Black Women In Charge of Wealth

Thursday, February 25, 2016 Written by 
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Azie Taylor Morton  Image Ownership: Public Domain


First and Only Black Woman U.S. Treasurer


Azie Taylor Morton was a teacher, politician and the only African American to hold the position of Treasurer of the United States. 


Taylor was born to Fleta Hazel Taylor, who was deaf and mute, on February 1st, 1936 in the small community of St. John Colony of Dale, Texas. Taylor did not know her father and was raised by her maternal grandparents on a small farm. During her adolescence, Taylor worked in the cotton fields. Although she was not blind, deaf or an orphan, she attended the Texas Blind, Deaf, and Orphan School during her high school years because there was no high school for African Americans in Dale. She graduated at the top of her class at age 16.


In 1952 Taylor enrolled in Huston-Tillotson University, an all-black college in Austin, Texas. Four years later she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in commercial education. Taylor then attempted to enroll in the University of Texas’s graduate program but was denied admission on the grounds that she had insufficient undergraduate courses. Because of the state’s segregationist policy barring the enrollment of blacks in undergraduate programs, she was not able to complete the admission requirements. 


Taylor instead took a job as a teacher in a state-sponsored school for delinquent girls. She held that position for a year and then was hired as Huston-Tillotson’s assistant to the President. She remained at Huston-Tillotson for a few months until she was hired to work at the Texas AFL-CIO state headquarters in Austin. In 1961 she was invited by President John F. Kennedy to work for the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. She remained with the committee for 20 years, filling various positions. Taylor married James Homer Morton in 1965.  


In 1977 Morton accepted President Jimmy Carter's invitation to serve as the 36th Treasurer of the U.S.  She held the post from September 12th 1977 until January 20th, 1981. In addition she was a member of the American Delegation to Rome, Italy for the Enthronement of Pope John Paul II in 1978; Chair of the People to People Mission to the Soviet Union and China in 1986; and an Election Observer for Presidential elections in Haiti, Senegal and the Dominican Republic. She also was a representative to the first African/African American Conference held in Africa.


After returning to Austin, Morton served on the Austin Housing Authority Board of Commissioners (HACA) from 1999 to 2001. In honor of her service, the HACA created the Azie Morton Scholarship Fund for low-income students at Huston-Tillotson.


Azie Taylor Morton died in December 2003.  




The Trillion Dollar Black Woman of Wall Street


When most people think of Wall Street titans, they think of rich, white men who garner very little interest from our young people. This may be true, but it isn’t completely accurate because swimming with the sharks is a Queen our young people should know about.


In 2014, Suzanne Shank became one of, if not the first, black woman to head a publicly traded financial services institution. Shank was promoted to CEO of Siebert Financial Corporation (a broker/deal institutional investment bank founded by Muriel Seibert). A monumental feat indeed, but it nowhere near defines the career and future of this extraordinary woman.


In addition to holding this post, Shank is also the CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC. It seems like a lot of work, but Shank splits her time between the two businesses and is doing very well.


As you can imagine, Shank’s resume is power packed, impressive and mind blowing to say the least.


Shank was a Wharton MBA graduate in finance, class of 1987, has a civil engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, and is President, Municipal bond trader, CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co, LLC, the largest minority-owned municipal finance firm in the United States.


Since the start of her firm, they have acted as managing underwriter for municipal bond transactions exceeding a whopping $1.2 trillion dollars and ranks among the top 10 in seven key infrastructure categories for underwriting municipal bonds in the world.


This powerful, black woman is one to remember as her trailblazing ways will continue to inspire, develop, nurture and create more and more great minds in our community.




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