Andrew F. Brimmer, who was the son of a Louisiana sharecropper, became the first African-American member of the Federal Reserve Board. Brimmer was an economist who held several significant positions in government, including one as assistant secretary of commerce for economic affairs in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. He served in that position until appointed to the Federal Reserve Board by Johnson.
Brimmer served a little more than eight years of his 14-year term, leaving the board in 1974 to join the faculty of the Harvard Business School and start a consulting firm, Brimmer & Company. His academic career also included study in India at the Delhi School of Economics and the University of Bombay.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed him as chairman of the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority. This financial control board was appointed to oversee Washington, D.C.'s fiscal affairs and to help restore the city to financial health.
Brimmer studied at the University of Washington, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, where he earned a doctorate. In 1965, Brimmer was part of a federal delegation sent to Los Angeles after rioting in the Watts neighborhood left 34 people dead and tens of millions of dollars in property damage. He died in 2012 in Washington at the age of 86.
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(Photo: Courtesy LBJ Photo Archive/United States Gov)