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Biden-Harris Administration Pursues Unmet Black Economic Promises Stemmed From The Past

The government recently hosted a forum to discuss and commemorate Black enlightenment and wealth.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

The Treasury Department held Freedman’s Bank Forum, which is “an annual conference where public and private sector leaders convene to discuss ways to close the historical and persistent racial wealth gap in America." It was launched in 2015 by former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew amid the Obama administration, according to The Grio, to not only speak on ways to close the racial wealth gap but to commemorate the failed bank and its unfulfilled potential back in the day.

Because of centuries of forced, unpaid labor by the enslaved leading to white America getting criminally wealthy but leaving newly freemen without any land or money following the Civil War, Congress enacted legislation to establish a national savings bank for Blacks.

What was the goal of this so-called Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company? It was to give the once enslaved, including Black veterans who fought hard in the Civil War for their freedom, access to banking, as well as financial security, as they earned wages for the very first time in their lives.

The Freedman’s Bank at its height expanded to 17 state branches with deposits that totaled $57 million, which is equivalent to $115 billion today.

“The Freedman’s Bank … failed slaves in many ways in the same way that Reconstruction failed recently freed African Americans,” Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury, said to The Grio.

Years later, folks are finally catching on to work that was done generations ago.

“It’s an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of trying to keep the unmet promises to not only freed slaves,” Adeyemo said. “ But in the people of color in this country in order to live up to … our highest ideals as a country (and) also to unlock the potential of the U.S. economy.”

The Biden-Harris administration, according to The White House, has invested billions of federal money to stimulating the Black economy. To this day, the White House has taken credit for historic lows in Black unemployment, as well as a boost in the number of Black-owned businesses post-COVID-10 pandemic.

And to Adeyemo, these recent actions from the government are a start towards righting past wrongs.

“The most important lesson that can be learned is about the importance of government and institutions keeping their promises to the American people,” Adeyemo, the first Black person to serve as deputy secretary at Treasury, said.


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