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raceAhead: June 15, 2016

June 15, 2016, 1:24 PM UTC

It’s officially summer intern season, and most corporations are preparing to welcome fresh-faced high school and college students of color as part of their diversity programs. Is a future CEO among them?

It’s entirely possible.

One of the best stories I’ve collected while on this beat is that of Mandell Crawley, the current Global CMO of Morgan Stanley. Crawley is the highest-ranking African American in the firm, and has enjoyed a steady ascent to the C-Suite, starting as an intern in the Chicago office of Dean Witter Reynolds in 1992. The running buzz among the some 16,000 financial advisers who’ve worked closely with Crawley over the years is that he’s got what it takes to be CEO. He sits on the firm’s management committee, “optically, that’s important,” he says. But how he got there was a combination of his hard work, intelligence, and the consistent willingness of powerful people who didn’t look like him to understand his development needs and advocate for him.

Crawley grew up in Chicago’s south side, raised by hard-working grandparents—a waitress and an Oscar Meyer plant worker—who had migrated from the South. His plan was to keep it simple, finish vocational high school, and maybe study to be a teacher. He had heard about a high school internship offered by Dean Witter Reynolds and went for it. He showed up his first day in a gold suit, his only one and his Sunday best. “I don’t know why, but the manager of the trading desk just took an interest in me.” That interest translated into a crash course into markets and finance, but also to how to order in a restaurant, how to ski, and appropriate work attire. “It was a window into how the world worked,” he said. The manager made arrangements for Crawley to continue working part-time while attending a local college. “He knew I needed the money,” he says.

Crawley navigated the world of post-9/11 high finance with dedication. But in 2008, a close sponsor who had been helping him make the transition into a bigger job abruptly left the firm. It was only then that Crawley realized how important those increasingly sophisticated relationships had been. “I felt rudderless,” he said. “I did have a brief moment where I was discouraged.” It’s a story that he shares when he speaks to employee affinity groups, in town halls, and colleges, but also with retail managers, advisers, and in the management committee. His point: Relationships matter. “Change always moves at glacial speed,” he says, “but the diversity rhetoric has real substance now.”

On Point

Paypal wants immigrant cash.
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Ebony, Jet magazines find a new owner.
After 71 years in the publishing industry, the family-owned Johnson Publishing is selling its iconic Ebony and Jet brands to a private equity firm in Austin, Texas. Ebony, in particular, has been a centerpiece of African American culture and reporting since it was first published in 1945.
Chicago Tribune

The smart way to improve struggling schools.
A new, in-depth research report studies community school transformation in New York City. Among the findings: parental and community engagement is key, real change takes five, 10 years, or more, and short-term fixes destroy teacher morale and do more harm than good.

Navajo demand a role in Utah government.
Navajo in San Juan County, Utah have won a federal ruling saying they were the victims of “racial gerrymandering” to suppress the Native vote, resulting in decades of underrepresentation in government and sub-standard education, water, and emergency services. In 1957, Utah became one of the last states in the nation to grant Native Americans the right to vote, doing so only after being forced by a federal judge.
High Country News

Blame the media for Trump.
A new study from Harvard examines the role of print journalists in the rise of Donald Trump. The critical report said that the print media failed to be in “watchdog mode” and seemed “unmindful that they and not the electorate were Trump’s first audience,” as they amplified his most damaging rhetoric. Poynter’s James Warren digs into the details.

The Woke Leader

A rediscovered novel from 1891.
Lost novels are always a romantic discovery, but when the author is a free black woman writing in the 1800s, the discovery is even more intriguing. Gretchen Gerona recently found True Love: The Story of English Domestic Life, published by black novelist Sarah E. Farro in 1891. The reclaimed work has revived a fascinating discussion of the overlooked canon of novels written by free or freed black Americans starting as early as 1853.
The Root

When televised debates were new.
During the Republican and Democratic conventions of 1968, ABC News – third place, cash-strapped, and with no star anchors- hired conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal Gore Vidal to participate in 10 debates on nightly television. The brawling framed the conservative-liberal ideological divide that still rages today, and touched all issues in a shockingly relevant way: race, class, inequity, orientation, and gender. They also really hated each other.

The Chicago Freedom Movement, then and now.
In 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr. expanded his civil rights work to Chicago, focusing specifically on discrimination in employment and housing in the city. Last night, NPR’s Michel Martin hosted a live event exploring the legacy of that work, sharing stories from residents, recent immigrants, organizers, educators, and artists. What’s the way forward?
NPR's Facebook Extra


Never think that war is a good thing, grandchildren. Though it may be necessary at times to defend our people, war is a sickness that must be cured. War is a time out of balance. When it is truly over, we must work to restore peace and sacred harmony once again.
—Joseph Bruchac, Navajo Code Talker