Joseph L. Searles lll, First African-American NYSE Floor Broker Dies at 79


The first African American floor broker in the New York Stock Exchange passed at the age of 79 late last month. 

Joseph L. Searles lll died on July 26, 2021, after numerous successes in his personal and professional life. 

Searles was born in Asheville, North Carolina, on Jan. 2, 1942, and raised in Fort Hood, Texas.

He gained national prominence in 1970 when he became the first African American floor broker on the New York Stock Exchange, where he worked at Newburger, Loeb & Co. He also played professional football for the New York Giants, became an investment and commercial banker, served as chairman and director of the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and was the protégé of New York Mayor John V. Lindsay. 

In 1984, Searles became a vice president at the Public Finance Division at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., now J.P. Morgan Chase. He also held other distinguished positions in federal, state, and municipal agencies in housing, according to EIN Presswire. 

Searles was known as an intuitive thinker who significantly impacted the quality of life for the African American community. 

As an expert in financial development and urban revitalization, he’s credited as an early urban development specialist who used mainstream strategies to transform the size and quality of minority business ventures. 

In 1969, he hosted the country’s first minority franchising fair while serving as deputy commissioner of the New York City Economic Development Administration. While in the role, he established minority enterprises and small businesses throughout the city. 

While serving as chief real estate officer and consultant at Harlem Commonwealth Council, Searles engaged in retail and commercial development in Harlem. He was also the chairman of the 125th Street Business Improvement District in the borough. 

Searles’ education included Kansas State University and George Washington University Law School. 

He led in many other capacities that impacted the communities he served in. 

Searles was a son, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his three children Monica R. Dockery of Texas, Townsend R. Sowell of D.C., and Courtney E. Snowden of New York. He also has two grandchildren, Joseph T. Brown and Zamaria D. R. Cauthen.


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