From Willard Straight to Wall Street - A Memoir by Thomas W. Jones
Published by Cornell University Press, 2019
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In stark and compelling prose, Thomas W. Jones tells his story as a campus revolutionary who led an armed revolt at Cornell University in 1969 and then altered his course over the next fifty years to become a powerful leader in the financial industry including high-level positions at John Hancock, TIAA-CREF and Citigroup as Wall Street plunged into its darkest hour.
From Willard Straight to Wall Street provides a front row seat to the author's triumphs and struggles as he was twice investigated by the SEC―and emerged unscathed. His searing perspective as an African American navigating a world dominated by whites reveals a father, a husband, a trusted colleague, a Cornellian, and a business leader who confronts life with an unwavering resolve that defies cliché and offers a unique perspective on the issues of race in America today.
The book begins on the steps of Willard Straight Hall where Jones and his classmates staged an occupation for two days that demanded a black studies curriculum at Cornell. The Straight Takeover resulted in the resignation of Cornell President James Perkins with whom Jones reconciled years later.
Jones witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 from his office at ground zero and then observed first-hand the wave of scandals that swept the banking industry over the next decade.
From Willard Straight to Wall Street reveals one of the most interesting American stories of the last fifty years.