Official  Website

About Me


Resume/Biography Presented to: 
The Honorable United States Attorney General Eric Holder on August 30, 2010


Born in Quitman County, Mississippi on February 15, 1945, son of Arlethia and Lesly Gatheright, Sr., Mr. Gatheright attended a one room schoolhouse until the age of 12.  In 1958, he and his family migrated to Chicago, Illinois where he attended Douglas Grade School.  Upon graduation, he attended Wendell Phillips High in Chicago, Illinois.  While attending high school, he obtained a newspaper delivery route, and used a portion of his earnings to help his family make the down payment on their first home.

After graduating from high school in 1965, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served until 1967.  In 1968, he entered Wilson College in Chicago where he helped lead a protest march, and mass demonstration, which led to the forced appointment of the first black president of that college.  Then, in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he helped force school officials change the school’s name from Wilson College to Kennedy-King College.  Kennedy-King College is still in existence at this time.

1970 – Entered Roosevelt University in Chicago, majoring in Business Administration and Pre-Law.

1971 – Transferred to LaSalle University Extension Law School, and then went into special studies under The Board of Bar Examiners where he studied to obtain a J.D. in the State of California.  

1972 – Became a licensed insurance agent/broker in the State of California where he developed territories in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

1973 – Expanded his insurance business to Chicago where he opened an office.

1974 – Founded The American Black Directory, a national directory of black-owned businesses throughout the U.S.  He then initiated a cross-country tour of all major cities in the U.S. that had large populations of black-owned businesses.  For many months, he traveled, night and day, by land and air, to personally visit each of these businesses, and to interview various business owners of both large and small businesses.

1975 – After completing the initial research regarding the development of the first edition of the American Black Directory, he returned to he travels to revisit each territory.

1976 – Expanded the circulation and distribution of the American Black Directory via radio, television, and newspaper promotions.  He discussed the American Black Directory and its role in the black community.  He also opened regional offices in Dallas and Houston, TX at this time for promotional purposes.

1977 – As a result of his travels to cities such as: Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Memphis, Oklahoma City, just to name a few, he was inspired to begin a food business in his native home of the Mississippi Delta.  At this point, he continued to expand and promote the American Black Directory while developing and promoting is new food business endeavor.  This food and egg Business, was an instant success; and it was so successful, that within 2 years, this business controlled nearly 50% of the egg business in northwest Mississippi and the upper western Mississippi Delta.  This remarkable success got the attention of the Memphis Commercial Appeal Newspaper in 1979, which featured a headline cover story highlighting his success.

1980 – Invited to be the keynote speaker at Coahoma Junior College in observation of Black History Month.  In addition, he helped organize a group of protestors to stand against racial discrimination in Quitman County, Mississippi.  He and others went after white sheriff in Quitman County who had arrested a black man accused of raping a white woman.  The white sheriff threatened to castrate the man while he was in his custody.  Mr. Gatheright assisted in leading a county-wide boycott of white-owned businesses.  The boycott was instrumental in getting the charges against the accused dropped, and after this, an FBI investigation followed.  Since then, Quitman County, Mississippi has elected a number of blacks to public office, including a black sheriff.

1981 – Expanded his food business north to Memphis, Tennessee, including Arkansas, East Tennessee and other points north.  This also included other points north such as St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit and other northern cities.

By 1985, he supplied food products for the Memphis City Schools, Shelby County Jail, U.S. Prison System, Headstart, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Baptist Hospital of Memphis and many other businesses and organizations.

1986 – Contacted the Ronald Reagan Administration regarding the Minority Set-a-Side Program, which was designated to help involve more blacks in Federal Government contracts by allowing them to offer their services to the U.S. Government under a specially mandated law signed by President Ronald Reagan.

At this time, Mr. Gatheright also qualified as a U.S. Department of Defense contractor, which enabled him to become the first black, independently owned, perishable food and eggs contractor in the United States.  He supplied food for Fort Knox, Camp Lajune, Andrew Air Force Base and others.  In order to secure and maintain these contracts, Mr. Gatheright worked with the Congressional Black Caucus and other well-established political organizations.

1991 – He took time away from his food business in order to reconnect with the black-owned businesses where he had established strong bonds for twenty years.  

1993 – While in Las Vegas, after producing a number of radio and television programs, black business owners approached him about assisting them in securing more business from tourists who were traveling to Las Vegas, particularly black tourist.  At this time, Las Vegas was a multi-billion dollar tourist industry which led the nation in gaming and hospitality.  In addition, Mr. Gatheright organized the black business owners in Las Vegas to include the owners of the legendary Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino, which was the only black owned hotel and casino in Las Vegas at the time. 

Mr. Gatheright called a press conference, which included these black business owners, and demanded that every hotel and casino in Las Vegas, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau give black business owners their share in the thriving Las Vegas tourist industry which challenged the state legislators in Carson City, Nevada to take note.  He also challenged the Las Vegas City Council to make funds available that would enable black business owners to upgrade their business in Las Vegas.

1994 – Began a national campaign to promote tourism in Las Vegas and organized black business owners and black tourists to come to Las Vegas.  This was a successful campaign.

1995 – Returned to Dallas to promote the American Black Directory in his Dallas Office where he expanded his radio and TV productions featuring home shoppers television shows, radio talk shows, served as an independent advertising provider for BET, CNN, ESPN and others.   He also facilitated putting black owned businesses on these major networks for the first time ever.  He also expanded this coverage to other major cities in the United States.

1996 – A group of Dallas area business people contacted Lesly Gatheright about some discrimination problems in Dallas, Texas which was very similar to what occurred in Las Vegas.  Black businesses were excluded from sharing in the financial success related to Dallas’s convention and tourism industry.  These businesses were not allowed to offer their services which included transportation, catering, retail and other types of businesses.  Mr. Gatheright contacted the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s then President & CEO, Dave Whitney.  At this time, Dallas, Texas had the largest convention center in America.  The convention market was 10 billion dollars, and yet there were no black businesses participating in Dallas’s conventions.  Mr. Gatheright was appalled by this, so he made his feelings known via various media outlets.  As a result of this, he invited guests from the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to assure black business owners that the Bureau was committed to their fair treatment.  Mr. Gatheright organized a mass meeting at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Dallas with both black business owners and the Dallas Convention Visitor’s Bureau.  As a result of this meeting and Mr. Gatheright’s intervention, a favorable agreement was reached between both groups to include black business participation in future conventions.

1997-1998 – Mr. Gatheright was contacted by a group of black, auto body repair shop owners in Mississippi.  He was asked to represent these black business owners concerning the insurance companies’ discrimination against them.  The insurance companies were steering business away from them, by not allowing them to get major repair jobs.  At this point, Mr. Gatheright had developed a reputation for fighting against huge businesses and organizations.  Even thought he had an extremely busy schedule, Mr. Gatheright decided to take on their case.  These business owners needed his help, and they knew that he had the knowledge, guts, and skills to confront the large insurance companies on their behalf.  After Mr. Gatheright called a meeting with the members of the Mississippi State Legislature, the Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale, and U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson (who is still seated and serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Congressional Committee); in addition to these individuals, a number of the major insurance companies were also present at this meeting including representatives from Allstate, State Farm, Farm Bureau, Progressive, Nationwide and others.  Shortly after this meeting, the large insurance companies were so upset with Mr. Gatheright, that they initiated a war of words, concerning the matter at hand, between Mr. Gatheright and the Mississippi Attorney General.  At this point Mr. Gatheright involved the U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno who, at the time, was serving under President Bill Clinton.

After a very heated war of words amongst all parties involved, the Mississippi Attorney General, Mike Moore relented and allowed Mr. Gatheright to continue representing the black owners of the auto body shops against the insurance companies.  The black businessmen eventually filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against the insurance companies for their steering tactics and unfair business practices against black-owned auto body shops.

After a number of lawsuits were filed, the national news media began to run stories about how large insurance companies were abusing the small auto body shops.  Mr. Gatheright was interviewed and featured in many of these stories.  And as a result of this news coverage, other auto body shops, both white and black from across the United States, began contacting Mr. Gatheright for representation.  This led Mr. Gatheright to become one of the most sought after personal spokesman in America.

1999 – Expanded his consultant business to Tyler, Texas (northeast Texas).  He discovered that this area of Texas was notorious for discrimination against blacks.  He found this experience to be enlightening because it was as if this part of America had seceded from the rest of the country; mere words could not describe the level of racism in northeast Texas.

2000 – Soon after opening an office in Tyler, Texas, Mr. Gatheright was contacted by a group of steel workers at the Ranson Facility of Tyler – Pipe of Tyler, Texas.  This matter involved a group of steel workers who felt that the plant was using slave-trade type labor management toward its employees.  These employees were also being forced to work while they were sick, injured and were also forced to work in other inhumane conditions.  Mr. Gatheright organized these individuals, and secured for them the proper legal counsel, and a number of lawsuits were filed as a result.  In addition, this matter was investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.Also in 2000, Mr. Gatheright had his first face-to-face challenge with then Texas Governor George W. Bush, and his billionaire friend Bo Pilgrim, founder and CEO of Pilgrim Poultry and Chicken.  This company is the largest of its kind in the world, and George W. Bush became President of the United States 2 years later.  The following is a brief account of what occurred in this particular matter:

One of Bo Pilgrim’s company trucks had been involved in a fatal accident which killed a 22-year-old black woman who was a recent graduate of Hampton University.  Since the accident report left many questions unanswered, the parent of this young woman requested that Mr. Gatheright involve Governor Bush, the U.S. Department of Public Safety and Transportation, and a host of other local, state, and federal agencies in a formal investigation of what actually occurred.  Mr. Gatheright’s efforts enabled the young woman’s family to file a lawsuit.

Information about this case and many other case matters involving Lesly Gatheright are available at the following media and governmental agencies: ABC-TV affiliate, Tyler, Texas; ABC-TV National Affiliate; CBS-TV National Affiliate; Tyler Morning Telegraph Newspaper; AP/UPI; Memphis Commercial Appeal; U.S. Department of Justice; FBI; U.S. Department of Transportation; Mississippi Department of Insurance; Various Congressional Committees; Correspondence files of the U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi; file of U.S. Congressman Bennie Goodin; Texas Governor Rick Perry; Texas Department of Public Safety; Texas Rangers; Dallas County Coroner’s Office; U.S. Department of Civil Rights Division; U.S. Department of Defense; Defense Logistics Agency Contract Procurement; G & D Foods – Lesly Gatheright, Principal Officer 1987-1989; Texas Congressman Ralph Hall; Office  of the Governor of the State of Virginia; Dolly & Hammer Magazine; Washington, D.C.; Auto Body Magazine of Chicago; Congressional Black Caucus. 

Some Extraordinary Highlights of Lesly Gatheright’s Career as a Spokesman and Paralegal Consultant

1).  The New York Times reporter David Bastow won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for writing a front page news story concerning gross labor abuses and OSHA violations of workers for the McWayne and Ranson Corporation.  The McWayne and Ranson Corporation is one of the wealthiest and most powerful family owned global chain of steel mills and ironworks companies in the world.  Lesly Gatheright was a main source provider in developing this amazing news story.  This news story was also featured on a two-hour long Frontline special program on PBS.

2).  Lesly Gatheright has enormous experience in representing people who have had issues that have become subject to US Department of Justice and FBI special investigations involving civil rights violations, OSHA violations and major consumer frauds.    

3).  Lesly Gatheright has been known for his keen talent and ability in organizing people, and researching matters concerning their issues, and complaints, which pinpoint culpable companies and individuals regarding specific grievances.  As a paralegal consultant, Lesly Gatheright secured reputable and talented legal counsel to represent the victims involving these issues and complaints.

4). There were two cases in particular which highlight Lesly Gatheright’s career as a paralegal consultant and personal spokesman:

A).  One involves a case, back  in the year 2000, which involved a powerful political friend of then Governor George W. Bush who later became the President of the United States.  Very briefly, this particular case involved Bo Pilgrim, the founder and owner of Pilgrims Foods in Pittsburg, TX.  His company was alleged to have filed a false police report which had involved the death of a young 22--year-old black woman.                                                                                                                                                                                   

Lesly Gatheright was asked to intervene and force, then Governor George Bush, to order a special investigation by the Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

B).  This next case involved a young black man who was killed after being shot 6 times by the Tyler, TX Police Department back in 2003.  After being brought into this case, Lesly Gatheright was responsible for bringing in the US Justice Department which ordered the FBI to get involved in order to determine if the young man’s death had resulted in his civil rights being violated.

Lesly Gatheright’s involvement in this particular case attracted a great deal of media coverage; and as a result of this, rumors began to circulate throughout the community that Mr. Gatheright faced some physical threat regarding his life.  For this reason, the FBI voluntarily intervened and sought out Lesly Gatheright.  And after personally interviewing him, the FBI joined him in talking to the news media.  At this point, the FBI confirmed to the news media that they were investigating the Tyler, TX Police Chief and the Smith County District Attorney regarding the death of the young black man.

These are just a few highlights of Lesly Gatheright’s career as a spokesman and paralegal consultant.   For further information, you can research the entities listed in this resume via websites, or by invoking the Freedom of Information Act.

 Here is a list of major corporations in which Lesly Gatheright has confronted and challenged on various issues:

*BMW – Auto Manufacturer                 *Ford Motors                                                                                                                             
*GM Motors                                       *The Ranson Industries Inc.    
 *Chrysler Motors                                *Pilgrim Pride of Texas                                                                                                           
 *Allstate Insurance                             *Progressive Insurance                 
State Farm Insurance                         *Trane Cooling and Air Conditioning                                                                         
*The Lock Head Aircraft


Lesly Gatheright’s tireless work as a spokesman regarding the revamping of illegal trade practices of the major auto insurance companies relating to illegally steering auto repair claims away from small and independently owned auto body shops, both white and black, led to major local, state, and federal legislation which has totally changed the industry’s trade practices over the last 10 years. 

In order for this change to transpire, Mr. Gatheright and other advocates were responsible for assisting people in initiating legal challenges which led to some of the largest court judgment awards ever, in the amount of billions of dollars.

Because of Lesly Gatheright’s involvement, and a New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning cover story, the case relating to  Ranson/Tyler-Pipe led to causing more than 100 million dollars of OSHA compliance upgrades by the Ranson Corporation.


Copyright 2010 Lesly Gatheright, Jr. All Rights Reserved

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