History of banks and social movements

Wilkins also emphasized the economic risks of having debt like Mississippi. Racial subordination of nearly half of the state’s population, he wrote, constituted “infinite economic weight that, apart from moral issues, would reduce the financial attractiveness of state securities.” Wilkins says that by excluding black Mississippian culture from economic opportunities, the state will protect welfare, police, and bondholder investment more in other areas that may be used to promote economic growth. Suggested that you need to spend your money.

Behind these statements, shift large capital holders who played a key role in the municipal bond market, move investment banks, commercial banks, pension funds and insurance companies to block capital investment from Jim Crow South. There was a strategy to support the campaign to try.

Therefore, in front of Donald Burns, Executive Vice President of Childs Securities, I wrote a letter When Governor George Wallace questioned Alabama’s creditworthiness in 1965, civil rights activists sought to use financial power to support the movement. Childs Securities’ decision to boycott Alabama came after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. called on the state to boycott, and after port workers along the west coast refused to handle Alabama products. I did.

There are two lessons. First, social movements were needed to encourage banks to sell from the South. Business was not the central agent of change in the fight for racial, economic and social justice, but in some cases it was an effective tool.

The second lesson is that companies that joined the cause, such as Moody’s analysts who stated in 1965 that they were “not sympathetic to the civil rights movement,” opposed their peers. Childs securities lenders have decided to oppose the NAACP and Alabama, but also their syndicate partners. Many disagreed with the “unexpected and immature” decision of a Boston banker to publicly declare and act. Opposition to Alabama’s actions. Childs Securities fought in many ways, including within the sector, which prioritizes profits over social issues.

These efforts share a thread in common with modern social movements. In April, more than 140 racial justice leaders Issue an open letter It called on large asset managers to use shareholder voting rights to promote racial equality.

“You share the unique power to shape corporate behavior and change normal business practices that support white supremacy at the foundation of our economy,” they write.

History of banks and social movements

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