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plantation theory

The Black Professional’s Struggle
Between Freedom & Security

Written to speak for those who've been without a voice throughout their professional career, Plantation Theory: The Black Professional’s Struggle Between Freedom & Security showcases the realities that countless Black corporate professionals face despite best efforts to prove their worthiness of opportunity. It challenges the status quo and urges future generations of Black excellence to recognize how much power they wield and evaluate closely the benefits and the detractors of choosing to work in Corporate America. From cover to cover, Black professionals are faced with an urgent question—why work twice as hard for half the recognition and a third of the pay? 

Filled with transparent and often shocking firsthand accounts, Plantation Theory also serves as a veil remover for those in positions of privilege and power as they embark on a journey of abolition rather than allyship. For individuals and corporations, it demands a commitment to end participation in the behaviors perpetuating inequitable environments. Graham pointedly places the accountability squarely on the shoulders of those most responsible and asks will marketing to Black and diverse talent match the reality of the daily lived experience they will soon call reality as employees? Or will these entities engage in adequate self-examination, heartfelt contemplation, and reflective discussions to do the hard work of no longer being a sideline participant in the marathon of inequity. 

For Black professionals, the vision for the future will require a confrontation with the notion of freedom versus security. For companies and individuals in privileged positions of power, performative measures and diversity theater are no longer enough. Graham's Plantation Theory reminds us that historical approaches are no longer viable pathways to what must become.

It's no longer a matter of capability, but of willingness. There is much work to be done for the willing.

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With laser-like precision, Graham fuses together our collective cultural memory and experience as he captivatingly describes "the contract" so many of us sign. A tacit agreement to don the cloak of cultural invisibility in exchange for the basement keys to the palace. Still, we are afforded some of the necessary tools needed to survive as the "other" behind the thin veil of corporate professionalism and a normalized inauthentic work life. And as for those that choose to go down this road seeking freedom and security, that are still in touch with their full humanity, do not expect profound remedies but rather intelligent tools that invite critical change and accountability while unmasking the hidden pitfalls and dangerous cracks in the road to avoid along the way.

 Dr. Joy A. DeGruy

Author - Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

“Plantation Theory: The Black Professional's Struggle Between Freedom and Security,” offers a raw yet thoughtful examination of today’s Black experience in America. Each chapter offers raw, no holds barred perspectives that will alter your understanding of racism and blow your mind.

Diamond-Michael Scott

Great Books Great Minds, Inc.

John Graham, Jr.

Vice President, Employer Brand,
Diversity & Culture @ shaker recruitment Marketing

It is said that one of the hardest questions to answer in life is "Who are you?" Through self discovery, failure, and success I know myself to be a creative communicator, a connector of cultures and a leader by inspiration. I believe in the power of human connection and I take pride in being the bridge between aspirations and opportunities for others.

Professionally, my passion is helping global companies discover the essence of who they are at their core. Through award winning employer brand and employee value proposition development, I’ve found fulfillment in discovering innovative ways to bring the humanity of employee stories to life. As a DEI practitioner and culture transformation consultant, my work centers on improving the lived experiences of marginalized employee populations through bleeding-edge approaches that disrupt the status quo and create equitable and inclusive environments.

As a keynote speaker, coach, executive consultant, and author, I engage global audiences on topics ranging from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the power of personal branding, and employer brand activation through culture marketing strategies. As a result, I’ve been able to help CEO’s navigate diversity strategies, executives develop a more authentic voice on social media, students land their first dream job and seasoned professionals rebrand themselves to attract their next career opportunity.


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Don't miss the opportunity to have John Graham speak at your next event! Whether you're looking for an ERG keynote, Black History Month fireside chat, or executive leadership training, John's powerful insights and engaging style will leave a lasting impact on your audience and expand the space for some of the toughest conversations well beyond the engagement.

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- John
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