The Slavers of Wall Street: Investment Banks and Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – OguEjiOfo Annu

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Several global financial institutions started off as slave profiteering firms before growing into multi-national behemoths of today. Many acknowledged their links to slavery. Others have apologised for and have set up programs to make amends.

The rat pack list of those institutions that got rich off slaving and trading the back and skin of Ethiopian peoples includes:

JPMorgan, the global international financial behemoth. It is one of the elite investment banks of Wall Street United States and the City of London, in Britain. JP Morgan is a trillion dollar bank and remains one of the main pillars of the globalized financial and monetary system. In 2005 JPMorgan apologised for the activities of two of its predecessors in Louisiana – Citizens Bank and Canal Bank – who had been involved in slave-profiteering programs, for instance mortgage of slaves to slave owners. It recently set up a $5m scholarship fund for black students studying in Louisiana.

The predecessor to the Royal Bank of Scotland was a slaving enterprise promoted and maintained by the ruling elites of United Kingdom. The Bank has acknowledged its link to slavery and has updated its archival records. Recently, it amended the disclosures of past slave connections that it had previously lodged with the Chicago authorities.

Aetna, a billion dollar insurance company was involved in slave profiteering activities. In March 2002, Deadria C. Farmer-Paellmann, a lawyer and activist, launched an unsuccessful legal action against Aetna and others for unjust enrichment through slavery. Spurred partly by Ms Farmer-Paellmann’s court action, Aetna apologised for insurance policies written on slaves 140 years earlier.

New York Life Insurance coy in 2002 donated documents about the insurance it sold to slave owners in the 1840s to a New York library. It also backed educational efforts.

Lehman Brothers, the trillion dollar bank which was so big as to be beyond failure. Lehman Brothers the investment bank whose fall triggered the global financial crisis; yes, Lehman Brothers was started off as a brotherhood of slave dealers and their profiteers. Lehman made so much money off trading and speculating on the miseries and death of African peoples that they became richer than Croesus. Yet they failed. On the eve of the assumption of the Presidency by the Black man Obama. In 2005 Lehman had apologised for its predecessors’ links to slavery.

Bank of America another one of those giants of Wall street financing was built off the blood and sweat of Black people in Africa, as well as in North and South America. Bank of America recently offered its regrets for any actions its predecessors might have taken to support or tolerate slavery.

Wachovia Bank, another ubiquitous Wall Street investment banker is another one of those legatees of slave trading and profiteering. Wachovia Bank, has also apologised for its predecessors having owned and profited from slaves. It set up a programme offering $1bn in loans for black car dealerships.

Yale University, one of the leading centers of intellectual and academic activities was ofiteering from slaving activities. In October 2001 some of its students pointed out its past links one with slavery. The university acknowledged it slave trading and profiteering linkages but noted that it had already founded the Gilder-Lehrman centre for the study of slavery.

Brown University has set up a commission to look into links with slavery and how it should make amends.

In 2006 Tony Blair, prime minister, expressed “deep sorrow” for the UK’s role in the slave trade.

In Spring of 2009 the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution apologising for slavery and segregation.

OguEjiOfo Annu


Carola Hoyos,,Authorised=false.html?

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4 thoughts on “The Slavers of Wall Street: Investment Banks and Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – OguEjiOfo Annu”

  1. I am very much in learning immoal practice of business in different period of the time and therefore I don’t make the same mistakes as the early business pioneers of our society.

  2. In a court of law or contractual/non-contractual agreement between two parties, it is not enough to just apologize for a grievance committed by one party against another, it is only deemed repensatory against the party and heirs descendants of the aggrieved party to agree upon a fair restitution for the offense of the crimes committed. In this case a man’s or woman’s unalienable human rights ordained by God to benefit from the toils of his labor, the ability to protect his family, and the right to receive financial compensation for his labor and thereof to benefit his descendents. Therefore restitution should be compensable to the grievance committed, the fair wages with-held and the interest due to account for inflation. And at the end of a fair and equitable agreement, maybe an apology might be accepted.

  3. Their regrets and apologizes do Nothing to change the tremendous malicious wrongs done in the past. If these companies really wanted to effect a change they’d be more open to those like me who are looking for ancestors in the record trail. Alex Haley opened the door with “Roots”, it’s time for these companies to open records to the sale of the black people in American society. Discovering their connection to Africa is a powerful tool for Reparations of a people who labored to build this country and other countries around the world. Until then they benefited from the financial gains, without paying the means for which they benefited and us Black people will never be satisfied and move onward and upward without the tools to identify with our origins or our ancestor’s culture.

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