Freedmen’s Bank Fails, Devastating Black Community

By EJI Staff, EJI, Equal Justice Initiative

The Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company, more commonly referred to as The Freedmen’s Bank, failed in June 1874, taking with it millions of dollars in black wealth. The bank was first incorporated on March 3, 1865, the same day the Freedmen’s Bureau was created, and formed to help previously enslaved people economically transition to freedom.

Before Emancipation, most black people in America were enslaved and had no means of accumulating, protecting, or passing down wealth from generation to generation. After slavery’s end, many black people had little foundation from which to develop economic independence and prosperity. The Freedmen’s Bank emerged as an institution seeking to help bridge this gap; as part of its mandate, the bank employed freedmen, providing jobs and training for those on its staff as well as banking services for those in the black community.

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Featured Image, Image |  Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation
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