20 Notable Black Americans in Telecom and Technology

In 1982, Ralph Everett became the first Black person to head a U.S. Senate committee as Staff Director and Minority Chief Counsel of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.  In 1986, Everett was named Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the full committee and blazed a pathway for future Black Americans to serve in key committee staff positions. In this position, he played a significant role in major impactful legislation including cable, broadcast and common carrier legislation, and regulatory reform of the airline, truck, rail and bus industries.

Everett is recognized and relied upon as a treasure-trove of historical perspectives and international experiences in the telecommunication industry. President Clinton appointed Everett as U.S. Ambassador to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis, and later that year he was appointed to head the U.S. delegation to the ITU’s Second World Telecommunication Development Conference in Malta, where he was elected Vice Chairman of the conference attended by representatives from more than 190 nations.

A champion for greater diversity, equity and inclusion, Everett served for several years as the transformative President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.  A former partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, a leading international law firm with offices throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, Everett was the first Black man to receive a partnership at the prestigious firm, and later became Managing Partner of its Washington, D.C., office.

Everett, a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College (HBCUs), and the Duke University Law School, where he received his juris doctor degree as an Earl Warren Scholar. He currently serves as member of the Board of Visitors.