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I’m the youngest of five; three boys and two girls, and as you might imagine, providing for a family of five on a jazz musician’s salary wasn’t easy. My mom was a research scientist doing early work on cancer and cigarettes, until she became a stay-home mom.

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One woman looked at me for the first time and exclaimed “Oh my god; I had no idea you were black.” Another man quoted me a third of the salary he’d offered, and told me I “wouldn’t want to work for that.”I was always the only black guy at the ad agencies I worked at. Lisa They kid themselves that it doesn’t affect them, Jackie. Jackie I’m not disagreeing, but most avoid unpleasantness until they can’t. Jackie It was an unusual coming to awareness for myself.

When I switched over to publishing, I was the only black person who held the title of Director in a company of thousands. Lisa Look at this — I can’t ask you the same question can I? Like everyone else, I learned the history I was taught, which was in retrospect, incredibly flawed.

How old are you, what do you do for a living, where did you grow up, and when did you find out you were black? My dad was a jazz musician who toured with all the greats: Louis Armstrong, Count Bassie, Duke Ellington.

There was a class action lawsuit going on at the time––which the plaintiffs won––suing the company for not promoting people of color.

Then in the 90s during the Bush recession I was unemployed for a year and a half.