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
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.