KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City today announced the publication of its latest history book, A Great Moral and Social Force: A History of Black Banks. The book explores the growth of Black banks in the South and Midwest during the late 19th and 20th centuries in the cities of Richmond, Va.; Boley, Okla.; Chicago; Memphis, Tenn.; and Detroit.

External LinkThese cities each have a rich history of Black wealth and economic success that may not be familiar to many Americans. The new book also explores the challenges these communities and the institutions faced. Rather than a comprehensive history of Black banking, the book examines how community Black banks played a dual role, supporting both economic opportunity and social equality.

“The motivation to create many Black banks, regardless of the time period, was rarely a purely financial endeavor or business opportunity,” Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President and CEO Esther George says in the book’s foreword. “Instead, many were created with a primary mission of public service. This focus on the community is similar to the motivation behind many of our nation’s small and mid-sized banks today.”

For a full PDF version, or complimentary hardcopy of “A Great Moral and Social Force,” visit the Kansas City Fed website at kansascityfed.org/agreatmoralandsocialforce.

In 2019, the Kansas City Fed publishedExternal LinkLet Us Put Our Money Together,” which explores the efforts to establish the first African American banks in the United States. These books are a part of the External LinkKansas City Fed’s Centennial Series, short books that explore a number of important themes in Federal Reserve history, banking and economic policy.

As the regional headquarters of the nation’s central bank, the Kansas City Fed and its branch offices in Denver, Oklahoma City and Omaha serve the seven states of the Tenth District: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, northern New Mexico and western Missouri.


Media Contact: Victoria Rosengarten