Money Men Apologize For Predecessors Crimes Against Humanity

from Chicago Tribune: J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. on Thursday filed a disclosure statement with the City of Chicago acknowledging that two of its predecessor banks had received thousands of slaves as collateral before the Civil War.
The New York-based bank apologized for contributing to “a brutal and unjust institution” and said it was setting up a special scholarship fund to try to make amends.
J.P. Morgan officials said the bank undertook the research after Chicago passed an ordinance in 2003 requiring companies that do business with the city to research their history to determine any links to slavery.
William Daley, brother of Mayor Richard Daley and Midwest chairman of J.P. Morgan, said the bank launched a thorough investigation that involved a dozen researchers. The team expended 3,500 man-hours and visited 100 locations during the past seven months.
Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd), who has been one of the bank’s most vocal critics, said: “This is a complete vindication of our original position. Through our determined efforts, we have been able to force a major national financial institution to research their history and records and to admit, once and for all, that there is conclusive proof of their involvement in slavery.”
The Alderwoman
The bank said researchers had found that two now-defunct predecessor banks–Citizens Bank and Canal Bank, both based in Louisiana–served as banks to plantations from the 1830s until the Civil War.
“Collateral” for mortgages and other loans “included land, equipment and/or enslaved individuals,” the statement said.
The bank estimated that the two banks “accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral and that the banks came to own approximately 1,250 enslaved individuals as a result” of defaults.
J.P. Morgan said it was setting up a program called Smart Start Louisiana. It will provide $5 million over five years for full-tuition undergraduate scholarships for African-American students from Louisiana to attend college in their home state.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.