1870: Hiram Revels Becomes First Black U.S. Senator
February 13, 1970
New York Stock Exchange Admits First Black Member
African-Americans found few opportunities in the securities industry until well into the 1960s. That history was reflected in the New York Stock Exchange, which did not have a single black member until Joseph L. Searles III was admitted on this date in 1970.
Searles had been an aide to NYC Mayor John V. Lindsey until joining Newberger, Loeb & Co. as a floor broker. With membership in the exchange, Searles also gained entry to the exclusive Stock Exchange Luncheon Club, but the members evidently were not happy about it. Searles was given a private table where he had to dine alone. (The luncheon club, which had been founded in 1898 by J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and other Wall Street moguls, had issues beyond race. It did not admit women until the late 1960s, and even then it refused to install a women's rest room until 1987. The club was closed in 2006.)
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