Banking on Freedom: Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal

Columbia Univ. May 2019. 288p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780231183918. pap. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780231545211. BUS
OrangeReviewStarGarrett-Scott (history & African American studies, Univ. of Mississippi) writes a detailed, historical account of the evolution of the St. Luke Bank in Richmond, VA, that was formed by African American women in 1903. The bank later merged with two other local institutions to become Consolidated Bank & Trust Company, and served African Americans for over 100 years. With five chapters covering differing time periods in the bank's development, Garrett-Scott describes how women such as Maggie Lena Walker battled prejudice, gender discrimination, and institutional racism in an effort to help their community achieve financial literacy. Like many banks owned and organized by African Americans, this institution emerged from burial societies and survived competition from overzealous regulatory surveillance and financial crises, such as the Great Depression. Walker, whose mother had been born into slavery, was a pivotal figure in this bank's growth. She is recognized as the first U.S. woman to charter a bank and as the first African American woman to become president of a bank.
VERDICT Given the few historical treatments of black women is business, this book is long overdue. It will appeal to all interested in U.S. and African American history.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing