Today I am honored to travel with two civil rights icons, Presidential Medal of Freedom award recipients and friends, Ambassador Andrew Young and Reverend C.T. Vivian, to Washington, D.C. for media interviews and the formal ceremony surrounding the renaming of the Freedman’s Bank Building, across from the White House.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln created a bank to ‘teach freed slaves about money.’ It was called the Freedman’s Bank, and was later run by noted abolitionist (and businessman) Frederick Douglass. The headquarters of the bank, which had upwards of 30 plus branches nationwide, was located directly across the street from both the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
At its height, the bank held deposits for more than 73,000 former slaves and held assets that would make it one of the top 50 banks today, in the nation.
On the meeting tomorrow, at Treasury, Reverend Vivian reminded me that this is one of the first ever times he can remember that civil rights and other leaders from underserved communities met on policy with the U.S. Treasury Secretary.
I wrote in some length on the historic nature of all of this on LinkedIn Influencers here, this week.
All of this is in preparation for, and leading up to the HOPE Global Forum, 2016 Annual Meeting for Operation HOPE, January 13-15th, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia, co-hosted with Mayor Kasim Reed and the City of Atlanta, where Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will give an important keynote policy speech on financial and economic inclusion for all.
Feel free to share broadly with your network of leaders and concerns individuals and groups.
John Hope Bryant