In his 2000 bestseller, “The Debt: What America Owes To Blacks,” attorney and activist Randall Robinson laid out why America owes the descendants of slaves reparations. Corporations must also pay, Robinson said. Several activists have moved forward on this goal.
Some slave owners borrowed money to pay for their slaves. Some of the loans were provided by Brown Brothers Harriman, today one of the oldest and largest private banking firms in the U.S. Some slave ships crossing the Atlantic were financed by a bank called Providence Bank, which grew and merged its way into a larger corporation that today is called Fleet Boston, ABC News reported. In 2000, JPMorgan Chase admitted that between 1831 and 1865, two of its predecessor banks loaned money to slaveholders and accepted 13,000 slaves as collateral. After some borrowers defaulted, the banks became owners of about 1,250 people. The bank apologized in 2005 and created a $5 million scholarship fund for Black youth, Medium reported.
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