Black Banks

Sign reading "Mechanics and Farmers Bank Established 1908."
Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks are iconic figures in the country’s Civil Rights Movement. But who led the charge in North Carolina? The prominent, but little-known black banker John Hervey Wheeler played a large role.

The black community owned 0.5 percent of America’s wealth at the end of slavery, and today that number has barely increased. A typical white household is 10 times wealthier than a typical black household, and the racial wealth gap is growing.

Durham, Black Banking, Cicely Mitchell, Art of Cool
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

From Atlanta to Chicago, black-owned banks in big cities across the country have reported a rise in new accounts during the past month. One of the oldest black-owned banks in the country is based in Durham, where bank officials report a rise in new accounts and in a new movement to keep the momentum going.