tumblr_nx6u7goyt51un7falo1_1280mawa00000099_17348f297b8410cc813f81bd4d99ee28256e14781115006171477006418361November 2nd 1903 – Business and civic leader, Maggie L Walker, opens the St Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond Virginia’s Black Wall St Jackson Wards District becoming the First black woman to open own control operate a bank in history…

On November 2, 1903, the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank opened for business at the St. Luke Headquarters Building at 900 St. James Street. While music played and speeches were given, nearly 300 eager customers, many of them members of the IOSL, waited patiently to open bank accounts. While some deposited more than one hundred dollars, some started accounts with just a few dollars, including one person who deposited 31 cents. At the end of the day, the bank had 280 deposits, totaling over $8,000, and sold $1,247.00 worth of stock, bringing the total to $9,340.44. While Mrs. Walker had originally hoped for deposits exceeding $75,000, she was pleased with the first day’s success but recognized the hard work ahead to find success and security for the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank.

Between 1888 and 1920, five other black owned banks opened in Richmond, including Walker’s St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and the Mechanics Savings Bank, which served as the main depository for another fraternal order, the Knights of Pythias.

There were numerous reasons for African Americans to open and patronize banks within their own community. Racial stereotypes discouraged many white bankers from loaning money to African Americans, fearing that loans would never be repaid. If black customers were issued loans, in many instances they were charged a higher rate of interest than white customers. While many white-owned banks accepted deposits from black customers, some did not. They feared the black customers would scare away white patrons. Also, as Mrs. Walker argued, why should African Americans “feed the lion of prejudice?” By patronizing black owned banks, money was kept within the black community, allowing Richmond’s black community to prosper #RVA #JacksonWardDistrict #Blackwallst #RichmondVa #SelfDetermination #MaggieLWalker #BlackDollar #BlackEconomics via #AugustThirdCollective #NewAfrikanindependenceMovement 

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