LET’S TALK ! With Mendi, Monica & Myisha

LET’S TALK ! With Mendi, Monica & Myisha

Episode 34 – Let’s Talk With Mendi, Monica & Myisha | Black History Month | Spotlight on Reginald F. Lewis Download

00:28 Download February 5th

Each week Mendi, Monica and Myisha brings you insightful conversations with fascinating people about life, love, business, health, finances, and more!

Reginald F. Lewis was born on December 7, 1942 in an East Baltimore neighborhood he once described as “semi-tough.” Lewis was strongly influenced by his family. His parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts always encouraged Lewis to “be the best that you can be.”

Reginald’s grandmother would teach him the importance of saving, even cutting and peeling strips from the bottom of a tin can and nailing it to the floor of a closet to protect his savings.

At the age of ten, Lewis set up a delivery route to sell the Afro American newspaper. After building the business from ten customers to more than a hundred in two years, he sold the route at a profit.

Reginald attended Dunbar High School, where he distinguished himself as an athlete on the playing field and a hard working student in the class room. He was quarterback of the football team, shortstop for varsity baseball, a forward on the basketball team and was team captain of all three.

Lewis was also elected vice president of the student body. Despite the demands of sports and studies, Lewis also worked nights and weekends at a local country club to cloth himself and eventually purchase his own car. In 1961, Lewis entered Virginia State University on a football scholarship. After an injury cut his football career short, he shifted his focus to school and work. One of the jobs was as a photographer’s sales assistant. He generated so much business that he was offered a partnership.

Reginald declined because he had bigger things in mind for the future. A handwritten schedule that he kept says: “To be a good lawyer, one must study HARD.” And he did, graduating on the dean’s list his senior year.

n 1965, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a summer school program at Harvard Law School to introduce a select number of black students to legal studies. Reginald lobbied for his acceptance and got in.

He made such an impression that Lewis was invited to attend Harvard Law School that fall—the only person in the 148-year history of the school to be admitted before applying. His senior year thesis on mergers and acquisitions received an honors grade.

After graduation (HLS ‘68), Lewis landed a job practicing corporate law with a prestigious New York law firm. Two years later he, along with a few others, set up Wall Street’s first African American law firm.

Lewis focused on corporate law, structuring investments in minority-owned businesses and became special counsel to major corporations like General Foods and Equitable Life (now AXA).

Mr. Lewis was also counsel to the New York-based Commission for Racial Justice and represented The Wilmington Ten. He was successful in forcing North Carolina to pay interest on the Wilmington Ten bond.

Read more HERE



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