and Wells in New York City. In 1979 he worked as a management consultant for Bain and Company despite not having a master s degree in business administration Chenault passed the Massachusetts bar ...

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Richard Sobel

lawyer and corporate leader, was born in Mineola, New York, to Hortenius Chenault, a dentist and a Morehouse and Howard University graduate, and Anne N. Quick, a dental hygienist and Howard alumna. The second of three brothers and one sister, Ken grew up in middle-class, mostly white Hempstead, Long Island, and attended the innovative, private Waldorf School in Garden City through twelfth grade. Although both his parents had graduated top in their classes, Kenneth was at first a middling student. He improved academically and became class president and captain of the track and basketball teams. He also avidly read biographies of famous people, including Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Winston Churchill.

Starting Springfield College on an athletic scholarship he transferred under the mentorship of Waldorf s Peter Curran to Bowdoin College in Maine There he joined two dozen black pioneers at the ...

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LaVerne Gray

minister, politician, educator, and writer. After serving as a U.S. representative from New York, Flake became the minister and leader of New York City's largest African American church, the Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral in Queens. He elevated the membership to over eighteen thousand and assisted the economic growth of the church through concentrated efforts in community development. In 2002 Flake became president of Wilberforce University, one the oldest historically black colleges, in Ohio. He worked in the private, educational, and government sectors while simultaneously serving in the church.

Floyd Harold Flake was born in Los Angeles, the third of thirteen children born to Robert Flake, a janitor, and Rosie Lee Flake a homemaker When Flake was still small the family relocated to Houston Texas Growing up Flake was resourceful and his parents stressed a strong work ethic He was always working delivering ...

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Daniel A. Dalrymple

At the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, the marketing executive Ann Fudge gained a reputation as a highly capable leader in the mostly white, male business world. She demonstrated a talent for reinventing and reinvigorating standard products threatened by trendy competitors. Through creative and thoughtful leadership in managing products such as Shake ’N Bake, Minute Rice, and Maxwell House Coffee, Fudge shattered the glass ceiling and demonstrated that there is room for both women and African Americans in the upper echelons of big business.

Ann Fudge was born in Washington, DC. Her father, Malcolm R. Brown, was a U.S. Postal Service administrator, and her mother, Bettye Lewis Brown was a National Security Agency manager Fudge attended Catholic schools in her hometown and secured a job while still in high school as an advisor on teen fashion to a local department store ...

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Alexia Hudson

the first African American chief executive officer of a major advertising firm. In the era when corporate America remained dominated by white males, Fudge defied the odds by ascending the ranks of General Foods to become responsible for the $5 billion Kraft division as president. Then she did something few women in her position would consider—she walked away from her coveted role to take a self-imposed sabbatical in 2001, considered a controversial move by many business analysts. Fudge further defied the odds by returning to work to head one of the world's largest advertising firms in 2003 as chief executive officer (CEO), a first for any African American.

Born Ann Marie Brown in Washington D C she was the elder of two children Her father was an administrator with the U S Postal Service and her mother was a manager at the National Security Agency Raised in a comfortable ...

Article

Amanda Harmon Cooley

businessperson, corporate executive, and educator. Dennis Fowler Hightower, the son of Marvin W. Hightower and Anna Virginia Hightower, was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in LeDroit Park, a neighborhood in the District of Columbia in which many other prominent African Americans, from Duke Ellington to the Reverend Jesse Jackson, have lived. As a child Hightower spent time at Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, which was established in 1921 by William N. DeBerry with the mission to help African American children. After graduating from McKinley High School at age sixteen, Hightower continued his studies at Howard University, earning a bachelor of science degree in 1962.

Then Hightower enlisted in the U S Army beginning an eight year military career that included active service in the Vietnam War His leadership advanced him to the rank of major by the age of twenty seven ...

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Kadeem Johnson

first African American Yale University football captain and corporate executive, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to Virginia-born parents, Adaline Hogan Jackson, a house cleaner, and George W. Jackson, a Yale dining hall chef. Not much is known about his childhood, but from his earliest years, Jackson became known for his athleticism and academic achievements.

He joined Hillhouse High School football team after he moved from Branford, Connecticut to New Haven. The Hillhouse football team was 0-7-1 the previous season. In his first year in 1943 he led the team to a perfect 7-0 season and rushed for 272 yards, scoring six touchdowns and adding four extra points in a 52-6 victory over their rival, West Haven. In 1945 Levi Jackson s senior year at Hillhouse the team s record was 7 1 He was selected for the All State team twice He also starred in basketball ...

Article

Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah

Ghanaian gold miner and business executive, was born in Kibi, a town in the Eastern Region of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), on 19 November 1949. His father, Thomas Jonah, was a veteran of the Second World War who had started his own construction business by the time Sam was born. His mother, Beatrice Sampson, was a housewife who sold homemade goods on the side. One of seven siblings and two cousins in the Jonah household, Jonah grew up in the mining town of Obuasi, where his father had relocated as a subcontractor for the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation (AGC/Ashanti Goldfields) in 1950. Sam Jonah received his secondary school education at the prestigious Adisadel College in Cape Coast between 1962 and 1969. After working for about a year as a laborer at the Ashanti Goldfields in 1969 he went on to study mine engineering at the Camborne ...

Article

Alexis D. McCoy

lawyer, civil rights activist, and political powerbroker. In his lifetime Jordan has assumed many roles, the most famous being adviser to President Bill Clinton. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr. was the second of three sons of Vernon Eulion Jordan, a postal clerk, and Mary Griggs Jordan, a successful caterer. The family lived in public housing until they purchased a house when Vernon was thirteen. Jordan graduated from David T. Howard High School with honors in 1953. After graduation he attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, one of five blacks in the entire student body. Graduating from DePauw in 1957 with a BA, Jordan attended Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C., graduating with his law degree in 1960.

While at Howard Law, Jordan met and married Shirley Yarbrough on 13 December 1958 The couple returned to Georgia where ...

Article

One of the most powerful, well-connected lawyers in the United States, Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr. has had a long, sometimes contradictory career. Few civil rights spokespeople of his generation have attained the kind of corporate and political influence Jordan has, an achievement that was enhanced by his position as a top adviser to and close friend of President Bill Clinton. Yet some critics charged that the former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) field secretary and Urban League president lost touch with his original goals: to improve the economic lives of African Americans.

Jordan was born in Atlanta, Georgia The middle son of a postal clerk and his wife a caterer he was deeply influenced by his mother s drive and business sense As a child he sometimes accompanied her to catering jobs where he observed Atlanta s white establishment especially the Lawyer s Club ...

Article

Theodore W. Eversole

U.S. ambassador and successful businessman. Born in Arkansas City, Kansas, Delano Eugene Lewis Jr. received a BA in political science from the University of Kansas in 1960 and a JD from Topeka's Washburn University School of Law in 1963. Following law school Lewis initially worked as an attorney in the Justice Department and with the U.S. Equal Opportunities Commission.

From 1965 to 1969 Lewis expanded his experience by serving in the Peace Corps, first as an associate country director in Nigeria and later as director in Uganda. Upon returning from overseas he remained with the Peace Corps as director of the East and South African divisions, a post that gave him particular insights into political conditions inside Africa.

After the Peace Corps, Lewis joined the staff of the District of Columbia's representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Walter Fauntroy, and remained there until 1973 This introduction to ...

Article

Everett Frederick Morrow was born in Hackensack, New Jersey. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1930 and then worked as a field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1952 Morrow became a consultant to Dwight D. Eisenhower's Republican presidential campaign and in 1955 became the first African American White House staff member when Eisenhower appointed him administrative officer for the Special Projects group, a position with little real responsibility. Morrow tried to use his position to turn Eisenhower's attention to civil rights matters, but he was largely frustrated in these efforts. He later campaigned for Richard Nixon's unsuccessful 1960 election bid. In 1964 Morrow became the first African American to work as a corporate executive for Bank of America.

See also Republican Party.

Article

Alexia Hudson

first African American chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch. Ernest Stanley (Stan) O'Neal's rise and the challenges he faced within corporate America epitomized the dichotomy of existence many African American executives face. He was often described as “aloof” and a “loner” by colleagues who also credited him for his leadership acumen, risk-taking ability, and vision. O'Neal demonstrated commitment to the African American community through his relationship with the National Urban League (NUL) and by allocating $10 million to promote financial literacy and homeownership. O'Neal personally facilitated a partnership between Merrill Lynch and the Carver Federal Savings Bank, the largest American black financial institution, in 2007. However, just two years earlier, a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by current and former brokers alleged that the Merrill Lynch provided limited opportunities for African Americans.

Raised in Wedowee Alabama the oldest of four children O Neal worked on his grandfather s farm picking ...

Article

Eunice Angelica Whitmal

entrepreneur and civic leader. Henry Green Parks Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His family later moved to Ohio for better economic opportunities. Parks majored in marketing at Ohio State University, where he shared a room with Jesse Owens. Before Parks graduated, an Ohio State counselor suggested that he “go to South America, where you will have a real chance.” Parks recalled saying that “he would not run from anything, least of all himself.”

In 1939 Parks graduated from Ohio State and took a job working as a manager and trainer for the Resident War Production Training Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. There he trained hundreds of youths for jobs in business. His interest in management led him to work in various capacities, including beverage marketer, advertisement representative, drugstore owner, cider block plant manager, and co-owner of Crayton Sausage Company. In 1944 he moved to Baltimore Maryland where ...

Article

James Kates

lawyer, political operative, and corporate executive. Richard Dean Parsons rose to the highest ranks in corporate America as head of Time Warner, the world's largest media company at the time. From modest beginnings, Parsons became a protégé of New York's Rockefeller family and won fame as a political strategist, negotiator, and consensus builder.

Parsons was born in Brooklyn, New York. From Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the Parsons family moved to the New York City borough of Queens, where young Richard went to school in an ethnically mixed setting that included Jews and Italian Americans. His father was a technician for Sperry Rand Corporation, and his mother was a homemaker; his grandfather had worked as a groundskeeper for the Rockefellers. A precocious student, Parsons skipped two grades and entered the University of Hawaii at age sixteen. He graduated from Albany Law School in 1971 achieving the highest score ...

Article

Theodore W. Eversole

business executive. The son of janitors, Franklin Delano Raines was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and attended Harvard University, where he received a BA in government, magna cum laude, in 1971. He then studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. Following his Oxford studies Raines went to Harvard Law School, where he received his JD in 1976.

After leaving Harvard his career advancement was meteoric: in short order he achieved important public offices within the Jimmy Carter administration, initially serving as associate director for economics and government in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and then serving from 1977 to 1979 as assistant director of White House domestic policy staff.

At the end of his White House tenure Raines joined the investment firm of Lazard, Freres, and Company, where he stayed for eleven years and became a partner. In 1991 he left the ...

Article

Scott Sheidlower

politician, activist, and entrepreneur. Percy Ellis Sutton was born near Prairie View in eastern Texas. He was youngest of fifteen children born to Samuel J. and Lillian Sutton. Samuel, a freed slave, was a Texas educator and businessman. After briefly running away to Harlem in 1932, Sutton returned and continued his education, attending Prairie View College, Virginia's Hampton Institute, and Alabama's Tuskegee Institute. He also learned how to fly, earning money by performing stunts at county fairs.

After World War II began Sutton attempted to enlist in the Army Air Corps in Texas but was turned down because of Jim Crow laws. Sutton enlisted in New York City but was unable to become a pilot because of illness. Instead he became a combat intelligence officer with the Tuskegee Airmen. Discharged in 1945 Sutton returned to New York where he attended Brooklyn Law School ...

Article

Percy Ellis Sutton was born in San Antonio, Texas. In the 1950s, after completing his education under the G.I. Bill, he opened a law firm in Harlem that specialized in civil rights cases. Sutton's political career began when he was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1964. He became president of the Manhattan Borough in 1966, a position he held through 1977. After an unsuccessful mayoral bid he retired from public office, but continued to be a prominent adviser to New York politicians, including United States Representative Charles Rangel and Mayor David Dinkins.

In 1971 Sutton began purchasing black-owned media businesses, becoming the owner and chairman of the Inner-City Broadcasting Company in 1977. Through this corporation he purchased and restored the Apollo Theater, a Harlem landmark. Sutton was awarded the Spingarn Medal for his work by the National Association for the ...