Lawrence Otis Graham was born in Manhattan on Dec. 25, 1961, the son of Richard Graham, an actual property developer, and Betty (Walker) Graham, a social employee. His household quickly moved to suburban Mount Vernon, simply north of New York City. They moved additional north, to White Plains, in 1967 — the identical yr, Mr. Graham later famous, that the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” in which a white lady introduces her supposedly liberal dad and mom to her new Black fiancé, performed by Sidney Poitier, was launched.
Mr. Graham’s dad and mom had their very own struggles with supposedly liberal white folks: It took them months to discover a dwelling in White Plains, with many sellers refusing to work with them. When they lastly discovered one, they needed to pay a 25 p.c premium, and even then a number of of their future neighbors banded collectively to attempt to pre-emptively purchase the home as a substitute.
When he was 10, Mr. Graham recalled, he was at a swimming pool along with his brother and a number of white mates. But when he jumped in the water, his mates’ dad and mom rushed to drag them out.
Over time, although, Mr. Graham discovered a manner into white society by way of private achievement, enjoying tennis in highschool and writing a column along with his mom for an area newspaper.
He wrote three books as an undergraduate at Princeton, all of them guidebooks to varsity, and three extra, about entering into skilled diploma packages, as a scholar at Harvard Law School.
While at legislation college he met Pamela Thomas; they married in 1992 and later settled in Chappaqua, N.Y. The two had been usually admired as an influence couple in the Black neighborhood: She was the primary Black lady to make associate on the consulting agency McKinsey & Company, wrote three thriller novels and right this moment sits on quite a lot of company boards.