Many Hip-Hop artists has decided to open up bank accounts at a black bank today! It’s amazing to see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s words now manifesting in flesh. Decades ago our brother Dr. King told us to take our money of the white man’s bank and put it in a black bank.
“Since the 19th Century, African-American-owned banks have played a vital role in the economic development of our communities. Between 1888 and 1934, there were more than 130 U.S. banks owned by African-Americans, which is believed to have been the force behind the explosion of African-American businesses, which grew from 4,000 in 1867 to approximately 50,000 by 1917. While the 1960s produced a growing number of African-American banks, by the 1980s, many of them had failed. Today, according to a March 2010 Federal Reserve Board report, only 30 U.S. banks are owned by African-Americans.
The structural exclusion of African-Americans from the mainstream economic sphere led black entrepreneurs to build their own financial infrastructure to support the economic development of our communities, but the dramatic decline in the number of black-owned banks has led many to question the role of African-American-owned banks in revitalizing our neighborhoods today.
According to Dr. Brooks Robinson, economist and director of blackeconomics.org, black banks are critical to creating loans for black businesses. “Black-owned banks in black communities can even draw the traditionally unbanked poor into the formal economy,” Dr. Robinson states. “And [they can] push egregiously exploitative pay-day and check-cashing operations out of business.” (The Grio)
Photos by Brother Jesse Muhammad