Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name



African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Josephin Bradley

Second Advisor

Dr. Wosene Yefru


This study examined the role of black-owned banks in facilitating economic emancipation for African Americans in the South from 1888 to 1910. The concept of a separate, but equal America legalized by the United States Supreme court in 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson provided the impetus for a separate economy in the South. As a result, commercial and savings banks emerged as institutions for the economic liberation of African Americans. A case study investigating the efforts of three banks in contributing to the economic development of the African-American community during this era was conducted. The study examined race and empowerment and the role of banks in accommodating thrift, wealth accumulation and investing human and financial capital. The findings determined that commercial and savings banks formed the cornerstone of economic liberation and emancipation for African Americans in the Jim Crow South from 1888 to 1910. It concludes that bank founders embodied a Black Nationalist ideology of self-determination, race pride and economic cooperation when creating these institutions.

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