The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Peter Blair Henry

Economist and academic administrator Peter Blair Henry was born on July 30, 1969 in Kingston, Jamaica to George Henry and Caroll Henry. After moving to Wilmette, Illinois with his family at age nine, Henry attended New Trier High School. He earned his B.A. degree with distinction and highest honors in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991. A Rhodes Scholar, Henry graduated from Oxford University with his B.A. degree in mathematics in 1993, and went on to receive his Ph.D. degree in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997.

Henry worked as a consultant to the Governor of The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in 1994. The following year, he worked as a consultant to the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica. In 1997, Henry became an assistant professor of economics at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He was promoted to associate professor of economics with tenure in 2005, becoming the first tenured African American professor at the Graduate School of Business. He obtained a full professorship in 2007, and was named the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of International Economics in 2008. That same year, he led the external economic advisory group for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. After the election, Henry served on President Obama’s transition team as leader of the review of international lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and was appointed to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships the following year. In 2010, Henry became the first African American dean, and the youngest dean, of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He served in the position for eight years, becoming Dean Emeritus in 2018 and continuing as William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Finance.

In 2013, Henry released his first book, Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth. Henry also published numerous articles on international economics, including “Debt Relief,” with Serkan Arslanalp, in the Journal of Economic Perspectives (2006); “Capital Account Liberalization: Theory, Evidence, and Speculation” in the Journal of Economic Literature (2007); and “Institutions vs. Policies: A Tale of Two Islands,” with Conrad Miller, in the American Economic Review (2009). Henry was named to the Citigroup Board of Directors in 2015 and the Board of Directors of Nike in 2018. He also served on the Board of Directors of General Electric from 2016 to 2018.

In 2014, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Henry established the Ph.D. Excellence Initiative, a post-baccalaureate program designed to address underrepresentation in economics by mentoring exceptional students of color interested in pursuing doctoral studies in the field.

Henry and his wife, Lisa J. Nelson, have four children.

Peter Blair Henry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 29, 2016 and January 18, 2017.

Accession Number

A2016.088

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/29/2016 |and| 1/18/2017

Last Name

Henry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Blair

Schools

Avoca West Elementary School

Marie Murphy School

New Trier Township High School

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Oxford

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

Kingston

HM ID

HEN07

Favorite Season

Christmas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Spain - Andalusia, Ghana

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/30/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Jamaica

Favorite Food

Jerk pork

Short Description

Economist and academic administrator Peter Blair Henry (1969 - ) served on President Barack Obama’s 2008 transition team, and on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. In 2010, he became the youngest and first African American dean of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Employment

New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences

Favorite Color

Blue

Roger Ferguson

Economist and lawyer, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. was born on October 28, 1951 in Washington, D.C. ‘s northeast section. His father was a U.S. Army mapmaker and his mother was a public school teacher. Ferguson became interested in economics and finance at an early age. His father was an avid investor and traveled to the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Virginia to purchase treasury securities. Ferguson attended public schools in D.C. and high school at Sidwell Friends School, a co-educational Quaker day school. He obtained his B.A. degree in economics from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude. He then spent a year in England as a Frank Knox Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Ferguson obtained his J.D. degree cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1979 and in 1981 his Ph.D. degree in economics from Harvard University.

Ferguson worked as an attorney for the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardell, LLP in New York before becoming an associate and ultimately a partner at McKinsey & Company Inc., where he served as director of research and information systems and managed a variety of studies for financial institutions. In 1997, Ferguson joined the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, becoming the third African American in history to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. In 1999, Ferguson was appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the first African American to serve in that role. His duties as vice chairman included heading a committee that proposed methods to improve Federal Reserve communication. Ferguson also served as chairman of the Group of Ten Working Party of Financial Sector Consolidation, chairman of the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS), and the chairman of the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) during his tenure as vice chairman.

In 2006, Ferguson resigned as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and in 2008 joined the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) as CEO and President. He has served as economic advisor to President Obama, initially as a member of the President-elect’s Transition Economic Advisory Board and subsequently as a member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Ferguson has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Bond Market Association, an honorary Fellowship at Pembroke College, the William F. Butler Memorial Award from the New York Association for Business Economics, the Renaissance Award from the Abyssinian Development Corporation, and the Frederick Heldering Global Leadership Award from the Global Interdependence Center. He also holds honorary doctorates from Lincoln College, Webster University, Michigan State University, Washington and Jefferson College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 2009, Ferguson received The “Visionary Award” from the Council for Economic Education and the “Good Scout Award” from the Greater New York Boy Scout Council. Ferguson is married to former United States Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Annette Nazareth. They have two children.

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers<\em> on May 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.118

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/30/2012

Last Name

Ferguson

Maker Category
Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Schools

Sidwell Friends School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

Charles E. Young Elementary School

River Terrace Elementary School

Jefferson Middle School Academy

First Name

Roger

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

FER03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Vermont

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/28/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

French Fries

Short Description

Economist and lawyer Roger Ferguson (1951 - ) was the president and chief executive officer of the TIAA-CREF and served as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System.

Employment

McKinsey and Company

Davis, Polk & Wardell, LLP

United States Federal Reserve System

Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association

Swiss Re America Holding Corporation

International Flavors and Fragrances

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:8470,160:9728,176:10986,186:14982,262:15500,269:15796,274:29650,455:30420,469:31680,490:32730,508:33710,528:37000,586:51525,755:53625,796:53925,801:59400,895:60000,904:62550,950:63900,982:64425,991:66450,1035:67650,1081:76825,1205:78750,1244:80521,1273:81060,1282:83832,1344:84602,1357:84910,1362:86835,1393:92244,1423:92706,1431:96138,1515:96600,1525:98118,1553:112913,1825:113717,1839:114253,1848:125600,2076$0,0:4750,137:5130,143:6080,155:14918,261:16013,306:16451,313:17035,323:19234,336:19690,345:24402,424:26150,457:26530,464:27974,487:33124,540:34974,572:35640,583:40450,691:41264,708:53618,813:54392,823:54908,830:56972,902:57488,909:61252,943:62595,964:63385,976:64017,985:65676,1024:66071,1030:72439,1117:75427,1156:76510,1162:76790,1167:79660,1249:80010,1255:80360,1261:80780,1268:81480,1281:81970,1291:87500,1429:87920,1436:94622,1484:98263,1520:98689,1528:99967,1558:100322,1564:100819,1577:105150,1674:108524,1685:109376,1704:110796,1728:111506,1740:112926,1783:113281,1789:113636,1795:115127,1825:115411,1830:115766,1836:116831,1878:117399,1894:117683,1899:118322,1909:118961,1919:119529,1928:122156,1990:122440,2054:128590,2113:129016,2120:130365,2135:130720,2141:131288,2150:131714,2157:133560,2200:134909,2217:136400,2254:143269,2393:143537,2398:145078,2454:145346,2459:147155,2500:156598,2595:156968,2601:157708,2614:162388,2680:165441,2716:166173,2730:168125,2888:170931,2961:171480,2972:171846,2980:172761,2997:177186,3033:180588,3095:181560,3119:182127,3128:186410,3190:187130,3201:188300,3219:188840,3226:189380,3233:190190,3244:190820,3252:191630,3262:192260,3278:200315,3386:201184,3404:202527,3427:206635,3528:207504,3576:207978,3582:208847,3616:221650,3870:222370,3880:227330,3961:227970,3972:228530,3981:231534,4008:232940,4033:233902,4048:235086,4082:237056,4096:237421,4102:238662,4136:239100,4144:239757,4154:240414,4164:241728,4191:242239,4204:242896,4214:245451,4257:245816,4263:246254,4270:246692,4277:250264,4300:251065,4310:252845,4341:254269,4367:254625,4372:255426,4382:256049,4390:261834,4486:272183,4660:272806,4669:278591,4755:278947,4760:279926,4773:284910,4869:285266,4874:285622,4879:290522,4891:291546,4908:291994,4916:293360,4921:293899,4929:294592,4943:301060,5070:310825,5194:315475,5282:316000,5290:317275,5316:317650,5322:324820,5354:340285,5575:342160,5675:342460,5680:343060,5689:343735,5705:345760,5759:346210,5766:346510,5771:347035,5779:347785,5791:349885,5824:350560,5834:353560,5922:356785,5988:361630,6010:361970,6015:363160,6029:369195,6145:369875,6156:373360,6161:380344,6338:380920,6348:383152,6399:383584,6406:386320,6487:387976,6516:388408,6523:389416,6544:391792,6579:392296,6587:397370,6632
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roger Ferguson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roger Ferguson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roger Ferguson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roger Ferguson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roger Ferguson talks about his paternal step grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roger Ferguson describes his father's athletic talents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roger Ferguson describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roger Ferguson describes his father's interest in finance

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roger Ferguson describes his siblings and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roger Ferguson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roger Ferguson describes his neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Roger Ferguson remembers Charles Young Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roger Ferguson recalls River Terrace Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roger Ferguson recalls his childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roger Ferguson describes segregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roger Ferguson remembers Jefferson Junior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roger Ferguson recalls his early interest in the Federal Reserve System

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roger Ferguson recalls enrolling at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roger Ferguson describes his social life at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roger Ferguson recalls his decision to attend Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roger Ferguson recalls the racial tension at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roger Ferguson describes his work study job at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roger Ferguson recalls his activism at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roger Ferguson recalls his economics research in Chile

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roger Ferguson remembers his graduation from Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roger Ferguson recalls his fellowship in Cambridge, England

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roger Ferguson recalls his decision to pursue law and economics

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roger Ferguson recalls his dual graduate degree program at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roger Ferguson describes his parents' influence on his self esteem

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roger Ferguson talks about his decision to pursue dual graduate degrees

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roger Ferguson remembers working at the law firm of Davis Polk and Wardwell

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roger Ferguson recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roger Ferguson recalls working at McKinsey and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roger Ferguson talks about balancing his career and family

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roger Ferguson recalls how he came to work for the Federal Reserve System

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roger Ferguson remembers joining the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roger Ferguson recalls becoming vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roger Ferguson remembers serving as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roger Ferguson remembers the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roger Ferguson recalls his decision to leave the Federal Reserve System

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roger Ferguson recalls serving as the president and CEO of TIAA-CREFF

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roger Ferguson describes his hopes and concerns for his children

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roger Ferguson describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Roger Ferguson reflects upon his legacy at TIAA-CREF

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Roger Ferguson describes his plans for the future

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Roger Ferguson describes his father's interest in finance
Roger Ferguson remembers the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
Transcript
But the thing that was really distinctive about my father [Roger Ferguson, Sr.] was that he was a child of the Depression [Great Depression] and he had lots of stories to tell about the Depression and it clearly impacted him. And the way it impacted him was he became very interested in savings and investments and the way the banking system worked. So the thing I, I remember many things about my father, the thing that really influenced me was that my father got me very interested at a very young age in things having to do with finance and banking and et cetera. And, in fact, as soon as I could do math at a reasonably proficient level, you know, just adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing, he had me balance the check book.$$Okay.$$And much of our conversation while he was an avid football fan and, you know, loved to bowl and fish, much of our conversation was really about interest rates and investments and safe banks and, and that sort of thing.$$How do you think he acquired that kind of knowledge, he had the interest but how do you think he got the, the knowledge?$$I think he may have gotten it, some from his father [sic. step father, George Ferguson], I think he got it some from school as well, but mainly he was just sort of self taught. He read the newspapers, the other thing I remember about my father is not just that he read newspapers, but he had a broad interest in life and he was a curious person as well. And it, it showed up in, in unusual ways. I've talked a little bit about his interest in, in finance and money and investing, and for a, you know, a guy who was living, my mother [Alberta Lawson Ferguson] was a school teacher, my father worked for the government, they didn't have huge amounts of money so it was unusual for him to be interested in that kind of thing. He was interested in training people in that space, not only did he train me, but my sister [Rochelle Ferguson Washington (ph.)] has a very good friend who has gotten interested in investing in only land and property and she attributes all that to my father.$The thing that proves to be most important about my tenure at the Fed [Federal Reserve System] though is 9/11/2001 [September 11, 2001]. Nine, eleven, two thousand one is a day that obviously along with other fa- sadly a few other days, lives in infamy, 'cause that was the day of the terrorist attacks in United States of America. On that day Alan Greenspan was in Europe, in Switzerland at a big meeting of central banks that occurred every six to eight weeks, sometimes he would go, sometimes I would go, it was his turn to go, all the other governors in the Fed were around the country and the U.S. doing Fed business or giving speeches of, of, or doing other things. And so I was the only governor in Washington, D.C. I'm at my desk as usual at around 8:15, my wife [Annette Nazareth] at this point is an important senior official at the SEC [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission], she runs market regulation. And market regulation team has a desk that watches and monitors markets in real time--$$Um-hm.$$--on a daily basis. And so at about 8:20 at the time, I'm gonna get the time wrong, 8:40, 8:45, my wife calls and says, "Our market watch folks have alerted me that there's something wrong in New York [New York] because one of the World Trade Center towers is on fire, you might just wanna turn on the TV and monitor it"--$$Um-hm.$$--"we don't know what's happening," et cetera. So I turn on the TV, I see the second plane go into the second tower, obviously not a coincidence, not just bad luck, but hard to imagine what it is, you can't quite imagine that anyone would intentionally fly--$$Right--$$--airplanes into the world's tallest buildings in New York. But what it, what I do know is it's gonna be a scramble in Manhattan [New York, New York] because the World Trade Center, very close to the New York Stock Exchange [New York, New York], close to a number of other very important financial services firms and institutions including a company called Bank of New York [Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, New York, New York], which is one of the cl- clearing banks that keeps the, the system operating, the check clearing system operating, but more importantly, keeps the security systems operating and, and money flowing the system. World Trade Center was also very close to the New York Fed [Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York, New York], so it's in the Wall Street area [New York, New York] and obviously I and my wife both know that it's gonna be a tough day that we don't know what the source of the problem is. I immediately then, you know, go to the floor where we are watching and listening to New York in the Fed, decide a couple of things that are very important, the president has announced that there has been some sort of attack and--$$This is President Bush [President George Walker Bush] at this time (simultaneous)?$$--(Simultaneous) President Bush at this point--$$Um-hm.$$--that there's been some sort of attack and that we need to evacuate Washington. I made immediately the executive decision that I was not gonna leave the Fed, others could leave, I couldn't lock the door and make the staff stay, but I was not gonna evacuate my location. That proved to be really pretty important, because everybody else was moving around the city out of touch, my phones were still working, everyone could call me, so the Fed, not just my office, but I was part of it, became the spider in the web of information flow, the SEC, the CFTC [Commodity Futures Trading Commission], the Treasury [U.S. Department of the Treasury], the White House [Washington, D.C.], the New York Fed, a number of the important banks, we in Washington, I at the Fed and my team, the Fed team were central in knowing what was going on.$$And so you kept the financial system together during that time (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So we kept the financial system together. The second thing that we announced was that the Federal Reserve System was open and operating and that we were prepared to lend money.$$Throughout the entire time of--?$$Throughout the entire time. These things, as you point out, through lots of different technical reasons basically kept the Federal, the financial system operating, all checks got paid, the money market system still worked. A lot of technical things called the repo market, still worked and that was very important because there was no panic in America. Imagine if you would come to work one day and your check didn't clear on 9/11 (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$--or 9/12 [September 12, 2001], or you went to an ATM machine and you couldn't get money out of the machine, and so we kept the system operating, we kept the panic down and I truly believe that because of the good work that the Fed team did on that day, and I happen to be the one in the leadership role for the first two and a half days after 9/11, that we kept the economy from sinking into a deeper recession. At that point the economy had actually started to slow by the way. So I ran the Fed with a team but I was the team leader all on Tuesday, the September 11th, Wednesday September 12th, Alan got back very late on the 12th, he did some quite research, found that I had done a good job and basically I was responsible for the Feds initial reaction all through that first week. And, you know, I'm not a person given to immodesty, as you know--$$Um-hm.$$--and can tell, but, you know, things worked out well, the team did a really good job and in hindsight, obviously, I am pleased with the role that I played in keeping the system functioning--$$Would you say (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) after 9/11.$$--that's one of your proudest moments in your career?$$It's definitely my proudest moment. It's the moment that brought together my knowledge of the banking system, financial markets--$$And technology (simultaneous)?$$--(simultaneous) technology, the way the Fed system worked. It required a lot of international coordination as well, so having spent that time starting back in my little story about going to Chile and England, and other things that I did. So it all came together. It also was a time where communication was important and I learned a lot of communication skills from McKinsey [McKinsey and Company, New York, New York] and frankly sort of interpersonal skills, which are important all through life. So it's absolutely my finest moment and, you know, had we made other decisions, had I decided to evacuate the building or not keep the Fed System open, or not issue a statement, or not lend money, I do believe things would have been, you know, much worse.

William Bradford

Economist William Donald Bradford was born on June 19, 1944, in Gadsden, Alabama. Bradford was born to Ollie Mae Dobbs and George Joel Bradford, the fourth of six children. When Bradford was one year old, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Bradford’s father was a Baptist minister and the owner of a barbershop. Bradford attended Cleveland’s Wooldridge Elementary School, Rawlings Junior High School and East Technical High School where he was enrolled in advanced placement courses.

Prior to attending Howard University in 1963, Bradford earned a living as a barber, saving money for college by cutting hair in his father’s barbershop. At Howard University, Bradford was a member of the football team playing linebacker and joined the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He graduated with his B.A. degree in economics in 1967. In 1968, Bradford attended Ohio State University and was one of only two African Americans in the school’s M.B.A program. After graduating with his M.B.A degree in finance in 1968, Bradford remained at Ohio State University and earned his Ph.D. in finance in 1971.

From 1972 to 1980, Bradford served as the associate professor of finance at Stanford University’s School of Business. Bradford was also a visiting economist for the Federal Home Loan Bank board and a visiting professor of finance and economics at Yale University’s School of Organization and Management. From 1989 to 1990, Bradford was a visiting professor of finance for New York University, the University of California, Los Angeles and Ohio State University. In 1992, Bradford served as Acting Dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Business and Management. From 1994 to 1999, Bradford then served as dean and professor at the University of Washington’s School of Business Administration, where he was awarded the dean emeritus honor.

Bradford, the author of numerous scholarly articles, is a professor of business and economic development and a professor of finance and business economics at Washington University’s School of Business Administration. His studies include a minority business survey for the State of Washington, a study of minority venture capital firms and a study of black family financial management.

Accession Number

A2007.302

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/25/2007 |and| 6/5/2008

Last Name

Bradford

Organizations
Schools

East Technical High School

Wooldridge Elementary School

Rawlings Junior High School

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Gadsden

HM ID

BRA09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Keep rolling.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

6/19/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pastries

Short Description

Economist and economics professor William Bradford (1944 - ) served as dean and professor at the University of Washington’s School of Business Administration, where he later became dean emeritus.

Favorite Color

Blue

Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.

Pioneering economist and corporate executive Clifton Reginald Wharton, Jr. was born on September 13, 1926, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Clifton R. Wharton, Sr., was the first African American to be named Career Ambassador of the United States Foreign Service where he serviced for over four decades. Being the son of a career diplomat, Wharton spent his early childhood years in the Canary Islands, Spain, being tutored by his mother where he became fluent in Spanish.

In 1943, Wharton received his diploma from Boston Latin School and entered Harvard University at age sixteen where he received his B.A. degree in history in 1947. He received his M.A. degree in international affairs from the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1948. Continuing his studies, Wharton received his M.A. degree in 1956 and his Ph. D. in 1958 in economics from the University of Chicago.

Wharton’s professional career began in 1948 working with the Rockefeller family’s philanthropic interests. He specialized in economic development in Latin America with Nelson A. Rockefeller until 1953. After working as a research associate in economics at the University of Chicago from 1953 to 1957, Wharton joined the Agricultural Development Council, an international organization headed by John D. Rockefeller, III, serving as the Council associate in Malaysia from 1958 to 1964. He was the director of the Council’s American Universities Research Program and in 1967 was appointed vice president.

In 1970, Wharton became the first African American president of Michigan State University. After serving as president for eight years, he headed the largest university system in the nation, the State University of New York. During this period, Wharton managed 64 campuses with an enrollment of 370,000 students and an annual budget of more than $2.5 billion. In 1982, Wharton made history again when he was named chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1987, he became one of the first African American CEOs of a major Fortune 500 company TIAA-CREF, which operates the world’s largest pension funds holding assets of $260 billion. Having received numerous presidential appointments, he was appointed by President Clinton as the Deputy Secretary of State, the first African American to ever hold this second highest foreign policy post.

Wharton is married to the former Dolores Duncan. She is chairman and CEO of the Fund for Corporate Initiatives. She is also a director of Capital Bank and Trust Company in Albany, New York.

The Whartons reside in New York City and have two sons Clifton III, and Bruce.

Accession Number

A2006.077

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/18/2006 |and| 5/12/2006 |and| 3/6/2007 |and| 5/15/2007 |and| 5/16/2007

5/15/2007 |and| 5/16/2007

Last Name

Wharton

Middle Name

R.

Organizations
First Name

Clifton

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

WHA01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring, Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cooperstown, New York

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/13/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese Food

Short Description

Economist and academic administrator Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. (1926 - ) became the first African American president of Michigan State University and headed the State University of New York. Wharton was also one of the first African American CEOs of a major Fortune 500 company when he led TIAA-CREF.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2695,73:8932,210:19972,453:39434,633:42526,656:52540,827:53142,840:62955,1064:92238,1582:92586,1587:93543,1596:105879,1719:106131,1724:108273,1774:108588,1780:114795,1842:115095,1847:137712,2275:145099,2377:149476,2428:149890,2435:156196,2533:156714,2545:157158,2553:160932,2648:175020,2821:178820,2887:190430,3044:208565,3407:214008,3467:217954,3519:218546,3529:230363,3692:232440,3736:235187,3797:236594,3820:240900,3853:244770,3938$0,0:312,6:774,14:1764,27:2028,32:2292,37:3414,59:10542,210:10872,216:12324,245:16135,271:16850,288:17070,293:17620,304:19490,342:19710,347:21698,363:27661,431:28106,437:30954,491:39690,603:40090,614:42410,658:57812,911:58124,916:59294,933:59762,940:60074,945:67375,1039:67750,1045:68650,1060:70825,1106:71950,1124:72850,1138:76225,1235:77425,1255:84358,1371:86422,1400:87196,1412:88056,1423:88744,1433:89432,1442:95262,1571:100014,1658:100878,1673:101238,1679:106248,1719:108984,1839:109744,1848:115980,1927:116280,1932:116580,1937:117930,1947:119055,1963:119505,1971:120105,1984:124470,2052:124842,2060:125338,2069:128150,2105:131300,2176:131720,2184:134730,2239:135220,2247:135570,2253:138510,2320:139140,2332:140400,2358:140890,2366:142010,2385:146450,2405:147515,2431:149574,2475:151846,2516:156020,2569
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.'s interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. lists his favorites, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences living abroad

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his family's holiday celebrations

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his earliest experience with racism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his father's career as a diplomat

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls being tutored by his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the Canary Islands in Spain

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls attending Boston Latin School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at Boston Latin School, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at Boston Latin School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his high school track meet

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls applying for college

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his first year at Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his classmates at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes how he met his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls enrolling at School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Alabama, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Alabama, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his early awareness of racism

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers experiencing discrimination in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his involvement in the U.S. National Student Association

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls the U.S. National Student Association's stance on discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. narrates his photographs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his interest in foreign assistance

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the American International Association for Economic and Social Development

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls enrolling at the University of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at the University of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls joining the Agricultural Development Council

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his friends at Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his father's career advice

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his decision to work in economic development in Latin America

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his courtship with his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his wife and her family

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his proposal and wedding

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences living in Asia

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his work in agricultural economics

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his appointment as president of Michigan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his wife's involvement at Michigan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his challenges at Michigan State University, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his challenges at Michigan State University, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about increasing minority enrollment and graduation rates at Michigan State University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon his and his wife's legacy at Michigan State University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about rice price policy in Vietnam, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about rice price policy in Vietnam, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his article about the Green Revolution

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about academic freedom on university campuses

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls becoming the chancellor of the State University of New York System

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences as chancellor

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his wife's corporate boards memberships

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his wife's Young Executives Program

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his mentoring style

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his decision to join TIAA-CREF

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences as the chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences as the chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about being an African American leader and pioneer

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls recruiting Thomas W. Jones to TIAA-CREF

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the purpose of affirmative action programs

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon the underlying challenges within the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon the need for more progressive tax codes

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his autobiography

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon his father's career

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon the prevalence of ethnic and cultural differences

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the value of oral history projects

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Slating of Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.'s interview, session 3

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. lists his favorites, session 3

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his father's education and early career

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his father's family history in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his childhood community

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his mother's college education

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his close-knit community in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his mother's international travels

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his earliest experience with racism in America

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 10 Story: 11 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about how his parents met

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. lists his siblings

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his childhood friends from Liberia and the Canary Islands

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls living in the Canary Islands, Spain

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls learning Spanish and being tutored in the Canary Islands

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes Christmas celebrations

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls returning to the United States

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about attending Boston Latin School

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at Boston Latin School

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his classmates at Boston Latin School

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his correspondence schooling via The Calvert School

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers traveling to Paris, Francis with his grandmother

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls adjusting to living in the United States

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his tendency to explore his surroundings

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences at Camp Atwater

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers the pilots at the Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the history of Camp Atwater

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his interest in piano and music

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his social life in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 12 Story: 10 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his parents' divorce

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his college aspirations

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his academic pursuits at Harvard University

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his African American classmates at Harvard University

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his involvement in the founding of the National Student Association

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the founding of the National Student Association

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers the members of the National Student Association

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences enlisting in the U.S. Army

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences with racism in the U.S. Army

Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about black stereotypes

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences with racism in college

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his honors thesis at Harvard University

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his decision to not join the U.S. Foreign Service

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers receiving an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard University

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his early experiences with racial discrimination

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his professor, Simon Hanson

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences at the American International Association for Economic and Social Development

Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers his mentors

Tape: 14 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes how he met his wife

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the Rockefeller brothers' philanthropic organizations

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers Nelson Rockefeller's philanthropic organizations

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his wedding celebration

Tape: 15 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences at the University of Chicago

Tape: 15 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls studying economics at the University of Chicago

Tape: 15 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his interest in agricultural economics

Tape: 15 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his social life in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 15 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the National Planning Association's study in Latin America

Tape: 15 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls being recruited to the Agriculture Development Council

Tape: 16 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his work in Southeast Asia with the ADC

Tape: 16 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls establishing the ADC fellowship programs

Tape: 16 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the impact of the ADC fellowship programs in Southeast Asia

Tape: 16 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about developing a faculty study abroad program

Tape: 16 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the success of the ADC fellowship programs

Tape: 16 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes race relations in Southeast Asia

Tape: 16 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences in Vietnam

Tape: 17 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about serving as an advisor in Vietnam

Tape: 17 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences with the Rockefeller Foundation in Asia

Tape: 17 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his political perspective of Vietnam

Tape: 17 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers John D. Rockefeller III

Tape: 17 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his college presidential nominations

Tape: 17 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his appointment to the board of Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Tape: 17 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his early days on the board of Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Tape: 17 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the responsibilities of organizational boards members

Tape: 18 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the evolution of corporate boards

Tape: 18 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his selection as president of Michigan State University, pt. 1

Tape: 18 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his selection as president of Michigan State University, pt. 2

Tape: 18 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences with student riots at Michigan State University

Tape: 18 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his achievements at Michigan State University

Tape: 18 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences as president of Michigan State University, pt. 1

Tape: 18 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his experiences as president of Michigan State University, pt. 2

Tape: 19 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his leadership style and principles

Tape: 19 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls student demonstrations at Michigan State University

Tape: 19 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about fundraising at Michigan State University

Tape: 19 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls arrival to the Michigan State University campus

Tape: 19 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers addressing the student body about diversity

Tape: 19 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about minority students' protests against the NCAA conference

Tape: 19 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls overseeing an NCAA investigation at Michigan State University

Tape: 20 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the NCAA investigation of Michigan State University's football team

Tape: 20 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls recruiting Magic Johnson to Michigan State University

Tape: 20 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the Big Ten Conference at Michigan State University

Tape: 20 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the impact of college athletics on universities

Tape: 20 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the College of Urban Development at Michigan State University

Tape: 20 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the lifelong education program at Michigan State University

Tape: 20 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his Presidential Fellows Program at Michigan State University

Tape: 20 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his transition to become chancellor of the SUNY System

Tape: 21 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his visits to the sixty-four colleges in the SUNY system

Tape: 21 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about how he established his priorities as chancellor of SUNY

Tape: 21 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his relationship with the presidents of the SUNY system

Tape: 21 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes Nelson Rockefeller's role in establishing the SUNY system

Tape: 21 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his interaction with private universities in New York City

Tape: 21 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the establishment of the Nelson Rockefeller College of Public Affairs, pt. 1

Tape: 21 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the establishment of the Nelson Rockefeller College of Public Affairs, pt. 2

Tape: 21 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the restrictive regulation of the SUNY system

Tape: 22 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about achieving flexibility legislation in the SUNY System

Tape: 22 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his relationship with SUNY System board of trustees

Tape: 22 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. remembers living in downtown Albany, New York

Tape: 22 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about advocating against the governor's budget cuts

Tape: 22 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls introducing private fundraising at SUNY

Tape: 22 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his wife's experiences on corporate boards

Tape: 22 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his wife's mentoring program, Fund for Corporate Initiatives

Tape: 22 Story: 8 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his wife's Young Executive Program

Tape: 22 Story: 9 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about declining job offers from the federal government

Tape: 22 Story: 10 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the women and minorities in leadership positions at SUNY

Tape: 22 Story: 11 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his decision to decline the presidency of the Rockefeller Foundation

Tape: 23 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about TIAA-CREF and his recruitment as its CEO

Tape: 23 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes his early assessments of TIAA-CREF

Tape: 23 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls creating a committee of the board at TIAA-CREF

Tape: 23 Story: 4 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the competitors of TIAA-CREF

Tape: 23 Story: 5 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls recruiting Thomas W. Jones as CFO of TIAA-CREF

Tape: 23 Story: 6 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about the Special Assistants Program at TIAA-CREF

Tape: 23 Story: 7 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. recalls his experiences at the U.S. Department of State

Tape: 24 Story: 1 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the public opinion of his service in the U.S. Department of State

Tape: 24 Story: 2 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon his father's opinion of his career

Tape: 24 Story: 3 - Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. reflects upon his life

DASession

3$4

DATape

16$17

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. describes the impact of the ADC fellowship programs in Southeast Asia
Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. talks about his college presidential nominations
Transcript
These individuals, to give you one little vignette to show you what it's like. When I was deputy secretary of state, Dolores [HistoryMaker Dolores D. Wharton] and I went on a visit out to Southeast Asia. Our first stop was Thailand. The ambassador wanted to host a dinner for us the day we arrived in Bangkok [Thailand], and I said, "Look, I have a rule. Don't do any work for twenty-four hours." "Oh," back and forth, back and forth. Finally, he said, "Well, we're having a very small group of only five Thais." I said, "Fine. We'll do it." We arrived at the dinner, and the ambassador starts to introduce us to these five people. The immediate reaction, "Oh, we know Dr. and Mrs. Wharton." The president of the university, I had given him his doctorate in the states, the deputy director the central bank. I mean three out of five. Okay. These were people I had, you know, worked with for years. And one of them in the ministry was very funny. During the dinner he said, he said, "You may not realize it," he said, "but, there was an op-ed piece that you did." Now, mind you, this is in 1993. He's talking about something that happened--it would have been probably in 1961 or '60 [1960]. He said, "You did a piece called 'Monocultural Perennial Export Dominance' ["Monocultural Perennial Export Dominance: The Inelasticity of Southeast Asian Agricultural Trade," Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.]." And I said, "Yes." He said, "That caused the ministry to spend months trying to figure out how we could answer your question." What it was was very simple. I had done some research which concentrated on perennials: rubber, oil palm and also rice. They were exporting it. But these crops are subject to high degrees of price fluctuation. And this was their major source of foreign currency. I said, "You've got to diversify your economies, not just agriculturally, but generally, to reduce the level of volatility in your--." Okay. That's what the article is about. He still remembered it, okay. He--I broke up. I didn't realize he remembered it. The former head of Taiwan, T.H. Lee [Lee Teng-Hui], ADC [Agricultural Development Council] fellow of Cornell [Cornell University, Ithaca, New York]. I could go on and on. Now--$$So you fundamentally--the work that you did fundamentally changed the nature of those countries in many ways.$$I wouldn't claim that. What I would claim is this: that one of the things that we did was, at a time when it was desperately needed, we helped to develop the human capital which could work on these problems. Not us working on them, but they could work on the problems, and they had the skills and competencies to do so. And we nurtured them in the process to help develop those skills. Now, the other story I can tell you, which I think is very emblematic, there was a regional conference held--I think it was, probably in South Korea--and we had, one of our visiting professors was there. And the head--the person who was convening the conference asked everybody in the room to stand sequentially to introduce themselves. Our visiting professor stands up and he says, "I'm the visiting professor from Such and Such organization, and Such and Such university." And he said, "I never heard of that organization." He said, "Who is this organization?" And our professor looked around the room, he said, "Will all the people who received ADC fellowships or ADC grants please stand." Two-thirds of the group rose. And this man was dumbfounded. Now, we didn't do this for self- aggrandizement. They knew that we were there to work with them, not to take advantage of them or exploit them. But we did lay the foundations for many, many areas in these countries, of the people with the skills and talent who were nationals of that country who could make these contributions. Okay. And this was the genius of the way Art Mosher [Arthur T. Mosher] approached and operated.$In an earlier conversation with your colleague, one of the things that I was asked was how did these things happen to me. And I said a good deal of it was serendipity and a combination of being ready, of your being ready and the institution or setting being ready. And what happened in this particular case, which I think in retrospect was very fascinating, is that when the preliminary inquiries were made to me early on, I was asked about whether I would be interested in two department chairmanships at universities. And I said no.$$When you came back?$$When I came back, yeah, yeah. And then--$$Which ones were they?$$I won't mention it because it's always embarrassing to them to say, "Well, you turned it down." But--so I said no. And they were major universities. And one was in the field of consumer economics, the other one was in agricultural economics. I said, "No, no. I'm very happy." By that time, I was--had become vice president of the Agricultural Development Council. And then, this one I can tell, then I was asked whether I'd be willing to be--have my name submitted for the presidency of the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan]. And I said that's interesting. So, I went out, met some of the people, but nothing came of it. Subsequently, after that--$$You mean in Ann Arbor [Michigan] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I--In Ann Arbor, right. Right. After that, I was approached about the Michigan State [Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan] presidency. Now, I knew the university. I said, "Aha!" I said, "Now that one is one that fits." They had the strongest and most outstanding international program of any state university in the country. Many of the individuals in the Department of Agricultural Economics [Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics] were friends, colleagues, professionals. They were very committed in the earliest stages of work with regard to underprivileged youths, black youths from the inner city of Detroit [Michigan]. They were interested in being a people's university, which appealed to me. They had all of the different elements. I said, "Boy, now, that's one where I think I could--really find attractive." But I had not thought about being the university president at all until these queries began to come. Even before Michigan there was another university in this part of the country which approached me, too, would I be a candidate, and I said no. But this one, I said, "Okay, go ahead." And that's how the Michigan State development took place.

Edward D. Irons

Educator and businessman Edward Irons was born in Hulbert, Oklahoma on August 29, 1923. After attending Attucks High School, Irons was drafted into the Navy, and while recovering from rheumatic fever in a V.A. hospital, he and several other patients organized a sit-in to protest segregation in the hospital.

Following his honorable discharge, Irons traveled to Ohio intent on attending Wilburforce University, despite the fact that he had not been admitted nor had his G.I. Bill papers been processed. Nevertheless, he successfully completed his B.S. in business administration, after being unable to obtain an internship in engineering due to prejudice. From there, Irons worked in a hospital as business manager, and then went on to earn an M.A. in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota in 1951. After working a number of jobs, Irons took a teaching job at Florida A&M, but his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement led to him being ostracized by university executives. He left there to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard, where he studied new banks.

In 1964, he and his partners opened Riverside National Bank in Houston, Texas, the first bank given a charter to African Americans in forty years. From there, Irons worked for USAID and served as the founding dean of Howard University’s business school. After leaving Howard, he worked as a consultant to dozens of organizations around the globe, and has been a professor and dean of the business school of Clark-Atlanta University. There, he helped the program to become re-accredited, and he continues to teach there today.

Accession Number

A2004.178

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/24/2004 |and| 10/13/2004

Last Name

Irons

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Schools

Attucks School

Wilberforce University

Harvard Business School

University of Michigan

University of Minnesote Curtis L. Carlson School of Management

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Hulbert

HM ID

IRO01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults: Finance and Entrepreneurship, Youth and Teens: Achievement and risk in life

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Availability Specifics: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Weekends and Selected Evenings
Preferred Audience: Adults: Finance and Entrepreneurship, Youth and Teens: Achievement and risk in life

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

I Will Find A Way Or Make One.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/29/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Economist and academic administrator Edward D. Irons (1923 - ) co-founded Riverside National Bank in Houston, Texas, the first bank given a charter to African Americans in forty years. Irons also worked for USAID, and served as the dean of Howard University’s business school and dean of the business school of Clark Atlanta University.

Employment

Florida A&M University

Riverside National Bank

United States Agency for International Development

Howard University Business School

Business School of Clark-Atlanta University

Atlanta University

District of Columbia

Clark Atlanta University

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:9930,101:10515,112:10970,120:11685,133:13739,140:14529,151:15477,163:16109,172:17531,197:18084,204:18558,211:26986,285:27914,295:39100,415:39736,423:40266,429:40690,434:41432,442:42280,451:42825,470:43360,476:44430,490:44858,495:45607,503:46463,512:47640,526:48175,532:52710,568:53095,574:53403,579:60572,658:61088,666:62292,687:65492,719:66339,731:66724,737:67109,743:67571,751:71034,803:72258,815:73210,838:73618,845:74094,853:74366,858:74842,866:75454,877:75862,884:77890,891:80036,934:87232,1007:89348,1051:89900,1059:92230,1069:93448,1085:94144,1096:96928,1134:101350,1171:105192,1191:105622,1197:106224,1205:107342,1219:108460,1234:108976,1242:109578,1249:115670,1327:116420,1338:119698,1375:120118,1381:121425,1392:121845,1397:122685,1406:123315,1413:124534,1424:131292,1473:133317,1505:134208,1518:134532,1523:137186,1545:137780,1552:138572,1561:139760,1573:140156,1578:145130,1641:145850,1654:147218,1676:148010,1689:149954,1734:150530,1748:151106,1759:151466,1765:157320,1844$0,0:3672,83:4386,99:4998,105:13585,311:16049,350:19052,399:20284,417:20669,423:21516,437:26304,534:28846,759:29338,769:30322,799:33192,937:33848,946:39375,962:40050,977:40725,988:41325,997:42750,1040:44925,1084:46275,1115:46650,1121:58623,1229:61713,1294:63451,1328:69480,1345:74644,1361:75700,1384:75964,1389:76558,1402:76954,1409:78630,1414:78934,1419:83110,1473:83390,1478:83670,1483:84160,1492:85280,1509:86190,1527:100448,1733:103802,1821:112382,2123:114644,2197:119922,2212:128109,2377:134034,2433:135074,2444:135490,2449:143250,2546
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward D. Irons' interview, session one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons talks about researching his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons describes his earliest childhood memories of growing up in Vinita, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward D. Irons lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward D. Irons remembers the race relations in his neighborhood in Vinita, Oklahoma during the 1930s and 1940s, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward D. Irons remembers the race relations in his neighborhood in Vinita, Oklahoma during the 1930s and 1940s, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward D. Irons describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Vinita, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons describes his experiences at Attucks School in Vinita, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons remembers mentor Louis Ryan, his basketball coach and science teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons recalls the dynamics of Attucks School in Vinita, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons remembers his accomplishments at Attucks School in Vinita, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons recalls his aspiration to leave his small town as a student at Attucks School in Vinita, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons talks about attending church as a boy in Vinita, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons talks about being drafted to the U.S. Navy after graduating high school in 1941

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward D. Irons remembers his experience of racial discrimination in the U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward D. Irons talks about how World War II altered soldiers' perspectives on race

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons describes the outcome of his sit-in at Muskogee VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons describes the outcome of his sit-in at Muskogee VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons remembers his decision to attend College of Education and Industrial Arts at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons recalls receiving the dean's help to register at College of Education and Industrial Arts at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons talks about studying business after being rejected from Antioch College's engineering program

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons describes his extracurricular activities at College of Education and Industrial Arts at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons recalls eccentric professors at College of Education and Industrial Arts at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edward D. Irons talks about his grades at College of Education and Industrial Arts at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edward D. Irons remembers being hired as business manager for Moton Memorial Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons recalls administering Moton Memorial Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons recalls his award-winning management thesis at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons remembers being appointed administrator of Taft State Hospital for the Negro Insane in Taft, Oklahoma by the governor

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons explains why he left his position of administrator at Taft State Hospital for the Negro Insane in Taft, Oklahoma

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons remembers his experiences as an administrator at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons remembers the racial discrimination at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons remembers his discouraging doctoral advisor at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edward D. Irons explains how he succeeded at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons recalls his goal of organizing an African American-controlled bank

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons describes organizing Riverside National Bank, the first chartered African American-controlled bank in over forty years

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons talks about accepting a position as a development banking consultant for the U.S. government

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons recalls running the Investment Survey Division of the United States Agency for International Development

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons remembers resigning from Howard University School of Business in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons recalls being hired as the dean of the Clark Atlanta University School of Business Administration in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons recalls obtaining reaccreditation of the undergraduate business school as dean at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons narrates his photographs

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward D. Irons' interview, session two

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons remembers difficulties at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1950s

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons recalls writing his dissertation at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons remembers his hiring as a finance professor at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons talks about organizing Riverside National Bank in the early 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons remembers the response to the opening of Riverside National Bank

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons explains banking charters

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Edward D. Irons recalls his resignation from Riverside National Bank

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons describes the outcome of his exit from Riverside National Bank

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons explains development banking

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons remembers being unable to head the development bank in Lagos, Nigeria following the outbreak of the Biafran War

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons recalls being hired to head the Investment Survey Division of the United States Agency for International Development

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons describes racial prejudice that he and his staff experienced at United States Agency for International Development

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons reflects upon the exploitation authorized by the United States Agency for International Development

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons remembers being asked to organize a business school at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Edward D. Irons describes the conflict with HistoryMaker James Cheek that led to Irons' departure from Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Edward D. Irons describes the conflict with HistoryMaker James Cheek that led to Irons' departure from Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons talks about Charles H. Wesley

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons remembers obtaining the Mills B. Lane endowed chair at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons talks about being appointed banking commissioner for the District of Columbia

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons talks about being his initial accomplishments as banking commissioner for the District of Columbia

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons explains his conflict with HistoryMaker Charlene Drew Jarvis over banking regulations in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons talks about his time as dean of Clark Atlanta University School of Business Administration in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons talks about the importance of inspiring entrepreneurship in the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons explains his disagreement with HistoryMaker Andrew F. Brimmer over the viability of African American financial institutions

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons explains his position on African American financial institutions

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons talks about covert racial discrimination by financial institutions

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons describes the discrimination against high-achieving African Americans men in business

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons explains how racial and gender discrimination impacts young African Americans in business

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Edward D. Irons lists his organization affiliations and accomplishments, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Edward D. Irons lists his organization affiliations and accomplishments, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Edward D. Irons describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Edward D. Irons recalls Mayor Maynard Jackson's inclusion of African American businesses during construction of an airport in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Edward D. Irons reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Edward D. Irons reflects upon how he has maintained physical and spiritual health

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Edward D. Irons reflects upon his parents' early deaths

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Edward D. Irons reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Edward D. Irons describes how he would like to be remembered.

DASession

2$2

DATape

7$8

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Edward D. Irons remembers the response to the opening of Riverside National Bank
Edward D. Irons remembers being asked to organize a business school at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
Riverside National Bank [Houston, Texas], and I--we organized the bank and we had--we got nationwide publicity, because they had not been a commercial bank with a national charter organized in the United States since 1922. And this was nineteen, well, it opened in '64 [1964]; we had begun the process in '61 [1961] or '62 [1962]. And so we got nation-wide publicity when we got the charter. Well, we were gonna have to raise five hundred thousand dollars. Well, in those days, raising five hundred thousand dollars was a major hurdle in the black community. And there were many naysayers who felt we couldn't do it, and it took us, oh, approximately a year to raise a half million dollars in those days. But the interesting thing about that in retrospect, once we raised it, and the word got out that we had raised it, we could've raised another half million dollars in thirty days. That's the way the attitude changed in the community. We built a brand new structure; we had an architect who went around at that time of--Houston [Texas] had quite a number of independent new banks, and they had modern, modern architectural buildings, and so our architect went around and observed these various architectural structures and came up with a unique design for Riverside National and that's what we built. And it was an impressive little bank, little building, and in those days, only five thousand square feet. But that was adequate for a new bank, and the day we opened the bank, because we had developed so much publicity, there were people standing outside the bank door waiting as though we gonna be giving away money. I mean, that was the excitement associated with opening that bank. There had not been one for forty years, and so this was a major achievement in the black community, nationally. And it got national publicity.$Sixty-seven [1967], okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yes, '67 [1967]. This is when I left the state department [U.S. Department of State, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)] and went to Howard [University, Washington, D.C.].$$All right.$$They said, "We got a lot of students in the business department but we--it's not a school." Howard had a--had the most diversified university of any black school in the country. Med [Medical] school [Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C.], dental school [Howard University College of Dentistry, Washington, D.C.], engineering school [Howard University School of Engineering and Architecture; College of Engineering and Architecture, Washington, D.C.], [Howard University] School of Education [Washington, D.C.], School of Arts and Sciences [Howard University College of Arts and Sciences, Washington, D.C.], they had them all, but they didn't have a business school. And so they wanted to organize a business school, and they asked if I would consider coming to be the first dean of the business school, and I said, "Under the right conditions." And that meant I would have to come as a full professor and I would be given a certain salary that I would need, and that they would set up the environment in which I could do it. Because any organization can develop systems that could prevent you from doing it, if that's what they wanted to do. I knew that. And so I said, I want to make sure that the wheels agree, so that I can get it done, and so I agreed.$$Who was the president at Howard?$$James Nabrit (simultaneous)$$(Simultaneous) That's what I thought.$$Jim Nabrit, Jim Nabrit was president, and Frank [M.] Snowden [Jr.] was the dean that came to see me.$$Frank Snowden the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) He was dean of College of Liberal Arts [Howard University College of Arts and Sciences, Washington, D.C.].$$He's a classicist, yeah.$$Yeah, he was a classicist.$$Yeah.$$Graduate of Harvard [University, Cambridge, Massachusetts].$$Right.$$So he called up Harvard University, he called up Harvard University, [Harvard] Business School [Boston, Massachusetts] to find out if they had any black graduates, and they said, "You got one right there in the state department." And so, he came to see me, and I asked where he got his information, and he said, "Well, I called the school, and they told me you were here." And anyway, I negotiated that situation, and they gave me the full professorship, gave me the salary, and so I went over there.

Andrew F. Brimmer

Economist, academic and business leader Andrew F. Brimmer was born in Newellton, Louisiana, on September 13, 1926. The son of sharecroppers who had been driven off of the land by boll weevils, Brimmer attended local racially segregated elementary and high schools. Upon graduation, Brimmer moved to Bremerton, Washington, with an older sister and worked in a navy yard as an electrician's helper. In 1945, Brimmer was drafted into the Army, where he served until November 1946. After completing his military service, Brimmer enrolled in the University of Washington, where he earned his B.A. degree in economics in 1950. In 1951, after receiving his M.A. degree, Brimmer won a Fulbright grant to study in India. In 1952, Brimmer enrolled in Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1957.

While working on his doctorate, Brimmer went to work for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as an economist. While working with the Federal Reserve Bank, Brimmer traveled to Khartoum, Sudan, to help the country establish a central bank. During the John F. Kennedy administration, Brimmer became assistant secretary of economic affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and served until 1966. That same year Brimmer began an eight-and-a-half year term on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; while filling this role, he became the first African American governor of the Federal Reserve. In 1974, Brimmer left to take a post at Harvard University, where he stayed for two years. Upon leaving Harvard, Brimmer formed his own consulting company, Brimmer & Co. In 1997, Brimmer returned to his former position as a governor of the Federal Reserve, and in 1999 became vice chairman.

Brimmer was elected to the Washington Academy of Sciences in 1991, largely as a result of his published works on the nature and importance of central banking systems. Brimmer served as vice president of the American Economic Association and president of the Eastern Economics Association; he also served as the president of the North American Economics and Finance Association, in addition to serving on a number of other corporate boards of directors.

Brimmer passed away on October 7, 2012 at age 86.

Accession Number

A2003.090

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2003

Last Name

Brimmer

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Andrew

Birth City, State, Country

Newellton

HM ID

BRI01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Vancouver, British Columbia

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/13/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Death Date

10/27/2012

Short Description

Economist Andrew F. Brimmer (1926 - 2012 ) became the first African American vice president of the Federal Reserve. He was president of the North American Economics and Finance Association and serves on a number of other corporate boards.

Employment

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

United States Department of Commerce

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Harvard University

Brimmer & Co.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1216,20:5092,83:10260,171:12160,194:16906,215:19232,243:19928,252:20885,277:22277,302:22886,308:23495,316:24104,324:32891,495:33587,504:33935,514:35588,528:36197,536:47535,616:50829,653:51450,664:52140,675:58345,700:59170,719:59470,724:59770,729:63070,794:70540,819:80774,912:82313,935:84694,955:86442,976:87270,987:87822,994:90214,1028:95918,1116:96654,1127:111345,1216:111870,1225:113370,1250:113745,1256:115470,1286:115770,1291:121315,1339:123202,1353:123868,1361:129890,1427:133008,1451:139652,1523:141786,1552:147095,1593:147620,1602:147920,1607:148520,1621:153345,1668:153843,1677:154258,1684:154590,1689:157578,1745:158242,1754:161255,1762:161710,1771:163844,1787:166280,1815:167624,1833:175328,1865:177224,1882:180930,1893:182030,1902:183680,1918:186044,1929:189734,1996:199826,2055:202520,2064:209664,2127:210180,2135:210524,2140:211642,2153:228195,2326:231507,2389:233025,2435:234060,2463:234819,2475:244466,2568:245192,2580:245852,2592:259850,2722$0,0:640,3:1200,11:5610,67:6618,77:8706,112:9858,135:12522,186:17256,206:18264,218:25931,275:26616,281:30402,312:31149,323:34354,355:36777,370:37605,384:37950,392:38295,398:41814,452:42090,457:52994,583:54860,591:66060,683:68650,691:76518,737:79008,783:81166,830:84630,864:85678,873:95150,983:96060,999:97040,1019:97600,1028:100610,1105:101170,1114:101660,1122:110673,1215:115171,1267:115527,1272:116417,1289:116773,1298:117930,1318:123740,1334:124433,1342:129455,1400:131360,1417:132264,1427:133750,1433:134152,1441:134621,1454:137703,1517:138306,1527:145073,1713:149984,1754:150992,1771:152504,1798:158161,1866:158599,1873:163644,1920:166034,1937:172425,2052:174658,2090:175351,2100:183412,2160:184738,2178:185554,2189:191460,2301:191740,2306:202218,2420:202938,2433:203658,2446:203946,2451:207515,2481:209861,2526:210482,2538:210758,2543:212237,2555:221960,2666:222536,2681:222968,2688:223544,2700:225750,2734:227070,2751:228566,2774:229094,2784:239768,2883:240313,2889:240749,2894:249205,2988:250900,3004:259370,3105:260526,3118:260964,3125:263373,3168:265681,3184:267470,3199:271070,3237:272770,3258:273870,3270:274470,3277:278470,3297
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Andrew Brimmer interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer tells stories of the 1800s from relatives and an ex-slave neighbor

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer talks about his father's work in farming and the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Andrew Brimmer discusses his parents' marriage and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Andrew Brimmer describes his childhood community of Newellton, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Andrew Brimmer remembers Saturday nights in his childhood community in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer recalls his family's church activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer discusses interracial relationships in 1930s Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer recounts his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Andrew Brimmer remembers his school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Andrew Brimmer describes his small segregated secondary school in rural Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer tells about relatives who left Tensas Parish, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer explains how he moved to Washington state for a war job after high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer recalls starting college in Washington state

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Andrew Brimmer remembers his Army training in 1945

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Andrew Brimmer recounts his Army service in Hawaii in 1945-1946

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Andrew Brimmer recalls studying economics at University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer recalls his Economic Cooperation Administration internship in 1950

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer discusses his application for a Fulbright Grant to study in India

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer remembers his study in India in 1951-52

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Andrew Brimmer recalls his meeting and work with economist Wassily Leontief

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer remembers his first meeting with John Kenneth Galbraith

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer discusses his paper on industrial financing in India, 1952

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer recounts working for the Federal Reserve Bank while finishing his dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Andrew Brimmer shares observations of Sudan's transition from colonialism in 1956-57

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Andrew Brimmer recalls his work in the Sudan

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer explains his career path to Washington, DC

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer remembers his appointment as Assistant Secretary of Economic Affairs under Lyndon Johnson

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer details his investigation of discrimination in public accomodations for the Commerce Department

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Andrew Brimmer describes his Commerce Department work and Lyndon Johnson's temper

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer details his appointment to the Federal Reserve Board by President Johnson

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer recalls Johnson's appointing him and other blacks to high-level positions

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer remembers his stint as a Harvard professor and starting his company

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Andrew Brimmer recounts his appointment to the Washington D.C. Financial Control Board

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Andrew Brimmer recalls the Control Board's changes to the District of Columbia

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Andrew Brimmer discusses his consulting work

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Andrew Brimmer shares his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Andrew Brimmer considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Andrew Brimmer recalls his work in the Sudan
Andrew Brimmer details his appointment to the Federal Reserve Board by President Johnson
Transcript
Once we were in the Sudan, we worked through the Ministry of Finance to set up the central banks. And we worked on the economics and finances side as well. And, but our mission cut across the traditional relation because the Bank of England normally would have been asked to help the Sudanese set up their central banking arrangement. But the Bank of England advisor had said you don't need a central bank (laughter). What you need is a currency board--a colonial arrangement. The Sudanese rejected that, and they wanted a central bank more like our Federal Reserve or like the Bank of England itself. And the U.S. was just reaching out. This is during the Eisenhower administration. And the U.S. was trying to make some headway in the Middle East or in North Africa and so on. So the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan suggested they ask the Federal Reserve and that's how we got there. But once we were there, among the Sudanese and others, we were the Americans. And so a variety of issues came to our desks, not because we were familiar with the, the issues, but because we were there--and one, and I mentioned this in my journal--$$(Videographer:) Pause. Jet. Okay.$$I was saying because we were Americans, we ended up with all kinds of issues being brought to our desk. And one that came to me, and I mentioned it in my journal at some length. Into my office, the secretary came in and said, and "There is a gentleman here to see you. He is from the Khartoum Zoo." I said, "Oh?" He said, "Yes." And he was the Commissioner, and he came in with his proper neo-colonial uniform on, with his high socks and his short trousers and his topee [helmet]. And he said, "I have a real problem." And I said, "Yes?" And he said, "We have an exchange program with the National Zoo in Washington [D.C.]". And he said, "And we had been assembling a collection to exchange. And I understand that the U.S. has an aid program in which the commodities--"--actually it was a wheat program--"and is shipped in. And, but I was wondering could we get the Air Force to cargo to lift our animals to Washington?" And I said, "Sir, I have no idea about this. This is news to me. I said that my hunch is that you'll have to go through a lot of quarantine (laughter). Those animals have to be in quarantine." He said, "What do you mean?" I said "Because live animals can't be brought into the U.S. back and forth." I said, "and this is a question that the, that the Agriculture Department would have to advise you." And he said, "Really?" (laughter) So, it, it was an interesting experience, interesting experience. The Sudanese did eventually--they adopted our reports and so on. That is how and why I was in the Sudan.$So Johnson decided to appoint me to the Federal Reserve. And, and that is a story about the Federal Reserve as well as about the, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and about me. I'm Number 3. The real problem was that the Federal Reserve had raised the discount rate in early December of 1965. And this is during the Vietnam War. The inflation was building. The President was under a great deal of tension to raise taxes to finance the war, to stop inflation. But it was resisted. The Federal Reserve under Bill [William M.] Martin raised the discount rates that tightened money. Johnson hit the ceiling. He was outraged. And he ended up calling Bill Martin down to the ranch. Well, I learned about it on a Saturday. The, because Hobart Rowan of the 'Washington Post' told me ahead of time. He said, we've got the story and it's going to appear in Sunday's paper and about 10:30 he had, had a copy of the Post sent over and I saw it. What had happened was that the, somebody in the Treasury leaked the thing to Johnson and the White House leaks, leaked the story. Well, that set up real friction between Johnson and the Federal Reserve. Bill Martin wanted to appoint, wanted Johnson to appoint a businessman to replace Canby Balderston who was the Vice Chair, but whose term was expiring the end of January, 1966. Johnson decided to appointment me or rather let me put it, he was considering me. Evans and Novak wrote a story in the Washington Post. I remember it was February 22nd. That is an important date because that's Washington's birthday and the Government was closed. But Johnson ordered the Secretary of the Treasury--he read, Johnson read the [Rowland] Evans and [Robert] Novak story, and he asked the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors to interview me. I'd already been interviewed by Walter Heller on Johnson's behalf. So I went down to Treasury, and we talked and Joe Fowler, Secretary Treasurer and Acting Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors said, we, we're strongly supporting you. We told the President that he ought to go ahead with you. That was a Tuesday, on Thursday, I got a call in my office from Marvin Watson who was Johnson's appointment secretary [White House Chief of Staff] . He said, the boss wants to see you. I went over to the White House, and this is where the drama was. I expected to go to Marvin's office to be taken to the Oval Office. I got there. Marvin said, the boss went over to the Mansion. He wants us to come over. So I expected to see Johnson in his study in the White House. We went there, went up and up; the door opened. And there was this Secret Service guy standing there, and he said, "The President is not available." So Marvin said, "He expects us." The guy said, "He's not available!" So Marvin said, "You'd better go ask him." The agent came back and said, "Please, come." I walked into Johnson's bedroom. So I was interviewed by the President about going to the Federal Reserve in his bedroom. Marvin had told us we had 10 minutes. I stayed for 45 minutes. We talked about the Federal Reserve for about 5 to 7 minutes and the rest we talked about Johnson and, and how he was--he believed in actually integrating blacks into the government.