Repost of JP Morgan Chase shareholder meeting on Slavery - 5.15.2007.1
This is a repost from http://www.blackentertainmentblog.com/2007/05/jp-morgan-chase-sharholders-vote-on.html
It’s amazing what a couple of years will bring. The public and investors alike are quick to forget so many items in this world of instant news, viral videos, Youtube and 24/7 cable network news. So many items are glanced over, missed, or forgotten in the attempt to get to the next thing that the impact of what’s happening rarely touches us. But some of those items come back and the impact continues to reverberate.
One such case is on subjects that I have discussed often in various posts in my Vass and Black Entertainment USA blogs. Reparations and apologies for slavery in America. The various posts [What Georgia House Speaker Richardson should apologize for - 3.9.2007.1, The surprise about broadcast television - 3.14.2007.2, ect.] reflect my views, and I think the views of many – whether Black Americans, Latino/Hispanic, White or purple for that matter. Many believe that the wounds inflicted to create this nation cannot ever heal if we ignore and hide from the past. Those wounds affect this nation to this day, whether it pops to the surface as the Rodney King riots, the Civil Rights Movement, the murders of Sean Bell and others, or the comments by Mr. Don Imus and other radio DJ’s.
Today the conversation of Reparations and apology took another step forward at JP Morgan Chase. Actually what happened today started in 2005, as a result of actions from 1831 – 1865, so I will recap that information. On January 20, 2005 JP Morgan issued an apology, in compliance with Chicago ordinances requiring the disclosure of slave ownership, for their predecessor banks from the abovementioned time period where slaves were taken as collateral on loans. The predecessor banks, Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana, did take ownership of 1250 slaves.
A memo on this was released by ten-Chairman William Harrison and then-President James Dimon,
“We apologize to the American public, and particularly to African-Americans, for the role that Citizens Bank and Canal Bank played during that period," said the company on its website. "Although we cannot change the past, we are committed to learning from and emerging stronger because of it.”
In addition to the apology, JP Morgan created a $5 million scholarship for African Americans in Louisiana.
This commendable act by JP Morgan Chase should be the end of that story. It also should have been the motivation for other companies and states. Sadly this was not the case as lawmakers like Frank Hargrove, and Georgia House Speaker Richardson believe that no such action is either needed or justified. In addition it would seem that a portion of the shareholders at JP Morgan felt the same.
Deneen Borelli led a charge to have the apology, and the scholarship, rescinded in the 2007 Annual Sharholder meeting today. According to Deneen Borelli,
“It's absurd for someone to apologize for the transgressions of others committed hundreds of years ago. Slavery was an abomination and blemish on our Nation's history. JPMorgan Chase's apology for slavery, along with a $5 million donation for a scholarship fund, are the fruits of a shakedown. It is the looting of shareholder assets and sets a terrible precedent.”
Continued in Part 2...