Lawrence Otis Graham, Lawyer, and Bestselling Author, Dies at 58
CHAPPAQUA, NY -- Lawrence Otis Graham of Chappaqua, New York, respected attorney, author, media commentator, board member and lifelong advocate for diversity, died on Friday, February 19, 2021. Born on December 25, 1961, he was the son of Richard C. Graham and Betty J. Graham. Lawrence graduated from White Plains High School, Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He married corporate executive Pamela A. Thomas on February 15, 1992, and worked until his death as an attorney at the White Plains law firm Cuddy & Feder.
A New York Times bestselling author of fourteen non-fiction books about politics, education, race and class in America, Graham’s work includes the book Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class, a New York Times and national best-seller. Fox Entertainment is currently developing a television series based on this book.
Graham’s other books include The Senator and The Socialite: The Story of America’s First Black Political Dynasty. However, he may be best known for his essay collection Member of the Club, which included the New York Magazine cover story recounting his work undercover as a black busboy at the Greenwich Country Club in the early 1990’s.
Graham served as a board member of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine; the American Theatre Wing; the Eaglebrook School; and the Horace Mann School. He served as a frequent political commentator on News 12 Westchester, representing the Democratic Party point of view.
He was chairman of thee Westchester County Police Board and ad previously served on the boards of the Red Cross of Westchester, tee Princeton Center for Leadership Training, the Jack & Jill Foundation, and the Westchester Holocaust Commission.
Lawrence was an active member of the men’s organization Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, also known as The Boule. His family were members of The Links and Jack & Jill of America.
Lawrence is survived by his wife Pamela Thomas-Graham, and their children, Gordon, Harrison and Lindsey. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. Richard Graham; a number of cousins, in-laws, nieces and nephews; dear friends and colleagues; and his beloved godmother, Dr. Mirian Hinds.
A public viewing will be held on Friday, February 26 from 12 noon to 5:00 PM at Lee’s Funeral Home, 160 Fisher Avenue, White Plains. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent “In Memory of Lawrence Otis Graham” to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC, Contribution Receipt Center, Post Office Box 98097, Washington, DC 20090 or online at go.si.edu/honormemory