Showing posts with label Jim Crow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jim Crow. Show all posts

Saturday, August 19, 2017

THIS is the statue that should replace Gen. Lee's

Maggie L. Walker founded St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903, a time when Jim Crow laws and institutionalized prejudice conspired to prevent blacks from borrowing money or from even having bank accounts. This was done, of course, to keep blacks in a position of economic servitude, a situation blacks still suffer from to this day.
Born a year before emancipation, Ms. Walker, the daughter of a former slave, is the first American women to have successfully opened a bank. (Having attempted in 2008 to raise $50 million to create a black-owned bank holding company to make capital investments in and own parts of new and existing black-owned U.S. banks, I can tell you that this is no easy task.) She did so in the South. In Richmond, Va., the capital of the confederacy. during a time when even white women were not allowed to vote. In the South. (Oh, and she also led a boycott of Richmond’s segregated trolley car system, 50 years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott.) I'd say she's worthy of statues all over the country.
Of course, the issue of black economic empowerment via the use of black banks is still a problem. There are those, like One United Bank, in Boston, who will claim the mantle Ms. Walker left. They are, however, spectacularly unworthy: the FDIC "accused the management of OneUnited Bank, one of the largest black-owned banks in the country, of running an unsound lending operation and ordered a top-to-bottom review of executive perks that included a 2008 Porsche and a housing allowance for a beach-front home in California." One United also foreclosed on the oldest black AME Zion church in Boston, despite offers of assistance from the City's mayor. Ms. Walker, I'm sure, would not be amused. (BTW, Liberty Bank and Trust in New Orleans is a much better run black owned bank.)
The lack of ethics cited above is a key part of the black bank legacy problem and why our economic forecasts, starting in 2011, predicted an 87% decline in the number of black banks, measured from the height of the black bank era, reached around 1994 when there were 55 black-owned banks in America.
To deal effectively with this problem, we suggest the federal government use a portion of the fines levied on Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and other banks to create a sizable ($100 million) capital fund to create and invest in black banks. 
This would be the best tribute to Ms. Walker.