March 3 discussion at the National Archives in Washington, DC commemorates historic mission of Freedman's Bank

Images LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – On March 3, 2015, Operation HOPE Forums and the Afro-American History Society of the National Archives (AAHS) will recognize a forgotten and invaluable part of America's history – the 150th anniversary of The Freedman's Bank, Operation HOPE announced today.  Established on March 3, 1865 by President Abraham Lincoln, the Bank was a landmark institution designed to teach former slaves about money. The public commemoration at the National Archives in Washington D.C., where the Bank's records are housed, will begin Operation HOPE's year-long, nationwide tour to complete the Bank's unfinished mission of helping everyone prosper in the free enterprise system.

The event is free and open to the public, register online:

Operation HOPE is excited to share the amazing story leading up to, and about the Freedman's Bank. It still has the power to inspire a nation's leader to 'fulfill these rights,' today, said John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE.  "This endeavor is a very personal event for me, since the founding of Operation HOPE; I have been more determined than ever to bring inclusive economics to those communities who still have not received the rights, abilities and tools to fulfill their total freedom."

The event will include remarks by Dr. Bernice A. King; a presentation on Freedman's Bank records at the National Archives by members of AAHS; and a moderated discussion with Operation HOPE Founder John Hope Bryant, Ambassador Andrew Young, ESSENCE Magazine Editor-In-Chief Vanessa DeLuca and other dignitaries discussing the historical significance of the Bank and how its unfinished journey still resonates today in issues of poverty, income inequality and race relations. A reception will follow the event. 

Records created by post-Civil War Federal agencies in the holdings of the National Archives are some of the most important records available for the study of African American genealogy. 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.

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

About the Afro-American History Society (AAHS) of the National Archives
An organization of current and former employees of the National Archives, AAHS was founded with the purpose of aiding research in black history through the promotion, study, dissemination, and collection of information and materials relating to the history and culture of African Americans.

About the National Archives
The National Archives holds millions of records that document the African American experience, including the records of the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, popularly known as the Freedmen's Bureau.  These records are the most extensive documentary source available for investigating the African American experience in the post-Civil War and Reconstruction eras.  See images from these records. For more on African American records at the National Archives, see

About Operation HOPE, Inc.
About Operation HOPESince 1992, Operation HOPE has been providing financial dignity and economic empowerment to over 2.2 million individuals worldwide. Through its work, HOPE turns check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners and minimum wage workers into living wage consumers. For additional information about Operation HOPE, go to

Follow the event on Twitter at #Freedmans150

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