History was made in Atlanta , as its Federal Reserve Bank named Raphael Bostic, a University of Southern California economics professor, as its first gay, Black president.

Bostic, 50, is an experienced public policymaker, whose resume includes working with the bank’s Board of Governors, at Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and is widely known as an authority on real-estate economics and housing finance, which he teaches at USC.

“He is a seasoned and versatile leader, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public policy and academia,” said Thomas Fanning, the board chairman of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, noting further that “Raphael is a perfect bridge between people and policy.”

By Nathan James

The Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, manages the nation’s currency and sets such critical economic indicators as the long-term interest rate, is considered “the backbone of America’s financial structure,” according to the Smithsonian Institution. Bostic, who will take office in June, said, “The Reserve Banks are vital contributors to our nation’s economic and financial success.

In my role as President of Atlanta’s Reserve Bank, I look forward to confronting the challenges the Federal reserve faces in today’s increasingly global and rapidly changing economy.”

As a Policy Development assistant secretary of HUD, Bostic tackled the issues of anti-gay and anti-transgender discrimination in various real-estate markets, and advanced plans to facilitate access for the LGBTQ community. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta), hailed Bostic’s appointment.

“Atlanta is the cradle of the civil-rights movement, and it is only fitting that our city be home to the first African-American head of a Federal Reserve Bank,” Lewis stated, “I congratulate Mr. Bostic on his historic appointment.” The bank handles financial affairs in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The bank was created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and considers itself “an independent central bank, because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government”. The twelve regional presidents, including Bostic, vote on US financial matters, along with the bank’s Board of Governors.