Swearing-in of Dr. Andrew Brimmer as Member of the Federal Reserve Board. [LBJ Library photo by Robert Knudsen. #C1435-7]

Andrew Brimmer, Who Broke Color Barrier on Fed Board, Dies

Oct 11, 2012

by Laurence Arnold

[Originally posted by Bloomberg on October 11, 2012]

Andrew Brimmer, an economist who became the first black member of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him in 1966, has died. He was 86.

He died on Oct. 7, his daughter, Esther Brimmer, said yesterday. No cause was given.

The son of a Louisiana sharecropper, Andrew Brimmer moved north to pursue higher education and didn't stop until he had a Ph.D. from Harvard Business School. He worked as a staff economist in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as an assistant professor of economics before joining the federal government as a deputy assistant secretary of commerce under President John F. Kennedy.

In nominating Brimmer as a Fed governor on Feb. 26, 1966, Johnson said, "He is a man of wide professional experience and great personal integrity, a man of moderation whose brilliance is combined with a sense of fair play that I believe will enable him to serve with distinction."

The lead story in the next day's New York Times carried the headline, "Johnson Appoints Negro Economist to Reserve Board."  read more

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurence Arnold in Washington at larnold4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Charles W. Stevens at cstevens@bloomberg.net