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This Day In Market History: Joseph Searles III Breaks NYSE Color Barrier

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This Day In Market History: Joseph Searles III Breaks NYSE Color Barrier
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Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 48 years ago, Joseph Searles III became the first African American member of the New York Stock Exchange.

Where Was The Market?

The S&P 500 was at 86.73 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 775.61.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1970, the Beatles officially broke up and the astronauts of the Apollo 13 moon mission crew safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after an oxygen tank explosion during their mission put their lives at risk. A U.S. postage stamp cost 6 cents.

Breaking The Wall Street Color Barrier

Less than 23 years after Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Joseph Searles III broke another major color barrier in New York City. Searles was elected to the NYSE and served as a floor broker for Newburger, Loeb & Co.

Searles became the first African American with trading floor access, following in the footsteps of Clarence B. Jones. Jones became the first allied member of the NYSE as partner of Carter, Berlind & Weill in 1967 but didn't have trading floor access.

Searles’ position at the NYSE may have been historically important, but it didn't last long. When a bear market hit later in the year, Searles was forced to relinquish his NYSE membership in November of the same year. He went on to serve as the first chairman of the 125th Business Improvement District in Harlem.

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