January 22, 2005


Bank admits it owned slaves (Mail & Guardian, January 22nd, 2005)

America's second biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, has made a rare apology for its subsidiaries' involvement in the slave trade 200 years ago, admitting that it accepted slaves as loan collateral and ended up owning several hundred.

The Wall Street heavyweight said parts of the business accepted thousands of slaves as collateral on loans made to plantation owners in the South in the early 19th century.

It sent a letter to employees expressing contrition for its involvement in a "brutal and unjust institution". It made the disclosure to comply with a rule requiring companies to detail past dealings with the trade when they are doing business with the city of Chicago.[...]

In the letter, signed by the chief executive, William Harrison, the bank said: "We apologise to the African-American community, particularly those who are descendants of slaves, and to the rest of the American public for the role that Citizens' Bank and Canal Bank played. The slavery era was a tragic time in US history and in our company's history."

Can’t you just feel the healing begin?

Posted by Peter Burnet at January 22, 2005 6:55 PM

I can't feel a thing. I do think I hear the sound of hundreds of thousands of Negro victims suffering from post-pardon repression and their lawyers licking their chops.

Posted by: NC3 at January 22, 2005 7:18 PM

"Lawyers...start your lawsuits!"

Posted by: Dave W. at January 22, 2005 8:13 PM

So people who never owned slaves apologised to people who never were slaves because some other people owned some other slaves.

So what?

Posted by: Brandon at January 22, 2005 11:22 PM

If you read the article carefully, you realized that the Bank had no relation to slavery. The bank it bought was a new bank that took the place of the precivil war banks which went under during the Great Depression.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 23, 2005 1:39 AM


That's a great line. Can I steal it?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 23, 2005 3:43 AM