EVENT ALERT: 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the Freedman's Bank March 3, 2015

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

Well - as I have said, Black History is a 365/24/7 Year Round event - and never is that more evident that the upcoming 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the establishment of the Freedman's Bank by President Abraham Lincoln.

Though it had a short life span, it was further evidence of his effort to make Black victims of slavery whole by providing them with bank accounts and teaching them about money.  Something we could still use today in modern contemporary times, as well.  I just received this from NYS Assemblywoman  Annette Robinson:  Monday, March 3, 2015 marks the 150th commemoration of Freedman’s Bank.  


Live streaming of this event is available thanks to Operation Hope.

The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company is a rare document that has a rich source of data pertaining to the ex-slave immediately following the Civil War. It had a short life span but it left a plethora of information concerning the depositors, the family, and descendants.

U.S. Comptroller of the Currency
Thomas J. Curry to Speak at Freedman’s Bank 150th Anniversary Commemoration at National Archives

On Tuesday, March 3rd, Operation HOPE and the Afro-American Historical Society of the National Archives will host a commemoration of a forgotten, but invaluable, part of America’s history, the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Freedman’s Bank. Established by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865, the Bank was a landmark institution designed to teach former slaves about money. 
U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry will be among the featured speakers. The Office of the Comptroller played a pivotal role in the history of the Freedman’s Bank, with the Comptroller serving as Commissioner of the Bank and reporting to Congress on its affairs. The Office lobbied Congress for nearly 40 years to secure restitution for depositors who lost their savings.
Operation HOPE will continue to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Freedman's Bank over the coming year, with the mission of completing the work of President Lincoln.
To watch the live stream click here
Guests Include Top Slate of Leaders

Guests scheduled to attend include:
The Freedman's Bank Story
The Freedman’s Bank was established on March 3, 1865 as part of the Freedman’s Bureau. As the Civil War drew to a close, President Lincoln and the Congress recognized the need to aid newly freed slaves in their transition to freedom. President Lincoln was killed five weeks after signing this bill.

At one point, Frederick Douglass was called forward to run the bank. However, the bank failed against the backdrop of political and public policy forces that undermined Reconstruction. During its existence the bank had over $57 million in deposits and 70,000 depositors. The Bank’s records remain the single largest repository of lineage-linked African-American genealogy, containing upwards of 480,000 names.

March 3rd Commemoration Highlights
Program highlights include:
  • A major national initiative for the duration of 2015 will be announced by P5117 Co-Chairs Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Bernice A. King and John Hope Bryant to ensure the completion of the Bank’s intended mission.
  • A Presentation on the Freedman’s Bank by representatives of the National Archives.
  • A Moderated Conversation with Ambassador Young, Chairman Bryant, OCC Deputy Comptroller Barry Wides and other dignitaries reflecting on the historical significance of the Bank and how its unfinished work still resonates today in issues of poverty, income inequality and race relations.
  • A Reception in the Archives Rotunda where guests will receive private tours to view our nation’s most important documents – Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, Emancipation Proclamation.
Can’t make it but want to view it? The Symposium will be live streamed; you may view it here.


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As I stated in my response to Assemblywoman Robinson, we need this now - there are so many of us who do not understand money and finance - the resurrection of the bank and the teaching of financial literacy is of paramount importance in the Black community and really needs to be started immediately, if not sooner. 

Try to check out this wonderful forum and glean the information that further expands our knowledge of the historic efforts of our people and the people who tried to help them. 

Stay Blessed & 


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