Financial History Issue 118 (Summer 2016) | Page 28

Hulton Archive / Getty Images The Fed has had two black governors since Brimmer: Emmett Rice, nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, and Roger Ferguson, nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1997. According to Brimmer’s obituary in Bloomberg, Ferguson said in a 2002 speech to college students that, as a teenager growing up in Washington in 1966, he followed newspaper accounts of Brimmer’s barrier-breaking appointment and, in the process, “became absolutely fascinated with economics and with this institution, the Federal Reserve.” Brimmer served on the Tuskegee University board of directors from 1965 to 2010 and as the board’s chairman for  28 years, making him the longest-serving chairman in the school’s history. The institute’s business school building is named for Brimmer. He published several books, including Life Insurance Companies in the Capital Market (1962), The World Banking System: Outlook in a Context of Crisis (1985) and Trends, Prospects & Strategies for Black Economic Progress (1985). Brimmer was born in Newellton, Louisiana, in 1926. He was the son of a sharecropper and had no choice but to attend segregated schools. He served in the Army for just a few months at the tail end of World War II. In an interview with the Harvard Crimson in 1974, Brimmer described his journey from the South in the context of US history. “I was part of the same outwardbound stream of people — literally thousands of them — that had migrated out of the area since World War I, although interrupted by the Depression, of course,” he said. “It was Steinbeck’s