The latest historical publication from the Kansas City Fed explores the history of Black Community Banks and their roles in building strong communities.

A Great Moral and Social Force

Preorder your copy of the latest historical publication from the Kansas City Fed.

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About the book

“A Great Moral and Social Force” is a historical reference on Black community banks in the United States.

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Reserve your free copy of "A Great Moral and Social Force."

Foreword from Esther George

Read Kansas City Fed President and CEO Esther George’s foreword for “A Great Moral and Social Force.”

A Great Moral and Social Force: A History of Black Banks is written as a historical reference on Black community banks, and serves as a guide to help all Americans think differently about our relationships with banks. This particular history references banks in Richmond, Va.; Boley, Okla.; Chicago, Ill.; Memphis, Tenn; and Detroit, Mich.; as entities that provided a valuable service to their communities.

Rather than presenting a comprehensive history of Black banking, the goal of A Great and Moral Social Force is to move across eras and examine some of the communities where banks played a dual role in establishing both economic opportunity and social equality.

These banks were not purely a financial endeavor or a business opportunity but more importantly, were created with the primary mission of public service in mind. Community banks were catalysts in helping families and individuals establish businesses, buy homes and pay for an education that could open the door to opportunity. In their role as pillars of the community, Black banks were involved in some of the most important race relations events in American history and during the struggle for civil rights, Black bankers were among the leaders in the Black community who spearheaded the fight for social justice.

The book will be available January 2022. Preorder your free copy External Linkhere.

Media inquires may be directed here, while questions about the book can be sent to historicalbooks@kc.frb.org.

Learn about the author, Tim Todd, executive writer and historian at the Kansas City Fed here. Review other historical publications from the Kansas City Fed here.

Photographs on this website appear courtesy of:

The National Park Service, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, MAWA 99-0261 (circa 1910)

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. "W. R. Pettiford" The New York Public Library Digital Collections, (1887).

The Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, Mozella Franklin Jones:

Catalog Number 1977.046.026, (1915)

Catalog Number 1977.046.046, (1918)

Catalog Number 2002.255.001, (1921)

The University of Memphis Department of Art. Hooks Brothers collection (1946)

©ZUMA Press, Marcin Szczepanski, Detroit Free Press, Jan. 11, 2009, p. 49, via ZUMA Press.

John Williams’ success as an automobile mechanic in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood provided him and his wife Loula with the capital to construct two of the community’s landmark buildings – the Williams’ Confectionary and the 800-seat Dreamland Theater, a showplace for film and live performances.

His story is just one highlighted in "A Great Moral and Social Force: A History of Black Banks."

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