The Freedman’s Bank Journal – (Inside: blank pages with lines )
Note: Pen not included
President Abraham Lincoln established the Freedman’s Bank on March 3, 1865 as part of the Freedman’s Bureau. As the Civil War drew to a close, the United States Congress and President Lincoln recognized the need to aid newly freed black men and women in their transition to freedom. To support the land grants and other elements of the Freedman’s Bureau Act, a Freedman’s Bank was established to help newly freed Americans navigate their financial lives. Call it the financial literacy program of its day.
During it’s existence, The Freedman’s Bank maintained some 37 offices in 17 states, including the District of Columbia. At it’s height, the Bank had over $57 million in deposits (adjusted for inflation) and 70,000 depositors. Five weeks after the creation of the Freedman’s Bank, President Lincoln was assassinated.
Seven years later, In June of 1872, the U.S. Congress voted to permanently close the Freedman’s Bureau. The Bank however remained operational and in 1874 Frederick Douglass was asked to run the Freedman’s Bank as its D.C. branch relocated to a new home across from the U.S. Department of Treasury, in a grand building which cost $260,000 to construct.
On January 7, 2016, at the urging of Operation HOPE’s Founder & CEO, Secretary Lew publicly renamed the Treasury Annex Building, The Freedman’s Bank Building, in honor of the site where the Freedman’s Saving Bank once stood. Former Mayor of Atlanta and Senior Advisor to Martin Luther King Jr, Andrew Young gave opening remarks and positioned the historic ceremony within a broader history. The Secretary of the Department of Treasury, Jack Lew, then gave remarks and honored the historic legacy of the Freedman’s Bank as well as the work of those who had helped to bring the history to light.