Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department hosted a ceremony to not only mark the 150th anniversary of the Freedman?s Savings and Trust Company (Freedman?s Bank), but also to name the Treasury Annex building the Freedman?s Bank Building. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, Assistant Secretary for Management Brodi Fontenot, Howard University Department of Economics Chair Dr. William Spriggs, and Liberty Bank and Trust President and CEO Alden McDonald delivered remarks and reflected on the legacy of the Freedman?s Bank.
The Freedman?s Bank was established in 1865 to create an opportunity for wealth-building among the nation?s four million newly emancipated African-Americans. During its nearly 10-year existence, approximately 100,000 African-American individuals and institutions amassed $57 million in the bank?s Washington, D.C. headquarters and its branches in 37 cities across 17 states.
On the Treasury Department?s renaming of the Annex building, the Congressional Black Caucus released the following statement:
?The Congressional Black Caucus applauds the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Secretary Jacob J. Lew for commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Freedman?s Savings and Trust Company, which is also known as the Freedman?s Bank, and for recognizing its significance to American history,? remarked CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield. ?
He added, ?The Freedman?s Bank was established in 1865 to provide an opportunity for the more than 4 million formerly enslaved African Americans to save and build financial wealth for themselves and their families.? The bank?s overarching goal was to promote economic integration and financial inclusion and during its nearly 10-year existence, approximately 100,000 African American individuals and institutions accumulated more than $57 million in the bank?s 37 local branches located in 17 states and Washington, D.C.? At its pinnacle, the Freedman?s Bank was the foremost leading financial institution for African Americans and created a model for financial institutions across the country.?