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Mellody Hobson. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Mellody Hobson. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

In 2006 Harold Ford called his friend Mellody Hobson, saying that he was running for US Senate in Tennessee, and he need some national press. Hobson, an investor, opens her talk with this story. She called a friend at a major media organization who organized a lunch. Hobson and Ford arrived at the reception, said they were there for the lunch, and were taken to a back room. Then they were asked, “Where are your uniforms?” At that point her friend rushed in, speechless. Hobson said, “Don’t you think we need more than one black person in the us Senate?”

Hobson says that she and Ford still laugh about that incident, but also that “deep deep down inside, I wasn’t surprised.” Her mother was ruthlessly realistic, and had prepared her. For example, after a birthday party where she was the only black person, her mother…

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