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On this day June 19, 1865, emancipation was finally granted to the remaining slaves in the rebellious state of Texas. Two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the confederate states, the hold out White plantation owners grudgingly and reluctantly gave in to the pressures of the US government, but held onto the racial hatred embedded in their hearts.
Fast forward to 2006, a short eight years ago, when Black financial tycoon, Mellody Hobson, was mistaken for kitchen help while in New York City on a campaign fundraising trip for Harold Ford. The manager who made that awful blunder needed to clean out the cobwebs and realize that Black people have significantly advanced since the rough-shod days of our Civil War past.
Mellody recently created a TED Talk about her experience, urging her audience to move from being color blind to becoming color brave. We’ll talk about this lingering issue with veteran consultant and former Chair of the National Black MBA Association Bill Wells, Jr.
It’s an American issue that simply won’t go away.
About Juneteenth Day
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
About Mellody Hobson
Mellody Hobson is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning, overseeing all operations outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust. Beyond her work at Ariel, Mellody has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets and economic trends for CBS News. She also contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and pens a column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, she is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt Study: 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities.
Mellody is chairman of the board for DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. as well as a director of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and Starbucks Corporation. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high quality, out-of-school time programs. Furthermore, she is a board member of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, The Chicago Public Education Fund, Sundance Institute and is on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors. Mellody earned her AB degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She also received honorary doctorate degrees in humanities from both Howard University and St. Mary’s College.
In 2013 Hobson married her longtime boyfriend filmmaker George Lucas and is the mother of one child.
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