U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated three people to serve on the Federal Reserve board. Of the three nominees, two are Blacks and the nomination has been “hailed as history-making move.” The two Blacks are Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson.
“This group will bring much-needed expertise, judgment and leadership to the Federal Reserve while at the same time bringing a diversity of thought and perspective never seen before on the Board of Governors,” the president said in a statement.
If they are approved, Cook and Jefferson would be two of only five African-American Fed governors in the central bank’s 108-year history, and the first since 2006, according to the NPR.
Here is a profile of the two Black nominees:
Lisa Cook has been a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State since 2005. From 2011 to 2012, she served as a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers. She was also an adviser to the Biden-Harris transition team on the Fed and bank regulatory policy, according to First Post.
Cook was the first Marshall Scholar from Spelman College and earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, with fields in macroeconomics and international economics.
Before earning her Ph.D., she worked as a research assistant at the Brookings Institution for Alice Rivlin, who would later become a vice chairwoman of the Fed.
Cook is also known for her academic paper on the impact of racial violence on African-American invention and innovation. Her work has focused on macroeconomics, economic history, international finance and innovation, particularly on how hate-related violence has reduced U.S. economic growth, according to The Washington Post.
She comes from a family of civil-rights activists. According to the Wall Street Journal, her uncle was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr and one of her cousins marched with King in the 1960s.
Cook has also been an advocate for Black women in economics and won an award for mentoring in 2019. If confirmed, Cook will be the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board.
Philip Jefferson, on the other hand, is an economist at Davidson College. He earned his PhD in economics, specializing in monetary economics and finance, at the University of Virginia and has since spent most of his career in Academia.
From 1997 to 2019, he was an economics professor at Swarthmore College and also spent a year as a staff economist in the division of monetary affairs at the Fed board in Washington in the 1990s.
In an interview with the American Economic Association, Jefferson revealed that he grew up in a working-class family in Washington, D.C.
His confirmation will make him the fourth Black man appointed to the board. His work has largely “focused on inequality, how business cycles affect poverty rates and the role of education as a shield against unemployment,” according to The Washington Post.