Black in the Day…Black Capital

October 18, 1888:

 

On this date the first bank organized and operated by African Americans was Capital Savings Bank in Washington, D.C. Just four years after it opened, its deposits had grown to over $300,000. It opened shop at a time when the mere notion of offering financial services to the African American community was a novel idea. Capital Savings Bank provided the capital essential to the growth of black businesses, capital that white-owned banks were unwilling to lend. The community proudly deposited its money in Capital Savings Bank. The public’s confidence in Capital was rock solid in the early days, enabling the bank to exert a strong, positive economic impact on the community it served.

Between 1888 and 1934, 134 black banks were established, while from 1867 through 1917, the number of black businesses increased from 4,000 to 50,000. Capital Savings Bank helped many businesses and property owners until it closed in 1902.

The site on which it stood, 609 F Street, NW, Washington D.C. was designated a DC Historic Landmark.

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