You Might also like
BLACK FARMERS AND AGRICULTURIST ASSOCIATIONApril 5, 2016Eddie and Dorothy Wise’s farm was purchased by a neighboring white farmer for $260,000 at a public, forced, auction yesterday. The farm was sold as part of a foreclosure despite an established pattern of discrimination by local county FSA agents, a global expression of concern, a concerted effort of local advocates, and a Color of Change petition of 30,000 signatures calling for a halt to the foreclosure. We are heartsick, emotionally exhausted, and angry at this callous disregard for the livelihood of one of our brothers and sisters and their family. We also find it morally reprehensible.This post isn’t meant to summarize all that has been going on with this tragedy. Read up on this page https://www.facebook.com/BFAA.org/ to learn more details. When you do, you’ll find a lot of support among not only the Black farming community, but other groups and individuals concerned with the disappearance of the family farmer in this country and around the world. You’ll also find a handful of folks who ask questions and wonder about the financial skills and practices of the Wises. We want to take a minute to address this latter group because they reveal a hidden iceberg of suspicion and doubt that is a handmaiden of white supremacy and oppression.For these folks, there is always suspicion that Black folks are trying to pull a fast one, to get over, or otherwise get something undeserved and unearned through hard work. A damning criticism indeed in our society of believers in the fabled Horatio Alger story of upward mobility. In that story, success is earned through hard work, thrift, and discipline, a set of morally imbued characteristics that suggest character and virtue. So, by extension, those who suffer, are poor or otherwise not successful, are seen somehow as moral failures. They have, in this narrative, a character flaw, a defect. They are, somehow, morally deficient. The problem is, the characters in Horatio Alger’s novels were inventions just like the myth of the American Dream. Myths are powerful things, though, and serve important functions. They provide guidance just as frequently as they conceal truth. They don’t, however, describe reality. To view the Wise case as a personal failing is to ignore historical evidence, subscribe to a false notion of individualism, and support racializing views that reinforce white supremacy.Fact. Financial hardships and bailouts are everyday occurrences in modern agriculture, finance, and industry – recall the bank bailouts of 2009. Icons of success receive innumerable forms of assistance that directly contradict their self-proclaimed Horatio Alger narratives.Fact. Eddie and Dorothy Wise, like Black people across the US, were treated unfairly in matters directly affecting the securing and operating of their farm.To ask questions about why they missed payments, incurred so much debt, weren’t able to market their goods, etc. is to completely miss the point. Farmers and business people everywhere have financial struggles, only non-white folks also experience discrimination. The burdens of small producers everywhere are daunting. Pile on discrimination and it is impossible.But even worse, to ask these questions is to embrace a view of Black Americans that relies on racial stereotypes, fears, and a wholly imaginary white pathway. That white pathway, like the Horatio Alger stories, says that “I’m successful because of my effort. I didn’t get any help. I made tough choices.” It’s harmful and inaccurate to believe that story because it is applied in the reverse to the unsuccessful, impoverished, or destitute. Without knowing anything about others, it is too easy to simply say that those who aren’t successful must not be doing something right. They must not be working hard enough, be thrifty enough, or have enough personal character. These beliefs are factually unsupported, but mythically powerful things. That is, there simply isn’t evidence to support that the impoverished are lazy, unmotivated, or otherwise deficient, let alone morally deficient. Even more, it is harmful to assert the validity of the white pathway because it simply isn’t true. Hard work is great, but it isn’t the sole or primary purview of white people. It simply doesn’t explain the differences in poverty rates by race. In fact, there are many more poor white people than poor people of color in the US. The rates are higher for non-whites, but the numbers are clearly higher for whites. Rates of poverty, interestingly, are historically higher in rural areas than urban areas. These rural areas are overwhelmingly white. So, to impugn Eddie and Dorothy Wise’s financial practices is to enlist a host of familiar stereotypes, ignore the profound history of racial inequality, and reinforce a mythical imaginary of white success.The white neighbor who bought Eddie’s farm has had his eye on that property since 1993. Unsurprisingly he wanted to acquire neighboring property. During the farm crisis of the 1980s it was largely seen as bad form to try and purchase a struggling neighbor’s place. Why? Because, as members of a community, folks were to exercise restraint when faced with opportunities that came through the suffering of others. These values stemmed from a lot of things including the social bonds that emerge among community members, the engagement in shared forms of work, and, for many, deeply held Christian beliefs. The purchase of your struggling neighbor’s farm might happen, but only under extraordinary circumstances. To actively pursue it represented a moral failure.At the sale of the Wise farm there were two bidders. It turns out they were working together. One of the bidders was Eddie and Dorothy’s neighbor, the other had no intention of buying the property and simply served to help get the price to a “fair” level. Under normal foreclosure proceedings the person losing their farm typically has around 10 days to make a counter-offer and save their place. These types of protections are commonly seen as a way to give every opportunity to the landowner to stay on their place. This was not an option at this sale. Whether this is legal or not is under investigation. Regardless, to treat your neighbor as an opportunity rather than your responsibility is far from Christian. To aggressively and strategically maneuver to buy your struggling neighbor’s farm is a service to self, not a service to others.Selling the Wise farm illuminates the structural, racial, dimensions of inequality in this country. Buying Eddie and Dorothy Wise’s farm brings into clear view the moral failure of the white, Christian, community.Post Views: 315
The #BankBlack revolution has already began. Thousands of African Americans across the country are transferring their money to Black-owned banks that invest in urban communities and businesses. Initiated by several celebrities like Solange and rapper Killer Mike, the initiative is in response to years of police brutality, discrimination, and other racial problems that have long existed in America.
African Americans collectively have an annual buying power of almost $1 trillion dollars, and so the idea is to circulate and re-circulate Black dollars within Black communities.
If you are interested in opening an account at a Black-owned, FDIC-insured bank, here’s the complete list below according to FederalReserve.gov:
#1 – Alamerica Bank: This bank in Birmingham, Alabama provides a unique banking experience for underserved communities. Their staff of experienced bankers is committed to providing quality and personalized service, offering a full array of banking services, from deposit accounts to loans.
#2 – Commonwealth National Bank: At this bank in Mobile, Alabama, they believe that your business is unique and so your bank should be too. They offer free online banking with no minimum daily balance required, and a variety of business accounts designed to help you maximize your banking experience.
(Also see #11 – Liberty Bank, which has branch locations in Tuskegee and Montgomery, AL.)
#3 – Broadway Federal Bank: Based in Los Angeles, California, this Black-owned bank aims to serve the real estate business and financial needs in underserved urban communities. They especially aim to meet the needs of minority consumers who want to take out conventional loans.
(Also see #13 – One United Bank, which has branch locations in Compton and Los Angeles, CA.)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (WASHINGTON, DC)
#4 – Industrial Bank: Headquarted in Washington, DC with branch locations in Oxon Hill and Forestville, MD, this bank has delivered essential banking and financial services since 1934 that have contributed greatly to the growth and development of the local Black community.
#5 – Axiom Bank: Headquartered in Central Florida with branches throughout the Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa areas, this federally-chartered community bank serves the financial needs of its customers through a wide range of financial products. They provide retail banking services, including checking, deposit, and money market accounts, through 20 branch locations, 19 of which are inside select Walmart Supercenters. (Note: This bank was Black-owned for many years as Urban Trust Bank, and even earlier as Metro Savings Bank. Although they are no longer Black-owned, they are a solid, growing community bank that supports urban communities.)
(Also see #13 – One United Bank, which has branch locations in Miami, FL.)
#6 – Carver State Bank: Established in 1927 in Savannah, Georgia, this Black-owned bank has has remained a financial services leader for all sectors of the Savannah community throughout its 85 years and is the only bank in the area with an outstanding Community Reinvestment Act Rating.
#7 – Citizens Trust Bank: Since their beginning in 1921, this Atlanta, GA-based bank has responded to market shifts by expanding their electronic platform while still providing the personal touch service that makes them unique to their customers. Thanks to an online #BankBlack social media campaign in July 2016, more than 8,000 new accounts were opened at their branch in just one week.
#8 – Illinois Service Federal Bank: Based in Chicago, this bank aims to be a viable, growing, community development financial services institution responding innovatively to their primarily underserved and minority constituency with superb customer service.
#9 – Seaway Bank & Trust Company: This Chicago-based community bank serves families, non-profits and businesses in diverse neighborhoods. It was established in 1965 to counter discriminatory lending practices and is now recognized as one of the nation’s largest minority-owned banks, with more than $400 million in assets and 240 employees.
(Also, see #11 – Liberty Bank, which has branch locations in Chicago, IL.)
(See #11 – Liberty Bank, which has branch locations in Kansas City, KS.)
#10 – Metro Bank: Based in Louisville, Kentucky, this Black-owned bank works to provide opportunity where before there was none – whether it is their involvement in a multi-million dollar New Markets Tax Credit project, or a start-up business loan to an entrepreneur providing a much-needed service in an underserved neighborhood.
#11 – Liberty Bank: Primarily based in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this bank has a sincere focus on service, integrity and a sincere interest in community and business development. Over the past four decades, they have also expanded to more than 18 branches in six states – including Kansas, Mississippi, Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, and Illinois.
#12 – Harbor Bank of Maryland: Opening its doors in 1982, this bank primarily serves the Baltimore metropolitan area, and offers checking, savings, time deposits, credit cards, debit card, commercial real estate, personal, home improvement, automobile, and other installment and term loans. They also have a branch in Riverdale, MD, PG County.
(Also, see #4 – Industrial Bank, which has branch locations in Oxon Hill and Forestville, MD.)
#13 – One United Bank: The first Black internet bank and the largest Black-owned bank in the country, with offices in Los Angeles, Boston and Miami. They were awarded the highest Bank Enterprise Award by the U.S. Department of Treasury for their community development lending ten times, and they are a designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
#14 – First Independence Bank: Based in Detroit, this bank was established in the 1970’s to serve the financial needs of the urban community, its businesses, and its citizens. They say that no line of financial services is beyond their charter as long as they are serving the financial needs of businesses and families in the Black community.
(Also, see #11 – Liberty Bank, which has branch locations in Detroit, MI.)
(See #11 – Liberty Bank, which has branch locations in Jackson, MS.)
(See #11 – Liberty Bank, which has branch locations in St. Louis, MO.)
#15 – City National Bank: Primarily based in Newark, NJ with branch locations in Harlem and Brooklyn, NYC, this Black-owned bank plays a pivotal role in strengthening urban communities. They call themselves a forward-thinking financial institution whose mission is to build economic strength and improve the quality of life within urban communities by providing the highest quality financial services, including low-cost business loans.
(See #15 – City National Bank, which has branch locations in Harlem and Brooklyn, NY.)
#16 – Mechanics & Farmers Bank: Founded in 1907, this bank is the 2nd oldest minority-owned bank in the United States. They have branches in Winston-Salem, Durham, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, and most of their deposits are recycled back into urban communities.
#17 – United Bank of Philadelphia: Based in the city of Philadelphia, this Black-owned bank says that all deposits stay right in the community in a cycle of community, inclusivity, and opportunity. They offer affordable banking services to individuals, families, small businesses, and non-profit organizations.
#18 – South Carolina Community Bank: Based in Columbia, SC, this Black-controlled bank offers a select range of high priority personalized products and services to traditionally underserved communities, including small to medium sized businesses,
#19 – Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company: With branch locations in Nashville and Memphis, TN, this community bank provides friendly and personal service to both individuals and small businesses. They are an equal opportunity employer with 32 full-time employees, 3 convenient offices and approximately $100 million in total assets.
#20 – Tri-State Bank of Memphis: With three branch locations throughout the Memphis area, this a community bank has proudly served the urban community for over 65 years and have a history of leadership, concern and commitment.
#21 – Unity National Bank: Based in Houston, Texas, with a branch also in Missouri City, this Black-owned bank creates opportunities to help people and businesses grow and enhance the quality of life. They do that through service and services that respect their time, make banking easier and keep them financially competitive.
#22 – First State Bank: Chartered in 1919 in Danville, VA, this locally-owned and operated bank provides the personal touch to banking services. From checking and savings products to loans and other financial investments, they offer a variety of options to fit your needs.
#23 – Columbia Savings & Loan Association: Based in Milwaukee, WI, this is the oldest Black-owned financial institution in the state, and they have been serving commercial and individual accounts to urban customers since 1924. They offer checking accounts, and consumer and business loans.Post Views: 3,053