Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wachovia Apologizes for Involvement in Slavery

Wachovia Corporation, which is one of the largest bank in the Philadelphia-area and manages the largest number of Philadelphia city government bank accounts, apologized today about the role their company played in the slave trade.
Wachovia came clean about the activities of its predecessor banks and their officers - including such prominent Philadelphians as Revolutionary War financier Robert Morris - under pressure from the cities of Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles, which have passed ordinances calling on city contractors to disclose any history of making money from slavery.


Wachovia's confession follows an admission in January by JPMorgan Chase & Co. that a predecessor in Louisiana used slaves as loan collateral. By contrast, Bank of America Corp. has denied profiting from slavery, though acknowledging that its predecessor was founded by a slave trader. But Wachovia used a broader standard, declaring that investments by its predecessors in southern-state and U.S. government bonds during slavery times were slavery-tainted.
Philadelphia City Council passed a bill requiring any companies that bid for city contracts disclose their role in the slave trade. Sponsored by Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. and Blondell Reynolds Brown, the bill was signed by Mayor Street in February. Several other cities, including Chicago and LA, has passed similar resolutions. None of the bills prohibit companies with a history of participating in the slave trade from getting city contracts-- it simply requires disclosure.

Is an apology enough? Wachovia's statement also says they will be contributing to organizations that are "furthering awareness and education of African American history." I assume this means historical societies and related organizations. I think Councilman Goode makes a excellent point.
Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr., who cosponsored the ordinance, praised Wachovia for its admission. But, Goode added, "if they are truly sorry and want to make some reparations, they can easily do that through investments in small-business lending, home mortgage and home improvement loans to disadvantaged neighborhoods. They are doing some of that, but it is not enough to deal with the disparity that still exists" between blacks and whites.
Despite an incredible amount of progress made in the stride for equality for African-Americans, huge disparities do still exist-- and they can all be traced directly to the legacies of slavery and segregation.


At 11:25 AM, Blogger Pat Evans/Butcher/Wicks said...

No matter what Wachovia's apology is worth, here are some black-owned banks you might want to consider doing business with in Philadelphia:

United Bank,

the former Berean Bank, now Advance Bank,

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it completely ridiculous that this is even an issue. It is the perpetuation of an issue from long ago that effects none of the people that live today. just keep it up guys... racism will always exist so long as you continue to suppress society with forced remembrances. don't forget all the white people that fought for the freedom of slaves.. many of them died for you.. but nobody seems to remember them.. the men and boys who died for you.. where is their apology? I am ashamed to even live near Philadelphia and to have once actually lived there.. it is a proud city built on freedom which will soon be like Camden as it continues to alienate itself from the national economic machine with petty color vision.. the sooner you let it go.. the sooner all the bad will go away.

At 12:33 AM, Blogger dashrinc said...

racism will exist in the America until the Indigenous receive restitution and African-Americans receive reparations. if there was no racism today there will be no need for reparations.


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