This was backstage at the California African-American Museum in Los Angeles, where moments later I was deeply, deeply honored to join my spiritual father and mentor to so many, Reverend Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, founder of the Cecil L. Murray Center for Community Engagement at USC and the former pastor of First A.M.E. Church, for a rich conversation around the untold story, history and legacy of the Freedman’s Bank of 1865.
Also joining us this evening on the program included Dr. Lula Ballton of the Church of God in Christ, leading economic development there, and my friend Joseph Otting, CEO of One West Bank here in Los Angeles. Otting recently traveled to the national launch of the Freedman’s Bank Tour at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where he announced a pledge for the launch of 100 HOPE Inside locations throughout Southern California.
Too many legends and luminaries in the room to mention this evening, but a special mention to community leader Najee Ali, who is always present when there is important business of our community at hand, and actress and community supporter Dawnn Lewis, of A Different World fame.
You can see a full montage of images from the evening on Flickr here.
For more information on the untold history of the Freedman’s Bank, and the ongoing Freedman’s Bank Tour, check out the website here.
John Hope Bryant