“This brave and thoughtful act by Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew bridges an historical divide, and acknowledges the wisdom of the U.S. Congress and President Lincoln in creating a vehicle to help newly freed slaves and African-American soldiers integrate into the national economy after the Civil War. It celebrates the success of the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company in attracting significant capital and building 37 branches in 17 states, especially in the South, to create opportunities for 100,000 African-Americans. The bank’s demise in 1874, amid the U.S. and European financial panic of 1873-1879,was a devastating setback to the newly emancipated African-American community. Renaming the Treasury Annex to celebrate the Freedman’s Bank’s mission – to promote economic integration and financial inclusion – on the 150th anniversary of its creation, sends a powerful message on the importance of financial inclusion in enabling human dignity and opportunity for all.”

Mr. Sean Cleary

Founder of the FutureWorld Foundation and a framer of the South African Constitution

Sean Cleary

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