TITLE: Failure of the Freedman's Bank: Freedom, Finance and Security in 19th Century American Capitalism
SPEAKER: Jonathan Levy
EVENT DATE: 05/26/2010
RUNNING TIME: 66 minutes
In 1865, Congress chartered the non-profit "Freedman's Savings and Trust Company," a savings bank designed for a population of four million newly emancipated American slaves. By 1873, it had received a staggering $50,000,000 in deposits. But the banking house Jay Cooke & Co. was charged with investing the freedpeople's savings, and when Jay Cooke & Co. failed during the panic of 1873, so did the Freedman's Bank. Liberated from their former masters, the freedpeople had very suddenly come face to face with the frenzied finance of the Gilded Age.
Speaker Biography: Jonathan Levy is a Mellon Fellow.