Joseph J. Thomas, Brooklyn Heights Resident and Advocate for Black Retail Workers

As reported by Women’s Wear Daily, quoted in Yahoo! Lifestyle Canada, Joseph J. Thomas, 85, a resident of Brooklyn Heights, retired Bloomingdale’s executive, and long time advocate for Black people in retail work, died last Sunday, April 14 of natural causes at NYU Langone Hospital. Born in 1938 in Opelousas, Louisiana, he was employed by Bloomingdale’s in 1965 following Army service. He became the first Black buyer for Bloomingdale’s, and later its first Black corporate operating vice president. He was also a member, and later president, of the Black Retail Action Group (BRAG), which advocated for opportunities for and advancement of Black people in the retail industry. He is survived by his wife, Halcyone Bullen-Thomas, stepson Jamal Lanham, sister Elizabeth Lazard, and several nieces and nephews. There will be a viewing and funeral mass Tuesday, April 23 at 9:00 AM at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, 250 Cathedral Place.

Photo: Women’s Wear Daily

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