tv Shennette Garrett- Scott Banking on Freedom CSPAN December 21, 2020 9:28am-10:30am EST
featuring book tv programs with a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span2, tonight as part of review we focus on books about american presidents. lynne cheney, and later david reynolds and later, the book "abe", enjoy book tv every weekend on c-span2. >> welcome back to our centennial speaker series. thank you for joining us for the event, featuring dr. shennette garrett-scott. if this is the first time joining us, i have the honor of servi serving gabelli school. we are celebrating 100 years of
education. since inception, we believe in the power to inform and lead change. i'd very much like to thank the gabelli center for global and security analysis and our wonderful partners the museum of american finance and the cfa society of new york who are co-sponsoring today's conversation. one of the goals of the centennial series is to shine the light on the importance history plays in shaping the uch foo. the new book, she explores the rich period of black financial innovation and its transformative impact on u.s. capitolism. today's session will take place in three parts. first, my colleague and friend, saved cowan of the american
museum of finance will introduce dr. garrett scott and then she'll discuss her book "banking on freedom", and then we'll ask you to type questions at the bottom of the zoom screen. and i'm excited to share as a participant you will be entered in a raffle to win a free e-copy of the book. winners will be notified by the end of the week. before i introduce david, i would remind everybody, gabelli and the mau seem rely on your support, and i encourage you to take some time to think about donations to our outstandings orang organizations.
i'd turn it over to david. >> thanks, donna. it's great to have you and the friends. our guest received a ph.d. at university of texas and she's currently at ole miss, the university of mississippi. in her writing she brings forth the issues of race, gender and capitalism. the research behind this book is incredible. there are 400 or over 475 detailed footnotes. the book has received much praise, including awards for the organization of american historians, the association of black women historians, the southern historical society bennett, and best book in southern economic history and also on the short list for the hagley prize for the best book in business history in 2020. now, a friend of the museum and former speaker in this lecture series on george robinson about this work it's quote, unquote, innovative and path breaking,
as well as quote, unquote, beautifully written and deeply researched. and shennette can turn a phrase, to my wind dominique and malik, and my winston. this is about free enterprise, banking on freedom and the amazing story of maggie leah walker who says about herself that she wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but rather, a laundry basket on her head, is shennette garrett-scott. welcome. >> oh, thank you so much, david, for that wonderful introduction and thank you to kristin for inviting me. i'm going to share my screen and the slides and we will go ahead and get started talking.
so i also appreciate people taking the time out of their busy schedules to spend it learning more about black women's contribution to u.s. finance. so today i will talk for about 35 minutes and i will talk about the world of black finance in harlem before the 1929 stock market crash. i'll focus on one company, that's the finance corporation. and i'll use it to explore how black women used financial institutions like the finance corporation, institutions they led and controlled, to combat jim crow, sexism and economic exploitation, they used companies likes lfc to carve
out for themselves in society. they understood notions and ideas about wealth, value and risk was shaped by gender, by race, and by your place in the economic ladder, but they were not simply defined by these factors and these processes. they took an active role in shaping the meaning of wealth and risk and opportunity and while i certainly acknowledge the limitations they faced because of their race and their gender and their class, i also really want to demonstrate how black women defined their values in ways that often ran counter to the kinds of messages that they received about their worth as citizens and as economic actors, not just in black communities, but also in the larger u.s.
economy. and so we should have a good amount of time left for questions and answers. so, i think the best way to really understand the st. luke finance corporation is through two women who were vitally important to the venture. like charity jones and lilly robinson jones. and so in the next slide, you're going to see two images, they are not charity and lulu and i only have been three pictures total of those two women, but the anonymous women in the images, i think captured their spirit. so i will start by imagining their early lives in new york to understand the kinds of challenges that black women faced and then i'll briefly describe the independent order of st. luke's, how the harlem branch of the order formed the finance corporation and then i'll talk about the successes
and the challenges that it faced, especially the finance corporation board which was surprised almost totally of women. so, let's get started. charity. charity hesitated a moment before she stepped onto the dusty dirt street. what am i doing, she thought to herself, suspended in the street car door between her old life that lay behind her and this awful new place. the smell, the noise. the people. oh, the people, so many many moving, pressing, flitting, buzz i now like flies rising from the piles of horse manure in the streets. this was 1885 in the heart of--
and charity paused the mostly empty street car beckoning. what would she return to, eight dead babies in two handfuls of years, all of them taken to him. one who never took her breast and another who managed to toddle a few steps. no, there was no there back in virginia. so, charity drew in her breath and planted her feet on the unf unf unforgiving ground. she dare not look back at the hand print -- eight dead babies calling her back home. lulu. lulu hesitated a moment before she stepped onto the wooden floor, worn slick by hundreds
of black men with blacker burnt faces, fingers like herself, and hums of people murmur pressed tightly together in the hard working theater seats. they founded like a sudden rush of wind whooshing and jostling leaves. now, this was harlem. 1916 and lulu paused for a moment suspended between the noisy, back stage goings on and the expectant audience just behind the lip of the thick velvet curtain. she eid the quiet place at center stage, a pocket that she could the get into and she stepped into the spotlight, darkne nesness swallowed up the
of the stage where she'd stood a moment ago she dared not look back at the emptiness, that nowhere place, holding onto silence. so charity jones, and lulu robinson jones, her daughter-in-law, were migrant women who moved to new york city in the early 20th century. they shared things in common, they shared charity's only surviving son, and like other black women, they left the south to pursue better lives in the north, a chance to earn more money, to escape the humiliating social etiquette and the sexual violence of jim crow to find excitement in the big cities of the north. so, these two women also shared a devotion to the independent
order of st. luke's. this was a secret society that was founded in the 1850's by a free black woman for black women. in 1899 the independent order of st. luke's came under the leadership of the ambitious maggie lena walker. and from its headquarters in richmond, st. luke would become one of the most successful black-controlled and one of the very few largely black women controlled financial institutions in the country. at its peak in the mid 1920's, the order ran a bank and an insurance company, it operated a newspaper. it boasted #100,000 members in more than 20 states, it employed easterly--
nearly 100 women and close to 30 million in modern day dollars. when an important venture that brought the independent order of st. luke's both renown and scandal involves charity jones and lulu robinson jones and that was the st. luke finance corporation. headquartered in harlem, and organized in the late 19 teens by the new york district of the independent order of st. luke's. the st. luke's finance corporation had opportunities it opened for women in finance. so there was a complex tapestry made up including formal banks and insurance companies, as well as thrifts, savings clubs and loan associations and
credit unions and even finance corporations and this complex tapestry controlled millions of african-american's dollars and it expanded the boundaries of their dreams. so, during the great migration, the first great migration around world war i, the increasing urban, and north and black population, taxed the capacity of these financial institutions so revealed the tapestry as frayed and worn in places and the boundaries needed to be fixed. so the strategy that st. luke's corporation chose reflected some of these anxieties about black women's bodies in these new urban spaces. and there were these conflicting tensions that saw black women as both the victim, but also the sources of social disorder, as both in need of
financial protection, but also new economic opportunities. so what can women's demands stretch these financial institutions like the independent order of st. luke's. they decided better career options and housing choices and these efforts to police their behavior and the way they spent their leisure time. so, these would-be called new negro women were for civic inclusion, for political rights and as a way to destroy or dismantle jim crow, but they also grew really tired of these pictures that implied that men were the proper producers and consumers of these investment products, these markers of citizenship. so the financial institutions that women led and controlled
experimented with innovative ways to raise capital. they struggled with inexperience and with, of course, the intractable problem of racial and sex discrimination. and here i'm going to focus on the rise and fall of the state st. luke's finance corporation. it's 1916 and these struggling new york districts of st. luke's, which is headquartered in harlem, has elected a new president. his name is dennis bryce. the harlem st. luke's had $3.45 in its coffers, but was more than $400 in debt. now, griese may have been the formal hand at the wheel, but an ambitious group of women controlled the lever.
so in 1981, 21 members, most of them women, incorporated the st. luke finance corporation and they set their sights on investments in real estate. so women made up six of the seven members of the finance corporation's board. and lulu robinson jones, who was widowed by 1909, chaired the advisory committee. so the revived harlem st. luke's turned to charity jones to help them recruit new members. and charity jones solidified her status, known as the mother of st. luke in new york. so through her efforts membership in the new york district soared in the midst of the great migration. now, it was not the jones' women's chairmans alone to fueled a--
charms alone that was in the harlem's numbers. their square focus, they were addressing the needs of black women, lit the spark that revived the order. so the new negro woman like i said before, tested and expanded the boundaries of these organizations. they were the model of modern black womanhood and we have scholars that talk about the political importance, but economic concerns really placed high among their priorities. i mean, these women and their families, they desperately needed jobs and housing. and while jones understood this intimately, i suspect, in the mid to late 19 teens like many young black women, she likely confronted limited employment
opportunities, as well as squalid housing conditions, skyrocketing rent and overpolicing after overcrowding in segregated sections of the city. so robinson-jones and other women of the advisory board were able to borrow $3,000 from walker and the st. luke bank in richmond, but the bank's very cautious committee was unlikely to invest more in this real estate scheme or they were unable to do so because the investment in new york real estate even then required substantial capital. and those capital demands, we have to remember, were compounded by the racial tariffs that made the costs of credit and consideration higher for blacks than it was for
whites. so robinson-jones envisioned new and returning members as potential investors and she also understood the business of leisure in harlem and she arranged things, fund raising affairs that combined entertainment and enterprise. so, for example, she organized this fund raising reception at the manhattan casino and changed the very famous orchestra that provided the music. and so, in just a few months, the harlem st. luke's raised enough money to secure a mortgage on a building and purchased a former convent on west 130th street. in 1921, just a few years later, it bought a second property, a 24-room apartment building on west 129th street
and it was called the casanova, maybe, is what they called it. in 1922, it remodeled its first acquisition, that former convent on 130th and it transformed it into the st. luke hall. it became the new york st. luke's district's headquarters. and the harlem st. luke's spent the equivalent of more than a million dollars in modern dollars, to remodel the st. luke hall on 130th. and this gleaming hall accommodated everything. all of these events in the black community from pageants to groups, to international delegation, on to union meetings. in 1924, the order further added to its holdings by purchasing a third property, a combination of apartment building, restaurant and retail
store on west 139th street which wasn't too far from strivers row. so the st. luke's three properties stood as these brick, granite and steel monuments to black economic progress, rotated in the heart of harlem's burgeoning growing black community. it became an important center for business, for community activities and entertainment. and for vice. so the pastor of first emanuel church called out st. luke hall as the place where bootlegging, bold prostitution and cabarets belied its saintly name. and the episcopal church called
st. luke hall as the one of the hell holes of god, end quote. so it's that the tenants, restaurants, stores, office spaces in st. luke hall and its apartments held parties to make ends meet and ran numbers games, which was very popular. and in the business of living and leisure, it required a foot in both the formal and the extra-legal economies in harlem. so, let's recount. okay, so, in 1916 the harlem st. luke's are broke. in 1918 they form the st. luke's finance corporation. within a few years, that
corporation makes some ambitious and lucrative real estate investments so by 1929 in a little more than a decade, the new york st. luke's, went from being nearly $400 in debt to having more than $5 million and that's a very conservative, modern day dollars, having $5 million in property. and so, as the country slid toward economic decline by the end of the decade, the board's failure to sell all of the corporation's stock, left it undercapitalized. despite the fact that it was generating more than $10,000 in annual profits and that accounts for-- that equals to about $150,000 in modern day dollars. that they raised for presenting the spaces in the hall, in the apartments and the buildings, and the order used those
revenues to provide jobs for admittedly a top heavy work force of nearly two dozen employees, but also to fund its public commitment, but to surviving charitable assistance to nearly 500 harlem families. so, let me stress here for just a moment. these were for quality housing, restaurants, retail spaces that offered fair prices and a variety of goods and services, good paying, stable jobs. respectable and not so respectable amusement and leisure activities. these were really important priorities for black women in particular. and black communities in general. and these were the central, social, economic and i would add, political concerns that animated those women who were leading the st. luke's finance corporation.
so the district ended up raising the equivalent of about 1.2 million dollars in modern day dollars from a bond offering. now, the incredible amounts of money that they were able to raise really highlights the democratization of investing among black communities. so, let me say that another way. it demonstrates the ways that investing were popular and accessible for most african-americans. and it also revealed a commitment to the working and middle classes, their commitment to self-help. so in banking all freedom, i highlight black people's participation in investment and even some get rich quick schemes that really made the 1920's roar, but i have to say, 1.2 million dollars? i mean, $1,000 loans and swanky
affairs cannot explain, at least on their own, the dramatic rise in the harlem st. luke's fortunes. amounts that large might also reveal some extra-legal creative financing, but in the interest of time, you know, i'm not going in detail here, but i do delve into those creative financing schemes that the ladies of the finance corporation experimented with to raise these impressive funds in such a short amount of time. so, the country's economic down turn passed with investigations into similar organizations like marcus garbey and the negro improvement finances left the creative financial screams of all kinds of black, fraternal and other kinds of organizations, which included, of course, the independent order of st. luke vulnerable to
state scrutiny and that's exactly what happened. in 1928, the state, the new york state attorney general began an investigation into the order ap after just two hearings, the court determined na the order was insolvent. it appoint add rereceiver and ordered the district to sell its real estate holdings. so, just as i imagine at the beginning of my talk, how charity jones and this is an actual picture of charity jones and lulu robinson jones, the only picture i have of her, might have felt moving to and through new york city, i can only ponder how they must have felt when their beloved order lost its crown jewels. charity jones must have felt trickily bereft at the losses she lost her home. she lived in one of the model amounts in the st. luke's home. and from her will, i know that
she died in 1929 and she still resided at 127 west 130th street, but it was no longer, you know, the glorious st. luke hall. and you know, that fact had to be devastating. and lulu robinson jones told a census taker in 1930 that she was not working, that she was unemployed. it's not clear how active she stayed in st. luke, but it's very likely that she never again held such a powerful position in a multi-million dollar concern. so what? so i hope as i close by illuminating this story, i think a fascinating story about the rise and the fall. st. luke-- of st. luke's bank in "banking all freedom" which this story about the st. luke finance corporation is a part, i try to
connect these major developments in u.s. history. so i'm talking about reconstruction, the gilded age, the great migration, world war i, the new negro era and i'm trying to recover the important and the active roles that black women played in the development of modern american finance capitalism. while i acknowledge the contributions that black women made to modern capitalism, i, you know, i cannot ignore the exploitive acts of capitalism or the destructive ways to the political economy severely limited black women's opportunities. so, looking at the st. luke's finance corporation as case studies, we see investment as a form of community and institution building, but also, of protests and resistance, that i think stand alongside other kinds of demands for economic justice. like the labor strike or the
boycott. so in powerful ways, black women and creditors and debtors, as consumers, as stock, as owners of stock, as insurance policy holders, they really tried to transform racial capitalism through a woman's centered, kind of black self le selfless permeation. and i have to mention where i got the time. i hope you're familiar with the numbers game so popular in black communities from the late 19th century to the late 1970's and a pretty basic version of this, of playing the numbers involved placing a bet on this kind of three-number combination. if you hit, if your numbers hit, you could turn a tiny investment of a little pocket change, into a couple hundred dollars. so a variable industry kind of arises out of this really
popular numbers game and so people say lucky charm. they say lucky objects and charms. you have spiritual lists that can help you predict your lucky numbers and you also have these things called dream books. and so, this is kind of how a dream book works. ... from the '20s and the '30s offered this explanation under people who dreamed about colored people. and the dream book said, quote, this is an excellent dream for
all. promises which is an extraordinary good health to those in business, great success to prisoners the speedy relief, to farmers, good crops, to the brokenhearted, courage, end quote. i brought up the title from this dream book description about colored people because i imagined that the women of the st. luke finance corporation were dreaming of the african community -- african-american community, at that they felt it was really an excellent dream for all. so thank you all so much for your attention and for the time, and thank you again for inviting me. >> it's our pleasure. thank you so much, shennette. that was great. but i can't let you escape without talking by the woman who adorns the cover of your book,
maggie lena walker. can you tell the audience because it's amazing, her circumstances. she was born and raised and what she accomplished. is there a place if you want to learn more about her, a physical play she might be able to visit? and lastly, on the more sober note, which he say about what's going on in this country today? because she's such a focal point of the book is so fascinating. >> yes. i was telling david had as historians we try to have a little objectivity with our subjects, but it is hard not to be so impressed with maggie lena walker. so maggie lena walker was born enslaved right at the end of the civil war in richmond, virginia, and she said herself that she grew up not with the a silver n in her mouth but with a wash basket up on her head. she grew up poor but her circumstances in her life really i think shaped her vision, her
economic vision for black women in particular. and she of course was intimately involved with the independent order of st. luke's. she became its president of the implement in 1899, and she really transformed that organization. it was on its last legs in 1899 when she took over and she communicated this vision which one are to open open up a store and a factory. they never able to open the factory. at the bank. and in 19 and 3660 to come to and she open the saint luke penny savings bank in 1903 which was the first bank to be led by a black woman and also to be financed by african-american women. she is also very active politically and socially all around the country. if you want to know more about her, other than in my book,
there is a really great article that just came out a couple weeks ago in the "wall street journal" which focuses on rising women in the present day in banking and it kind of harkens back to the stewart of maggie lena walker, the kind of understand this phenomenon of women in banking. and if you are ever in richmond, her house, , she has a beautiful mansion that she owned in richmond, and the national parks service runs her house pick you can also go online and you can do a virtual tour, many images of objects announcement also of her and the various businesses and kind of black life in richmond. and then just finally i think that maggie lena walker would have a lot to say about the events that are going on today. in fact, i think in the midst of covid should have a lot to say
about kind of reviving with the kind of work she did with the saint luke bank as well as the independent order of saint luke insurance company. she always talked about a a blk women's way of banking and andi think we could learn a lot about banking that truly attend to the practical needs of the community that it served, that it centered them. so i think in the pandemic, for example, she would argue about using sound and conservative lending criteria, but kind of erasing some of the structural,, institutional inequalities that are inherent in things like credit scores. so to look at other, multiple other kinds of sources to look
at people's credit worthiness, small investments especially in black business, what we think of as micro-finance today. so those are the kinds of things i think she would come if she were here today she would look around, and i think she would be ready to kind of pull on her, raise up her sleeves and really put her shoulder into kind of transforming, really shrinking the racial wealth gap, which is what you try to do in 1903 and that is deathly what she would be trying to do in 2020. >> thanks so much. such great stories that have real meaning today. it's really incredible. we have a question from professor george rob and he's asking, do you know whether any st. luke's councils in northern cities tried to organize similar financial experiments?
>> yes, i do. i know that in philadelphia and some of the largest of course were harlem, philadelphia, and d.c., washington, d.c. and i know that in washington, d.c. they actually tried to do something very similar. they tried to build a saint luke call. richmond was a model for creating a finance corporation that could raise the funds needed to invest in these real estate ventures, and they tried to do that in d.c. i'm sure it's an interesting story. definitely in philadelphia and in d.c. i also would say also just in rural areas as well, particularly and the south but i'm not as familiar with the north, that even on a small scale you had women raise thousands of dollars to build
small brick or wood buildings that they called their st. luke's headquarters. some places, i think there's one in lynchburg, virginia, and some other small towns especially throughout virginia or african-american women were able to do this also on a smaller scale. >> our next question comes from professor chatterjee, our good friend at the gabelli school turkey wants to know why did these banks of institutions disappear and how many if any are even still around? >> so before the great -- before the 1930s there were over 100 african-american banks that have been formed between 1888 when the very first one was chartered in richmond which is known as a cradle of black capitalism, but even on the eve of the great depression these banks come part is reason they disappeared have
to do with many factors, and many of them can be really attributed to structural racism. so you had these banks were often limited. not often, they were limited in what they can operate. this course focused largely on african-americans who tended to make less money and they had difficulty accessing credit. also the banking knowledge that other banks were able to get. but it do want to say that even though these were crippling or very difficult, trying circumstances under which to try to make a banking venture go, african-americans did innovate ways to try to overcome those barriers. there was a national negro bankers association that was
first formed in 1907. revived again in the 1920s. they would send people that some banking experience throughout the country to try to share what knowledge they had with these banks, but often these banks were targeted by the kind of new banking regulations that would come up so that on the one hand, they seemed very neutral but they were really used often as a cudgel by the state to really wipe the black economic progress off the map. and then of course like other banks and other financial institutions they just simply could not rather the storm -- weather the storm of the great depression.
and so hobbling through an out of the great depression there were about a a dozen banks, but again there was a revival especially around world war i and the '50s '50s but the numbf black banks. a number of black banks changes all the time. there is a movement afoot called bank black which encourages all people to invest, to deposit $100 in the black bank in order to build them up. so there is that hashtag black, also a website. i probably could look it up, i think it is like bank black usa.org. you can search for them by your area code or part of the country you are in. it includes both online and brick-and-mortar banks. we do have a handful of banks that are more than 100 years old that are still in existence
today. >> excellent, really wonderful. so i have, and a question from caitlin rose kennedy, and she indicates she is a huge fan of your writing and lecturing skills. the question is about the ideas of racial uplift and if they tied into the running of st. luke's, for example, did it ever bar certain groups considered to be unfit representative of the race like poor, unwed black women? did it ever bar them participating in finance capitalism? >> i love and appreciate caitlin, too. she is one of my former students. yes, definitely respectability politics played a role in black finance and in black capitalism but not necessarily in restricting people who might
have been considered un-respectable from participating in these kind of financial uplift activities. in fact, maggie lena walker herself was a product of rape. she of course was surrounded by communities of women who had been subjected to racial, sexual violence. being an unwed mother, for example, wasn't necessary something that would kind of cast you out of the realm of respectability, and also maggie lena walker was really committed to seeing financial independence, economic literacy as a path forward. because these women had to take care of families and also were important, their roles in the
community in terms of the philanthropy and the work in churches and their activism. and so she saw lending, , she tried to make lending a respectable activity for these women as as a way to kind of lt themselves out of their poverty. but i do have to say that as the way she ran the bank and the insurance company, there was a point where she was a little old-fashioned, and so the younger women who are able to take advantage, this younger generation of women who were able to take advantage of the opportunities, women, the first generation out of slavery, women like maggie lena walker and her circle of women were able to provide at this younger generation of women where they kind of chased under some of the restrictions. they didn't want to have a
prayer devotional every morning before work. they wanted to wear more colorful clothing, the latest fashions. they wanted to go to movies and listen to jazz music. and so there is a kind of a politics, of respectability which i think generationally about with his this older genen of african-american women for trying to provide these opportunities for the younger generation, and the younger generation of women who were taking advantage of those opportunities but i wanted to kind of do things their own way. >> before asked the next question i want to amplify from the couple questions ago because you write extensively on the state bank examiners and how horrible they were to these banks. i think it was a north carolina case with they were bragging about how they can go about and shut these banks down. so it's actually awful. our next question, laura thank
you as well. she wants to know to the extent to which white and black man or white and black women supported or invested in st. luke's. >> it's hard to tell but definitely maggie lena walker was really skilled in building interracial coalition. there were some things she knew that she needed help with from the white community of richmond to accomplish her vision and her goals, and so in terms of investment there probably were just like in the freedman's bank, there probably were some whites who did have a small account at a bank or perhaps may have bought a couple of stock in the bank in order to show that they were progressive and
supportive of these kinds of efforts for black progress. but black banks, not just saint luke, but many black financial organizations in particular, insurance companies and black banks really tried to make a point that these were black, largely black controlled efforts at uplifting the community, and there will be made appeals to race pride. some of them talked about and really stressed that they were able to accomplish the things they were able to accomplish without white assistance or use of their services. so it's a complex question. so on the one hand, you have whites who probably as a short support did participate
minimally in actual investment in these organizations, but african african-americans at the same time were really stressing that they didn't really need or require whites participation to really showcase these organizations for progress. i also want to say, too, economic growth, business, is an area where you could get buy-in from a broad swath of whites, so some radical to moderates, so there were people who could be staunchly segregationist who could support the idea of a separate black economy, and then you could have more liberal or moderate people, whites, who could also support a black separate economy.
so again the idea about race in whites participation and also their conception of the place of black business and a black separate economy, on the one hand, can be, they can have some progressive ideas but they can also have some really regressive ideas as well. >> we have a question that's asking how do we build black wealth today? and what lessons can we learn from all those women in harlem that could help us today? >> how do we build wealth today? i probably will say something that's not really popular but i think reparation is an issue that needs serious considerations. i'm hoping h.r. 40 will finally be debated and dealt with in congress, and that bill is to
create a commission to study the question of reparation, not just first lady but also just racial discrimination and inequity even beyond slavery. so i think that's one important step forward in terms of kind of closing the wealth gap and building wealth today. and that they can you said about maggie lena walker, i also think that really embracing some parts of her vision and the kind of activities of the saint luke women, there's a way to try to again build wealth, to try to really look at community concerns, community needs and to meet those needs, which of course would take say raising large sums of money, but by centering the needs of the community that are articulated
why the community. so this is not, for example, like gentrification are actually listening to the voices of people in communities, in different spaces, in different industries and asking them what do you want? what do you need? and then crafting programs and tools to help them meet those needs, and at the same time also really chipping -- not chipping away, but really working to dismantle the kinds of barriers that have stood in their place. so here i will mention, for example, say about lending. some people may say oh well, these communities, they are the valley in those communities, they are not the same. they're declining or they are falling. but that's not an accident. and so those thinking, those
financial institutions in particular, those organizations including realtors and appraisers and those groups that help to create that situation need then to admit their complicity in creating these kinds of pockets in these places are these kind of really start inequalities exist. and then after we can have an honest conversation of admitting complicity in that, then talk about how can we now dismantle some of the practices and then narratives that we've had about particular places and these ideas begin about wealth and risk and opportunity and kind of redirect the conversation. >> earlier you just mention the freedman's bank, an attempt
after the civil war. i'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about that and you have a chapter i am yet waitin' about a families 46 year sojourn trying to get compensation. i don't think many people probably know about the freedman's bank someone if you could just please educate us a little bit on that. >> believe it or not our school is doing a test -- here cyber in the back sabe sure to talk a little out of. so the freedman's bank was created after the civil war in -- after, immediately after the civil war in 1865 and a massive for nearly a decade into 1874. it was a bank that was formed for the free people, for the formally freed slave. that was in the charter and it was one of the banks that were formed by the federal, chartered by the federal government.
so we have the first bank at the united states, second make of the united states, and the freedman's bank, and they used a board of all white trustees because they didn't trust african-americans to kind of no how to direct their financial futures. there was a kind of change in the bank that allowed it to be an immense resources, a billion dollars circulated in this bank in terms of modern-day dollars in the decades, the mere decade that it operated. and to the corruption of the white trustees and other people connected to the bank, like financers in new york, it led to the demise of the bank and african-americans lost millions of dollars of their deposits.
so that is the canister i just want to say in my book i really try to look at how african-americans use the bank, especially black women, have they kind of subverted some of the plans and visions, the limited economic vision of these white trustees to bend the bank to meet their needs. and then it also really point out two things come to point to really make about the freedman's bank, one, black people never abandoned their own economic network, that they had forged through slavery and after. they just put the freedman's bank within that network. the second thing even though the failure of the bank was devastating not just devastating to black wealth but also just devastating for people to lose as a symbol of progress and
citizenship and opportunity and freedom for them, to lose that bank, it convinced them that they needed to control their own financial institution. so the kind of bittersweet or the upside if there is one of the closing of the freedman's bank is i think it really just started the black banking, banking movement with the first chartered bank in 1888. >> so we have one final question that we have time for and is by nancy wheeler, and another question. she thinks year you and she thu for elevating the early black women in finance. we all want to know, other than handing out copies of your book on the corner, how else can educate more people about these amazing women? >> there is her house, the national park service has a
wonderful video that is shown in a museum that you can access on youtube. so you can learn more about it. i also think that the pbs documentary called boss, the black experience in business, is a start. it's two hours long but -- so i'm in that document and i can tell you, i talk for three hours. there's so much on the cutting room floor that of hoping for producer stanley nelson, , it could be like a series, but it's really a quick primer into a history of african-american business and wealth building, so that documentary boss, the black experience business which is available on pbs is important as well. of course there also is summing other books. i will be sure to send a link. i'm a part of the business history conference which is an international business history organization, and the action
have created this incredible list that highlights minorities business. so it includes a lot of work about african-american businesses that i have contributed there. there are all kinds of books and articles that you can find there as well and and i will be sureo send that link. >> thanks so much. >> thank you. >> of the half of of us at the museum, cfaa of course gabelli, up thank you so much the way to terrific one hour with you. so informative. we know we hear a lot more from you in your career, so exciting. thank you. >> thank you. >> professional leaders reached an agreement on covid-19 relief and government funding for 2021. the coronavirus portion is estimated to cost nearly $900 billion and includes and includes $600 in direct payments to individuals who qualify in the march distribution, an additional $300 per week in
jobless benefits. a one-month extension on evictions, small business loans as well as billions for schools, faxing distribution and transportation. 2021 spending is also in a plane. $1.4 trillion package funds $4 trillion package funds the government through next september. it is being turned into bill before putting it before the house and senate. both house and senate standing by to debate and vote on this as soon as the text hits the floor. watch the house on c-span, the said i c-span2 and you can watch online at c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> weeknights this month we're featuring tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span2 internet as part of our 2020 year in review we focus on books about american presidents.