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Black CitymakersHow The Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America$
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Marcus Anthony Hunter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199948130

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199948130.001.0001

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A Tale of Two Banks

A Tale of Two Banks

(p.21) 2 A Tale of Two Banks
Black Citymakers

Marcus Anthony Hunter

Oxford University Press

This chapter details how the collapse of black banks impacted the financial livelihood of black Philadelphians generally and Black Seventh Warders specifically. Drawing on the concept of an “economic detour” and the inability of people of color to get equal access to mainstream financial opportunities and resources, the chapter examines the sociopolitical history of the Brown & Stevens and Cosmopolitan State Banks, founded and managed by black entrepreneurs Edward C. Brown and Andrew Stevens in the early 1920s. The collapse of these financial institutions and the subsequent loss of access to economic resources resulted in a multiclass migration of blacks from the neighborhood and an economic depression preceding and magnified by the Great Depression. The banking failure is seen as a critical juncture that reveals the interdependent relationship between black institutions and neighborhoods. Such indigenous institutions provide an important and underexplored means of analyzing and understanding larger patterns of neighborhood change and interdependency

Keywords:   Freedmen's Bank, black banks, Black Seventh Ward, economic detour, political agency

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