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Westchester County Honors the Life of Lawrence Otis Graham

Lawrence Otis Graham will be remembered in Westchester with a permanent memorial at the Kensico Dam Plaza. The Lawrence Otis Graham Garden & Memorial is surrounded by gardens and benches, and a stone set with a plaque of Graham’s portrait with the following inscription; “Honored for his life-long pursuit of racial equity, upholding democracy and example of human kindness.”

A life-long resident of Westchester County, public servant and lawyer, Graham was also a New York Times bestselling author of 14 non-fiction books about politics, education, race, and class in America. His publications include “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class”, which Fox Entertainment developed into a television series. Graham’s other books include, “The Senator and The Socialite: The Story of America’s First Black Political Dynasty” and his essay collection “Member of the Club”, which recounted his work undercover as a Black busboy at the Greenwich Country Club in the early 1990’s.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer officially unveiled the site to the public and said, “Lawrence Otis Graham was an influential and monumental figure in Westchester, a talented and successful executive in his own right. When I first met him, I was a Westchester County Legislator and we shared more than 25 years of friendship together. Lawrence served as Chair of the Westchester County Police Board and on the Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force. He will be remembered as someone who shined a light on the role of race and class in our County. His passing is a big loss to our community and we hope this memorial site will serve as comfort to all the people whose lives he touched.”

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also attended the unveiling and stated, “My friend, Lawrence Otis Graham was a brilliant lawyer, writer, and activist whose powerful insights into class identity and the complexities of Black experiences captivated readers. His work challenged norms and sparked important conversations on the realities of racial divisions. Graham Garden is a fitting tribute to his lasting impact and profound contributions. His legacy will continue to inspire generations toward a more equitable and understanding future.”

Elisabeth Radow, Esq., a long-time friend of Graham’s, spearheaded the project which was created as a welcoming place for visitors to gather, celebrate, reflect on Graham’s life, and carry on his legacy to improve the lives of others. She commented, “Lawrence Graham was a larger-than-life Westchester original, with national impact. As a friend and law colleague, I witnessed Lawrence over 34 years manifest his humanity, meticulous scholarship, and bold honesty as a best-selling author to reveal racial disparities and make inroads toward social and economic parity. In addition to his professional career, Lawrence devoted his time in service to Westchester County.”

Graham was a frequent political commentator on News 12 Westchester, representing the Democratic Party’s point of view. He served on the boards of the Red Cross of Westchester, the Princeton Center for Leadership Training, the Jack & Jill Foundation, and the Westchester Holocaust Commission. Additionally, Graham was an active member of the men’s organization, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, also known as The Boulé. He was married to Pamela Thomas-Graham and the two shared three children together. Graham was an attorney at the White Plains law firm, Cuddy & Feder at the time of his passing on February 19, 2021.

The full memorial dedication can be viewed online:


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