Company apologizes, makes reparations to African-Americans
In a shining example of corporate responsibility, JPMorgan Chase posted a letter on their Bank One website Jan. 20 addressing the company’s historical links to slavery.
The letter reads, “Recently, JPMorgan Chase completed extensive research examining our company’s history for any links to slavery to meet a commitment to the city of Chicago. Today, we are reporting that this research found that between 1831 and 1865 two of our predecessor banks – Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana – accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral on loans and took ownership of approximately 1,250 of them when the plantation owners defaulted on the loans.”
The JPMorgan Chase predecessors were among many, many other corporations, individuals, and even the U.S. government profiting from slavery. Unlike most – including the U.S. government – JPMorgan Chase is not only making an apology, but making reparations.
As the letter says, “Slavery was tragically ingrained in American society, but that is no excuse.”
And to show the company’s dedication to making the situation right, JPMorgan Chase is establishing a $5 million college scholarship program for African-American students living in Louisiana, where the original corporate misdeeds took place.
Through the initial five years of the program, the company will provide full-tuition, undergraduate scholarships to the students to attend colleges in their home state; students will be selected based on merit and need. JPMorgan Chase will also provide the selected students with the chance to intern with the company during their summer breaks, “with the goal of being hired upon graduation.”
In addition, the company has published the results of its research on its website, “including names of the enslaved individuals when identified, parish information and archival citations for those seeking to do further research.” The company hopes to further serve the public by making this difficult information available to the public. “…we hope it will prove useful to those researching their ancestry, as well as for those seeking to learn more about this tragic period in our country’s history,” according to the site.
Learn more and get involved!
To read JPMorgan Chase’s original letter, as well as the company’s research, visit http://www2.bankone.com/presents/home. The site also has a convenient link that readers can use to compliment the company on their good corporate citizenship.
To contact the company and thank them for having the guts to stand up and take responsibility for their past call 212-270-6000 or send a letter to JPMorgan Chase & Co., 270 Park Ave., New York, NY 10017.