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Photo of Robert P. Black

Robert P. Black

  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, 1973–1992

Robert P. Black became the fifth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in 1973.

Black is a native of Hickman, Kentucky. He came to Virginia in 1945 as a student at the University of Virginia. Black was drafted into the US Army in 1946 and served in the infantry following his first year of college. He later returned to the University of Virginia and earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate in economics. He completed his dissertation in 1954 while working at the Richmond Fed, then left to teach for one year at the University of Tennessee. Black returned to the Richmond Fed in 1956 as an economist, then went on to become an assistant vice president, vice president, and first vice president. He was the first economist to become the Bank’s president.

A staunch "inflation hawk" and defender of price stability, Black primarily wrote and spoke on monetary policy issues. His noteworthy speeches include "Monetary Policy ― the Possible and Impossible," "The Fed's Anti-Inflationary Strategy: Is it Adequate?" and "The Fed's Mandate: Help or Hindrance?" In 1990, Black testified in support of House Joint Resolution 409, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Neal (D-NC), which would have required the Federal Reserve to achieve zero inflation within five years of passage. 

Black retired in December 1992 and was succeeded by J. Alfred Broaddus in January 1993.

Throughout his life, Black has volunteered his time and expertise to community projects including the development of Richmond’s riverfront and downtown expressway. While working at the Richmond Fed, he served United Way of Greater Richmond in several different volunteer capacities before becoming president of its board in 1976. He also provided leadership to many athletic, civic, and community associations, including serving on the board of directors of the Richmond Eye and Ear Hospital, Retreat Health Systems, and the Virginia Inter-Government Institute. Other recipients of Black's time and talent include serving on the Governor's Commission on Defense Conversion and Economic Adjustment, the Virginia Economic Recovery Commission, and the advisory boards of the Health Corp. of Virginia, the Center for Advanced Studies of the University of Virginia, and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation; as well as the board of governors and executive committee of the Capital Area Assembly. Black also was a board trustee of the Academy for Economic Education; board chairman of Virginia United Methodist Homes; and a longtime member of the Forum Club.Black and his wife, Mary, have a son and daughter.

Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. See disclaimer.