The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, commonly known as the Freedman’s Bank, was chartered by Congress in March 1865 to be a repository for the personal savings of freed slaves. The bank was founded by a group of white men whose intention, as Frederick Douglass would write in his Life and Times (1881, 1892) was “to instill into the minds of the untutored Africans lessons of sobriety, wisdom, and economy, and to show them how to rise in the world.” Although the bank got off to a promising start, by March 1874, when Douglass became its president, it was on the verge of failure.

100 years later, in 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his aides, including Andrew Young, led what became known as the Chicago Campaign, which led to Operation Breadbasket, which Andrew Young tasked the then young Dr. Jesse Jackson, today the founder of Rainbow/Push, to run. Operation Breadbasket was an unparelled success in Chicago.

40 years following the launch of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign, Operation HOPE is continuing a "silver rights" movement today, with civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young as its global spokesman.

Today I prepare to give the keynote speech for the 40th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Dinner in Chicago, Illinois.

Onward with HOPE

John Hope Bryant

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