Book Excerpt! Banking on Freedom: Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal (introduction and chapter 2)

Shennette Garrett-Scott’s compelling and highly original account demonstrates that, for black people, banks were more than financial institutions. In the hands of black women, capital accumulation, credit, and insurance became community building practices, mutual aid, strategies for collective survival, and sources of contestation. Banking on Freedom offers a new perspective on the entire community and the nation.

~ Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

This week we’ve been featuring Banking on Freedom: Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal, by Shennette Garrett-Scott. Today we’re continuing our Women’s History Month celebration with the following excerpts from the book.

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Read the introduction to Banking on Freedom, by Shennette Garrett-Scott. In this book, Shennette Garrett-Scott explores black financial innovation and its transformative impact on U.S. capitalism through the story of the St. Luke Bank in Richmond, Virginia: the first and only bank run by black women. Banking on Freedom offers an unparalleled account of how black women carved out economic, social, and political power.


Read an excerpt from chapter 2: “Who Is So Helpless as the Negro Woman?” from Shennette Garrett-Scott’s Banking on Freedom. This chapter explores the development of the Independent Order of St. Luke and its efforts to provide economic security for black women and their families.

Remember to enter our drawing for a chance to win a free copy of this book!

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