Banking while black: How a new generation of leaders is overcoming a legacy of discrimination and mistrust

by Skyler Scarlet

n 1865, the United States chartered a hopeful, new bank—the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Co.—that was intended to help newly liberated slaves get on sound financial footing.

Less than a decade later, in 1873, amid a financial panic marked by railroad speculation and bad investments, the woefully mismanaged business shuttered. More than 60,000 depositors were left out in the cold, many never receiving compensation for their losses. (The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which backstops savings in qualified banks up to a $250,000 limit, was established later, in 1933, during the Great Depression.)

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