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Bank of America Becomes Fourth Bank to Admit Ties to Slavery
by Saadiq Mance
Entered into the database on Saturday, August 27th, 2005 @ 18:12:27 MST


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In a report released Wednesday, the Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) became the fourth bank in the United States to disclose links to slavery. The admission comes as a result of a 2002 Chicago law that any company doing business with the city must reveal past slavery ties.

However, according to the Chicago Sun Times, Bank of America claims that its predecessor banks never held slaves and they could not find a case where they made any profits from slaves.

As a result, Bank of America pledged only $5 million over a three-year period for institutions and programs involved in preserving African-American history. In addition, Bank of America said that the $5 million offer will build on existing commitments, inferring that no new initiates will be started.

Kenneth D. Lewis, the Chairman and CEO of Bank of America, makes an annual salary of $7.21 million. Additionally, as of June 30 2005 Bank of America reported assets of $1.25 trillion and a quarterly net income of $4.30 billion. With Bank of America's extraordinary income statement and balance sheet that would never have been possible without the forced servitude of Africans, Bank of America’s $5 million dollar pledge has been received by the Black community as insulting and pathetic.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that Alderwoman Dorothy Tillman of Chicago, who introduced the Chicago legislation for companies to disclose ties to slavery, said that the report was "disingenuous" and that she had evidence that Bank of America predecessor Providence Bank engaged in the slave trade, including the manufacture of leg irons. Tillman also said that the bank lied about past ties to slavery in an affidavit submitted in connection with its role as senior manager of a $500 million city refinancing deal.

Bank of America’s admission of guilt to ties with slavery comes in the wake of Wachovia Corporations admission of guilt for building its company from money made from the forced servitude of Africans that were brutally brainwashed after they were kidnapped from their native lands. Wachovia reported assets of $511.8 billion as of June 30 2005 and in 2004 made $25 billion in community loans and investments to revitalize neighborhoods, and donated more than $82 million to charities.

As a result of Wachovia’s admission of guilt for slavery the company told the press that it plans to distribute only $10 million over a five year period through a string of new and enhanced partnerships with at least two of the "good ol’ boys" of civil rights pacifiers, the United Negro College Fund and the NAACP.

Wachovia and now Bank of America’s “greasing” of the hands of the “safe” Black organizations without any accountability are just the latest in a string of corporations who have dictated to the Black community how they will distribute money pledged in the name of repairing past wrongs due to slavery in the United States of America. Within the last 2 years, there have been more than half a billion dollars promised by private corporations without any accountability.

Other similar admissions and / or monetary pledges have been made by J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, American General, Nationwide Life Insurance, and Lehman Brothers. None of which have been taken to task by America’s Black Community.