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Lee B. Thomas Jr. , Louisville, Ky. (1926- ). Caucasian. Mr. Thomas, whose family founded the American Saw and Tool Company and Vermont American Corp., used his standing as a prominent business leader to march in the 1960s with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and demand equal rights for all, regardless of color. Mr. Thomas was the CEO for Vermont American for 24 years and the company’s revenue grew from $9 million to $450 million. After Vermont American was taken over by another company, Mr. Thomas bought Universal Woods. But his supporters say Mr. Thomas is most proud of his work as a founding member of the Board of Interfaith Paths to Peace in Louisville and supporting civil rights laws to end segregation in public accommodations.
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