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The Freedman's Bank Signatures of Depositors records are located in Washintgton, D.C. The searchable database is available to researchers.  The bank was a private corporation chartered by the U.S. government to encourage and guide the economic development of the newly emancipated African-Americans following the Civil War period. It was the leading financial institution among African-Americans amd Its failure was devastating to the newly emancipated black community.

 

The Freedman's Saving and Trust Company was signed into law on March 3, 1865 BY Abraham Lincoln.  A depository for African-American veterans, ex-slaves and their families to build their savings, it also enabled community organizations in the increase in their financial strength.  The company attracted a large number of societies, churches, charities and other private organizations that opened accounts and established trusts with the company. A large number of African American soldiers and veterans of the Civil War held savings accounts in the banks; could not survive the Panic of 1873 and it closed its doors in 1874. When the bank closed in 1874 as a result of financial trouble  many depositors were never compensated. The bank's record of 480,000 names is estimated to be the largest single repository of lineage-linked African-American records, has been indexed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

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