Joseph L. Searles III is a lawyer and financier who was the first African-American member elected to the New York Stock Exchange. He was elected on February 12, 1970. He was a floor broker for Newburger, Loeb & Co.
Searles served as the treasurer of the New York Urban League and was a member of its board of directors.
Another African-American, Clarence B. Jones, actually has the distinction of being the first allied member of the NYSE when he was named as a partner at Carter, Berlind & Weill Inc. in 1967. Jones did not have trading floor access, but did have voting rights.
Searles was a protege of New York Mayor John V. Lindsay.
Searles had to give up his membership in November of 1970 when a bear market hit.
Searles had been a professional football player with the New York Giants. Afterward, he became an aide to New York City Mayor John Lindsay. He served as deputy commissioner of the New York Economic Development Administration. He held a senior position at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and the Center for Advocacy Research and Planning.
After leaving the exchange, Searles went to work for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. He later pursued community based business initiatives. He was the first chairman of the 125th Business Improvement District in Harlem.
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