In honor to kick off Black History Month, a slew of Atlanta based entertainers decided to urge the community to open bank accounts at the city’s only black owned financial institution, Citizens Trust Bank. In operations for 95 years, Citizens Trust Bank was founded by African American businessman Heman Perry on Atlanta’s historic Auburn Avenue.
Mr. Perry was once discriminated against and denied the right to be fitted for a pair of socks at a white-owned establishment. Deciding enough was enough, he, along with four other partners formed Citizen Trust Bank in 1921. Facing many hardships and overcoming tremendous obstacles, CTB survived. Eventually, Citizens Trust became the first African American–owned bank to become a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In 1948 Citizens Trust became the first African American–owned bank to join the Federal Reserve Bank.
In the 1950’s CTB invested in housing developments all through Southwest Atlanta. They also provided funding for the Morris Brown subdivision and the Bankhead and Hightower communities. As of 2003, 13 years ago, Citizen Trust Bank’s assets increased to nearly $400 million dollars. This is a great and wonderful thing for all Black Americans to look up to.
So when Usher, Polow Tha Don, Killer Mike, Jermaine Dupri and Big Krit decided to throw their support for the start of Black History Month, I paid attention. These are your rappers and singers in action for a positive cause, and I can almost guarantee there was no mainstream media coverage to be found. And yes, that includes you favorite hip hop websites too. But I’m not gonna bash the media. I’m gonna praise these brothers for being apart of this. This is a great thing for us all, when is the last time a rapper tried to sell you on a bank? I said Bank not Drank. Killer Mike posted this on Instagram:
“Me, Usher, Polo the Don & The influencer Coalition will be at 75 Piedmont Ave. 30303 downtown ATL. Noon today. We are gonna be opening accounts there and we encourage all of u too do the same! U can keep ya big bank account and use this one as a Savings or you can bring the whole operation. What ever u decide make sure at least 1 account is with a black bank turning that dollar in our community!”
This is truly the definition of putting your money where your mouth is. Black owned businesses in black communities with black support. Had this been the case a few weeks ago in Atlanta, perhaps Blac Youngsta would have been able to withdraw his money from a Wells Fargo without incident.
But lets not dwell on what has happened, but put more focus on what should happen. I will leave you with several quotes, pictures and a tune that sums up this wonderful event.
“Empowerment starts with ownership. We’re here supporting Citizens Trust Bank as a Black bank, but it also stands for the support of all the Black businesses that they support. Its all about supporting our own,”
“Bank small, bank local, bank black,” he said. “Gone are the days of most banks knowing their account holders. I can walk in here and voice my concerns, my complaints —or my compliments — to a live person. I know the staff here, they know me. I know my dollar counts. We are quick to say what we don’t have but here is a Black institution, 95 years strong and poised to grow, that is supporting the community. If we could get one million black people to come in and open one bank account with 100 dollars, in one weekend, that’s 100 million dollars. This is how we make Black history.”
Happy Black History Month yall!
Take that Stacey Dash.