March 8, 1865, The Freedman’s Bank

Black and white snapshot of the Freedman's Bank BuildingAbolitionists compelled Congress to establish a banking system for people of color and particularly Black soldiers who had no place to keep their Union Army compensation. To support the land grants and other elements of the Freedman’s Bureau Act, President Lincoln established the Freedman’s Bank on March 8, 1865 so that formerly enslaved Black Americans might navigate their financial lives. President Lincoln was assassinated five weeks later.

The Freedman’s Bank was a separate and unequal financial system. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency did not regulate the Freedman’s Bank. It was instead, supervised by a Board of Trustees largely comprised of Wall Street investors and real estate moguls, some of whom stole the depositors’ savings for their own purposes.



by IFHCIdaho August 18, 2021