How The Freedman's Banks Changed The Economy After The Civil War

1288 Words6 Pages

Before the Civil War most business that was conducted was done by free blacks. Free blacks living in the South often supplied enslaved blacks and other free blacks living in very low social economic situations with merchandise on a very small scale. For example, in 1833 Solomon Humphries owed a small grocery store in Macon, Georgia. He was worth about twenty thousand dollars and had more credit than anyone in town. Despite the success of a few, free black entrepreneurs began to decline leading up to the Civil War. The oppressive laws and their half-free status made moving up the social economic latter almost impossible, something their white counterpart never had to deal with. The time period following 1865 is where the majority of this …show more content…

The two approaches were in the form of a fraternal order savings banks, and privately owned black banks. The first black owned bank chartered in the United States was the Grand United Order of True Reformers Bank in Richmond, Virginia. The bank had a short lived history only lasting twenty-one years. Even though the bank failed after only twenty-one years it made a huge impact on the way black citizens viewed the banking system and gave a since of hope and optimism for the future. The Grand United Order of True Reformers Bank provided a jumping off point for future of black owned banks. In 1912 there were a total of 64 black owned banks in the county, by 1934, 134 black owned banks were present, granted only a few were able to stay in business. There were however many stories of success that came from the emergence of black owned banks during this time. In almost every back owned bank that opened in the South a story of prosperity and determination proceeded it. In 1904 a Nashville based black owned bank called The Citizens Saving Bank and Trust Company was founded. A local black Baptist minister Richard Boyd who had also helped establish the National Baptist Publishing Company founded the bank with his own capital. This bank and many others like it helped other business open their doors. More importantly it helped families become home owners for the first time, giving them access to loans that white owned banks would never consider. Black bank owners emerged from all walks of life. It was not just the highly educated that helped form the nations black owned banks. In the case of people like John W. Lewis, an uneducated laborer who lived in Washington D.C. who undoubtedly had a natural and truly remarkable ability to organize men and their money helped form the Industrial Savings Bank in 1913. Stories like this were not lost on the black

Open Document