But in the beginning, the only name on the lawsuit was Mr. McReynolds. Persuading colleagues to join him was complicated by how scattered Merrill’s black brokers were: despite a global network of 14,000 brokers, the firm did not have a single black broker in more than 25 states.
He knew how steep a climb he faced, but he said his resentment peaked when his three college-educated children told him that working at Merrill did not appeal to them.
“They basically said, ‘Dad, I couldn’t put up with what you have to put up with,’ ” Mr. McReynolds said. “I hoped they would be able to come on with me as a team and carry on what I’d been doing. But they could see things.”