In 1971, I did something that has reverberated across America to this day.
I apologize for any consequences that have led to the presidency of Barack Obama, the most vile, deplorable, meanspirited, anti-American president to ever hold that office. And for the behavior of the majority of the black caucus, a group of horrible blacks most of whom are a disgrace to American blacks and all Americans.
In the Spring of 1971, I was asked to leave the Bank of California. I was a vice-president, the youngest in America. I pointed out that I couldn’t be fired, but I wanted to leave because the Vice Chair disliked me. With good reason. I was given a generous severance package, a months use of the executive dining room and goldstar recommendations.
What started the commotion was my reputation in the bank as a social activist. The one black in the audit department knew I had been a friend of the leading black civil rights organizer in Chicago when I was at the University of Chicago. He came to me to describe his discomfort when every auditor in his department was upset. Five bank (four white, one black) auditors had gone to lunch at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles where the Bank was a member. After lunch they worked for the afternoon and met at the Club to play basketball. The black auditor was not admitted. “Blacks only admitted for lunch’ they were told.
The head of the audit department did nothing when all the white auditors complained. That left the black fellow feeling uncomfortable. At his request, I told him I would write a letter to the CEO of the Bank. The letter was mild suggesting that a personnel issue had arisen in the Auditing Department that might warrant some review. The mild letter was later reprinted in the San Francisco Examiner and it was indeed mild.
The problem was that the CEO was out of town and the letter went to the Vice Chair who was also the Chairman of the Jonathan Club. He asked my boss to fire me.
Among dozens of job offers including some bank presidencies I took the job of Treasurer and Manager of Glide Memorial Church, the main activist church in the country. I told the board, that hired me, I would be suing the Bank of California over minority discrimination issues. They said ‘great’.
After going to every government discrimination agency and a few famous legal firms and being completely ignored, I found Robert Gnaizda who was starting a new Public Advocates firm. He said he would take the case because I had all the discrimination data in computer print-outs but he said I had to find the people who would be the actual plaintiffs. A woman and a black. He found the Latino plaintiff.
I took every black and every woman who worked at Bank of California headquarters to lunch, showed them the blatant wage discrimination data in their job. Every woman said ‘I’m sure my boss will fix that soon’. Every black said ‘man, you are a fool, if I join your case I will be fired.’
The blacks were right. Except for our good luck. The Federal Judge we drew was the only one of a dozen who would protect the plaintiffs.
It took me three months to find the female plaintiff who had worked for one of the bank’s branches and four months to find the black plaintiff who had been a banker in Texas but was turned away at the Bank of California personnel office because they weren’t hiring near Christmas.
The Bank of California settled the case. The main condition was that I wouldn’t be paid a penny nor required to be rehired. A big fund was set up for all women and minorities to use for supplemental education and training. Middle management was given targets for employment in five years such as 15% blacks. Top management was given targets as well for women and minorities that were very high, especially since there were zero at the time.
We won the case in settlement. Public Advocates demanded that every other major bank in the U.S. and every major Savings & Loan including finance companies like Fireman’s Fund Insurance sign the same agreement or face suit. Nearly all did. The most successful suit in American history as a class action against discrimination on behalf of women and minorities.
The lawyer who won the case, Robert Gnaizda, and I have been friends ever since, having coffee and coke every week for 45 years.
To this day banking and finance are the most integrated industries in America.
I created this suit single handedly and the impact on America is my contribution to racial and sexual integration in American business.
Now you can go back and read my apology in the second paragraph.