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Black History: Special Delivery!!


New York Stock Exchange

Travers J. Bell, Jr.: Cofounder Of 1st Black-Owned Firm Accepted As A Member Of The New York Stock Exchange

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Born in 1941, Travers J. Bell Jr. was a pioneer and trailblazer in the world of investing. He grew up in poverty on the south side of Chicago. Recognizing his ambition, his family encouraged him to pursue higher education at a time when most Black people were unable to do so. Bell earned attended Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and New York Institute of Finance, earning degrees from both institutions.   

He began his career working as a messenger at the brokerage firm Dempsey-Tegeler and Company, where his father worked in the mailroom. Being in this environment ignited a passion in Bell. His passion and drive didn’t go unnoticed. Impressed by Bell, Dempsey-Tegeler cofounder Jerome F. Tegeler began to mentor him. At age 23, Bell was promoted to Operations Manager at Dempsey-Tegeler. Bell left Dempsey-Tegeler following his graduation and became Chief Operating Officer at Fusz Schmelzle. There, he continued honing his skills in sales and trading. During this time, Bell began to dream and strategize about owning his own firm. 

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Joseph Searles: The First African American Trader on The New York Stock Exchange

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Joseph Searles
Joseph Searles (on the right)

Joseph Searles became the first African American member of the New York Stock Exchange on February 13, 1970, when he was employed as a floor trader and partner of Newburger, Loeb and Co.  Searles grew up in Ft. Hood, TX. In college he was a stand-out football player at Kansas University. After KSU, he graduated from George Washington University Law School. He then played for the New York Giants in the 1960’s. There were only a few black players in the league at the time. His success bothered many people. He was asked to cut his afro and hide his car (a green Jaguar) when coming to practices. He played for the Giants until 1967.

Searles played for the Giants until 1967. Soon after, he entered politics, working for Mayor John Lindsey. Searles also had two gubernatorial appointments as Chairman and Director of the State of New York Mortgage Agency where he was responsible for municipal housing issues totaling more than $600 million. It was after this time working in government that he took the job working on the NY Stock Exchange as its first black floor trader.


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