DIRECTORS: The Black on GM's Board

"Now what's good for General Motors really is good for America," whooped Lyndon Johnson over the telephone in January 1971. He was congratulating the Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, pastor of the 6,000-member Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia, who had just been chosen as the first black to sit on General Motors' 23-member board of directors. Sullivan's election was widely regarded—not least by Sullivan himself—as an important test of the idea that a black presence in the board room could make a giant corporation more sensitive to the needs of minorities. The 6...

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