New Books Network

Shennette Garrett-Scott

Banking on Freedom

Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal

Columbia University Press 2019

New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in FinanceNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 19, 2019 Daniel Peris

Think running an insurance company or a bank is hard?  Try doing it as an African-American woman in the Jim Crow South.  Shennette Garrett-Scott‘s...

Think running an insurance company or a bank is hard?  Try doing it as an African-American woman in the Jim Crow South.  Shennette Garrett-Scott‘s new book, Banking on Freedom: Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal (Columbia University Press, 2019) tells the fascinating story of just such an endeavor, first the Independent Order of St. Luke, and then the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, founded in Richmond in 1903.  Along the way, she tells the tale of force-of-nature strong women, particularly Maggie Lena Walker, who wouldn’t take no for an answer as she built up a culture of business and entrepreneurship against incredibly long odds and never-ending efforts by regulators and competitors to thwart her efforts. It makes for gripping reading.


Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently of Getting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors. You can follow him on Twitter @Back2BizBook or at http://www.strategicdividendinvestor.com