Lawrence Otis Graham was born in New York, New York and raised in Westchester County, NY.
Lawrence Otis Graham is a nationally-known corporate and labor attorney as well as a New York Times bestselling author of 14 non-fiction books on the subject of politics, education, race and class in America. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, his work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Glamour, U.S. News & World Report and Reader's Digest, where he has served as a contributing editor. His book, Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class (HarperCollins) was a New York Times, L.A. Times and Essence Magazine bestseller, as well as a selection of the Book of the Month Club.
Graham’s book, The Senator and The Socialite: the Story of America’s First Black Political Dynasty (HarperCollins) is a biography of U.S. Senator Blanche Bruce, the first black to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. Graham is also the author of such books as The Best Companies for Minorities (Penguin Books) and Proversity: Getting Past Face Value (John Wiley & Sons) —two guides on diversity in the workplace...as well as Member of the Club, which focused on his now-famous experience of leaving his New York law firm and going undercover as a busboy to expose racism, sexism and anti-Semitism at a segregated country club in Connecticut during the 1990s. That was originally a cover story on New York Magazine, and was later optioned for a feature film by Warner Brothers. The article led to the PGA's decision to no longer host events at segregated clubs. Upon the article's publication, Graham was named Young Lawyer of the Year by the National Bar Association, and several city bar associations around the nation adopted policies that discouraged member firms from hosting events or conducting business with clubs that did not permit women, minorities or Jews.
Graham has appeared on numerous TV programs including Charlie Rose, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, The View, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Good Morning America, and has been profiled in USA Today, Time Magazine, Ebony, People Magazine and many other publications. He is a popular speaker at colleges, corporations and other institutions where he has addressed the issues of education, diversity and American culture. His audiences have included Duke University, UCLA, Howard, Yale University, Kraft Foods, Corning, Xerox, Disney, American Jewish Committee, the American Library Association and many other organizations around the U.S. and Japan. His research and advice have appeared in The Wall Street Journal. He launched a campaign to get the U.S. Post Office to honor Senator Blanche Bruce on a stamp since the nation has never placed a black elected official on a stamp. A former adjunct professor at Fordham University, Graham has taught African American Studies as well as American Government. A lifelong resident of Westchester County (NY), Graham appears weekly as a political commentator on News 12, and also writes Westchester Magazine's online political column "Point of View". He is chairman of the Westchester County Police Board and has served on many boards including Red Cross of Westchester, the Boy Scouts, Princeton Center for Leadership Training, Jack & Jill Foundation, and Council on Economic Priorities. Graham is Editor at Large of Uptown Magazine.
Graham is a trustee of SUNY Purchase College Foundation and the Horace Mann School and is married to the corporate executive, Pamela Thomas-Graham, who is the author of several books including Blue Blood and Orange Crushed. They live in Manhattan and Westchester County, New York, and they have three children.
The Senator and the Socialite: The True Story of America's First Black Dynasty
This is the true story of America’s first black dynasty and follows three generations of a family that rose from slavery to the U.S. Senate. Born a Mississippi slave in 1841, Blanche Kelso Bruce amassed a real estate fortune and became the first black to serve a full Senate term. He married Josephine Willson, the daughter of a wealthy black doctor, and they broke racial barriers as a socialite couple in 1880s Washington D.C.. By hosting white Republicans and blacks like President Grant and Frederick Douglass, Bruce gained appointments under four Presidents, culminating with a US Treasury post which placed his name on all U.S. currency.
Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class
Debutante cotillions. Million-dollar homes. Summers in Martha’s Vineyard and Sag Harbor. Membership in the Links, Jack and Jill, Deltas, Boule, and AKAs. An obsession with the right schools, families, churches, social clubs, and skin complexion. This is the world of the black upper class and the focus of the first book written about the black elite by a member of this hard-to-penetrate group.
Member of The Club: Reflections on Life in a Polarized World
Member of the Club was Lawrence Otis Graham’s 11th book, but it was the one that brought national recognition to his smart and insightful essays on race, class and politics. This book is best known for revealing Graham’s experience of leaving his successful corporate law practice at one of New York’s largest law firms in order to go undercover as a busboy at a famous Connecticut country club that discriminates against African Americans, Jews, Hispanics, Asians and women. An excerpt of this book appeared on the cover of New York Magazine and made it their best-selling issue in the publication’s history.