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Black History Month: History of African Americans in Banking

African Americans have been in integral part of our financial and banking industries. In honor of Black History, Launch Credit Union wants to highlight a few milestones.

1778 Richard Allen and Absalom Jones established an organization to help educate African Americans on socioeconomic issues.

1879 Blanche Kelso Bruce was the first African American to appear on US Currency as Register of the Treasury.

1888 Capital Savings Bank was the first bank founded by African Americans.

1902 Maggie Lena Walker becomes the first female African American bank president.

1910 C.J. Walker became the first female African American millionaire founding her brand of African American hair care products.

(MoneyLion, 2019)

1927 Major R.R. Wright founded the first professional organization of African Americans in finance called the Negro Bankers Association.

1970 Joseph L. Searles III is the first African American member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

1977 Azie Taylor Morton becomes the 36th treasurer of the United States and the first African American women to have her signature on US currency.

1987 TLC Beatrice International, a chain of grocery stories owned by Reginald F. Lewis becomes the first African American owned company exceeding $1 billion in sales.

1989 The Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act requires the FDIC help preserve and promote minority-owned institutions.

1993 Harry Alford and Kay Debow founded the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

1993 Ron Brown became the first African American Secretary of Commerce.

2001 Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), is the first African American Billionaire alongside his wife Sheila who is the nation’s first African American female billionaire.

2009 Barack Obama becomes the first African American President of the United States. His wife, Michelle, is the nation’s first African American First Lady.

2018 23-year-old Lauren Simmons is the New York Stock Exchange’s youngest and only female equity trader.

2021 Kamala Harris becomes the first woman of color Vice-President of the Unites States.


MoneyLion. (2019, February 19). Key money milestones in Black History. Retrieved from MoneyLion.

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