On the occasion of my birthday, February 6, I am honored and pleased to announce this commemoration of a forgotten and invaluable part of America's history -- the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Freedman's Bank.  Doing this, is my gift to a nation that has given me so very much.  And also, on behalf of people, and communities, who still have not received the rights, abilities and tools to fulfill their total freedom.  The freedom of what we at Operation HOPE call 'self determination.'

The amazing story leading up to, and about the Freedman's Bank, can inspire a nation's leader to 'fulfill these rights,' today.  A special thank you to the leadership of our United States National Archives, our partner in this endeavor.


Building off the tremendous success and momentum of the 2015 HOPE Global Forum Annual Meeting, Operation HOPE Forums is partnering with the National Archives to recognize the 150th anniversary of the Freedman’s Bank, a landmark institution signed into law by President Lincoln designed to teach former slaves about money.


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 and established The Freedman’s Bank on March 3, 1865. 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.


The Commemoration at the National Archives in Washington D.C. - home to the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution - is scheduled for March 3rd and will launch a year-long, nationwide tour to complete the bank’s unfinished mission of helping everyone prosper in the free enterprise system.

The event will consist of a Luncheon with remarks by Dr. Bernice A. King; a presentation on the Freedman’s Bank by the National Archivist and the Archives African-American History curators; and a moderated discussion with Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant, Ambassador Andrew Young, MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow and other dignitaries. Following the symposium, a reception will be hosted in the Archives Rotunda and guests can enjoy private access and tours of this amazing collection of American history.


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 For additional information, please call (213) 891-2900 or


John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass)His newest bestselling book is How The Poor Can Save Capitalism (Berrett Koehler Publishing).

Bryant is a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index,and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.

Bryant is the only bestselling author on economics in the world who is also of African-American descent.

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