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Thesis The establishment and crash of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company influenced on social and economic life of African Americans starting from 1865 to 1874. A great contribution the FSB has made into genealogical research and records of the lives of African Americans during that period. The post Civil War period and the way African Americans have spent these years can be traced via documentation about each depositor and his family recorded by the FSB. Introduction A period to be considered in the essay is 1865-1874 years. This period was marked by the establishment of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company in 1865. This landmark was essential for further improvement and establishment of community bonds and social advancement of African Americans. These people have experienced numerous complexities and challenges starting from 1861, though 180,000 served in the army (The Long Walk, 2008). The first signs of the Freedman’s savings bank occurred during the Civil War and were initiated by the American officers. With the help of monetary savings, establishment of communal savings communities the African Americans wanted to support their relatives and families in economically hard times (Cox, 2008). Moreover, the deposit bank establishment provided key documentation and now it is possible to trace the actions of African Americans activities before and after war. In other words: “In many ways the FSB records document various aspects of collective economic activities in the transition from slavery to freedom” (Josiah, 2004). Bank’s establishment A specific nature of the FSB and its direct relation to African Americans can be explained by the nationality of depositors. The depositors consisted of veterans, ex-slaves and their families. The main goal of the FSB establishment is its influence on the social life African Americans. These people had a hope to deposit their savings and in such a way to invest in their future. Moreover, different institutions and organizations received a chance to increase their financial power and expand their activities. Therefore, the interest of African Americans and an overall cooperation of this nation at all levels signify a strong social tendency to integration for a common good. For example, during that period such kind of organizations has occurred: ‘different hospitals, schools, the St. Elizabeth Home for Colored Children and the St. Francis Xavier Church’s Orphan Aid Society” (Josiah, 2004). Another important fact that means a trustful attitude of African Americans to the FBS is that the leading positions in the bank were occupied by the community activists: “A large number of African American soldiers and veterans of the Civil War held savings accounts in the banks; the management of their funds was organized through an allotment system supervised by the officers of the respective army regiments” (Joseph, 2005). As far as we can see, African Americans were devoted to the FSB on the basis of a secure deposit management and supervision. A military background of the bank establishment and operation served as a perfect guarantee of a safe nature of deposits and was appealing for representative of any occupation among African Americans. Therefore, this bank has turned into “the largest single repository of lineage-linked African-American records with more than 480,000 names” (Joseph, 2005). At the highest point of its success, the FSB held assets that mounted up to $3.7 million. What is Freedman’s Savings Bank? African American
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The study would aim at answering these research questions: What traditions and institutions were destroyed by the conflict? How did freed slaves react to their new status after the civil war? How successful was the North in changing Southern society during Reconstruction? Why was Northern interest in Southern reconstruction waning?
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US History From 1865 - 1929
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