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Charles N. Atkins

Investment banker Charles N. Atkins was born on December 12, 1952 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Dr. Charles Atkins, Sr. and Hannah Diggs Atkins. Atkins’ mother was the first African American woman to be elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1958, serving until 1980. Atkins graduated from Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Oklahoma City in 1971, and went on to receive his B.A. degree in political science, magna cum laude, from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1975. Atkins then earned his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1978.

Following his graduation from Harvard Law School, Atkins served as an associate assistant to President Jimmy Carter, and as the second legislative counsel to U.S. Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma. In 1984, he was named deputy director of the Democratic National Convention platform committee, as well as deputy campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s vice-presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferarro. Atkins worked as a senior vice president at Lehman Brothers from 1988 to 1990 before leaving to join Morgan Stanley. As executive director, Atkins focused on corporate structured finance and utility sector recapitalization, and headed the corporate reorganization of Constellation Energy. He also served on President Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team in 1993, and was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Advisory Committee of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Atkins left Morgan Stanley in 2013 to found Atkins Capital Strategies LLC. In 2015, he became the executive chairman of Premier League Basketball in the United Kingdom, and a partner at Maroon Capital Group LLC. In 2017, Atkins became a senior advisor at Guggenheim Securities, LLC in New York City, focusing on corporate structured finance for corporate and financial sponsor clients.

Atkins was a trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Folk Art Museum, in addition to serving on the board of advisors for his elementary school, Casady School in Oklahoma City. Atkins also worked with McKinsey & Company, publishing multiple financial reports such as Global Capital Markets: Entering a New Era, in collaboration with a team of economists. Atkins has been awarded two U.S. patents for innovative financing structures.

Charles N. Atkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 16, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/16/2016

Last Name

Atkins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

N.

Schools

Bishop Mcguinness Catholic High School

Harvard Law School

Edwards Elementary School

Casady School

Howard University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Oklahoma City

HM ID

ATK01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean Beaches

Favorite Quote

The Struggle Continues.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/25/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Macaroni And Cheese, Peach Pie

Short Description

Investment banker Charles N. Atkins (1953 - ) served as the executive director of Morgan Stanley from 1990 to 2013, the founder of Atkins Capital Strategies LLC, and a senior advisor at Guggenheim Securities, LLC.

Employment

The United States Government

United States Senate

Democratic National Convention

Geraldine Ferarro's Campaign

Lehman Brothers

Morgan Stanley

Atkins Capital Strategies

Maroon Capital Group LLC

Akin Gump

Butler and Binion

Favorite Color

Bright Orange, Orange-Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665429">Tape: 1 Slating of Charles N. Atkins' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665430">Tape: 1 Charles N. Atkins lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665431">Tape: 1 Charles N. Atkins describes his father's family background, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665432">Tape: 1 Charles N. Atkins describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665433">Tape: 1 Charles N. Atkins describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665434">Tape: 1 Charles N. Atkins talks about his father's medical career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665435">Tape: 1 Charles N. Atkins talks about the African American community in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665436">Tape: 1 Charles N. Atkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665437">Tape: 2 Charles N. Atkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665438">Tape: 2 Charles N. Atkins talks about his maternal family's education and professions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665439">Tape: 2 Charles N. Atkins recalls his early civil rights activities in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665440">Tape: 2 Charles N. Atkins remembers integrating the Casady School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665441">Tape: 2 Charles N. Atkins describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665442">Tape: 2 Charles N. Atkins describes his community in rural Oklahoma City, Oklahoma</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665443">Tape: 2 Charles N. Atkins describes his experiences of desegregation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665444">Tape: 3 Charles N. Atkins remembers the desegregation of the Oklahoma City Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665445">Tape: 3 Charles N. Atkins talks about his mother's activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665446">Tape: 3 Charles N. Atkins describes his mother's political career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665447">Tape: 3 Charles N. Atkins describes his mother's involvement with the National Black Political Conventions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665448">Tape: 3 Charles N. Atkins describes his experiences at Howard University, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665449">Tape: 3 Charles N. Atkins describes is experiences at Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665450">Tape: 3 Charles N. Atkins describes his undergraduate honors thesis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665451">Tape: 4 Charles N. Atkins talks about his high school activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665452">Tape: 4 Charles N. Atkins describes his early experiences of religion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665453">Tape: 4 Charles N. Atkins talks about his decision to attend Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665454">Tape: 4 Charles N. Atkins remembers his professors and classmates at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665455">Tape: 4 Charles N. Atkins talks about the diverse student body of Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665456">Tape: 4 Charles N. Atkins recalls Harvard University's divestment from South Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665457">Tape: 4 Charles N. Atkins talks about his summer law internships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665458">Tape: 5 Charles N. Atkins describes his experiences at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665459">Tape: 5 Charles N. Atkins describes his role in the Office of Public Liaison under President Jimmy Carter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665460">Tape: 5 Charles N. Atkins remembers working as legislative counsel to Senator David Boren</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665461">Tape: 5 Charles N. Atkins remembers meeting Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665462">Tape: 5 Charles N. Atkins describes his work on the Democratic Party Platform Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/665463">Tape: 6 Charles N. Atkins narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

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DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Charles N. Atkins recalls his early civil rights activities in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Charles N. Atkins describes his work on the Democratic Party Platform Committee
Transcript
And so we have here, here is, (displays photograph) here is my--this is in Oklahoma City [Oklahoma], in, on November 7th in 1955. This is a particular photograph that was done by an Associated Press for--person. This was upon the, the, upon the particular ruling by the Interstate Commerce Commission that basically train travel in, would, would basically no longer be, be segregated. And so this was in the Santa Fe train station, Oklahoma City [Santa Fe Depot, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma], in 1955, and so I'm that young, almost three year old, in my dad's [Charles N. Atkins, Sr.] arms and we were a nice looking Negro family, and we were looking up at a sign that said Negro waiting room. And so this is the whole story about how I was born into Jim Crow. As a, as a young child at the ages of four and five I remember participating in sit-in demonstrations in Oklahoma City, which were 1957, 1958. We had the longest continuous sit-in of demonstration in American history, which was, which was basically prior to Greensboro [North Carolina] in 1960. In Oklahoma City, the NAACP Youth Council led by Miss, Miss Clara Luper, all of us marched, and so as a child I marched. And I have vivid memories of white and colored signs. And, and, and so I also attended an outstanding segregated elementary school, Edwards Elementary School [Oklahoma City, Oklahoma], where I, I got a, a great start and then in 1965, we--our particular family is third or fourth generation Episcopalian, active in the Episcopal church in Oklahoma City. My older brother Edmund [Edmund E. Atkins] who was in that particular photo, was not allowed to attend the Episcopal prep school in Oklahoma City, which is Casady School, which is still absolutely the best school in Oklahoma, Casady School. He was not allowed to attend even though it is an Episcopal school.$$Because he was black?$$Yes. And it was all-white.$$And what year was this?$$This was up until '65 [1965]. In '65 [1965] I was part of four students who integrated Casady School as sixth graders, and it was all students from our church, and which was a black Episcopalian church in Oklahoma City, the wonderful, the wonderful Church of the Redeemer [Episcopal Church of the Redeemer] and so I integrated Casady School, a tremendous education. I studied classical Greek. I studied Latin. I studied French. It was, it was a top notch, you know, more of a New England style prep school with, with chapel every day, uniforms, jackets and ties at chapel and at lunch and I have lifelong friends. It was a tremendously positive experience integrating that.$David Boren was a good man. He was a seatmate of Hannah's [Atkins' mother, Hannah Diggs Atkins] in the Oklahoma Legislature. He was in the, the House of Representatives [Oklahoma House of Representatives], he was one of the youngest governors and he was the close, close friend. I worked for him. He was a good friend of my dad's [Charles N. Atkins, Sr.]. He, he gave a wonderful eulogy at Hannah's funeral, along with the governor and, but we will get to that in our next round.$$Okay.$$But from the, from the Boren office, my dear, my dear late wife Gayle [Gayle Perkins Atkins], she was editorial director at, at Channel 4 [WRC-TV] in D.C. [Washington, D.C.]. She had, she had, she had a particular session with Ann Lewis who is basically Barney Frank's sister, and Lewis was a major, major Democratic Party activist. And she mentioned to Gayle that there was this woman in [U.S.] Congress from Queens [New York] named, named Geraldine Ferraro who was gonna be chair of the Democratic Party Platform Committee, and so Ann Lewis mentioned to Gayle, "You know what, we're doing staff for the, for the Democratic Party Platform Committee," and she asked Gayle, "Do you know anybody who, who, might be good on that staff?" And Gayle said, "Yeah, my husband" (laughter). And so I became right after I worked, I helped David Boren do the response to the State of the Union, I helped him write that, I moved over to the, to the DNC [Democratic National Committee]. This was '83 [1983]. This was basically February of '83 [1983], and I, it was Susan Estrich who was also, who was a year or two, year or two of me--year or two ahead of me at Harvard Law School [Cambridge, Massachusetts], was the first, the first woman to be president of the Harvard Law Review. She was active in, in, in, in Democratic Party politics. And so it was, it was me and Susan Estrich who headed up the, that, that, that staff for the Democratic Party platform. All throughout '83 [1983] and '84 [1984], so it was Jesse Jackson [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson] campaign, Gary Hart campaign and Walter Mondale campaign and we held maybe ten or fifteen hearings. [HistoryMaker] Richard Arrington who was the, the, the first black mayor of, of Birmingham [Alabama], was the chair of the, was the basically deputy chair and then Geraldine was the chair, so after doing that whole, that whole complex Democratic Party platform with three active Democratic Party--three active presidential campaigns, I'm there in San Francisco [California] at the Democratic, at the, at the San Francisco convention [1984 Democratic National Convention, San Francisco, California], and I'm there in the hotel suite with, with Geraldine. I was there when Walter Mondale called her to join the 1984 ticket, and so I was her first hug. I gave her her first hug and she said, "Charles [HistoryMaker Charles N. Atkins] I want you on the campaign plane with me, I want you there with me." And so I became deputy campaign manager, 1984 presidential campaign and it was a great, eighty-four campaign stops in twenty-five states and a great historical experience, even though we lost, lost forty-nine states, it was a great experience.