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Emma Chappell

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Information about Emma Chappell

Profile image of Emma Chappell

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Banker

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
San Diego, California
Favorite Quote:
Believe in yourself.

Birthplace

Born:
2/18/1941
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Banker

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
San Diego, California
Favorite Quote:
Believe in yourself.

Birthplace

Born:
2/18/1941
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Emma Chappell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

A trailblazer in African American commerce, Emma Chappell, née Bayton, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 18, 1941. It was at age 16 that she first became interested in banking when her pastor and civil rights activist, Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, noted her mathematical abilities and encouraged her to pursue a career in banking. So, in 1959, she started as a bank clerk right out of high school.

However, Chappell set her ambitions higher than the clerk level. She went to night school for five years at Temple University, graduating in 1967. After graduation, the bank placed her in its executive training program, which she finished in 1971. By 1977, she had become Continental Bank's first African American Vice President. She was the first female Vice President of a major bank in all of Pennsylvania. In charge of the Community Business Loan and Development Department for loans to minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, she used her position to assist in the development of Philadelphia's black community. During this time, she also organized the Model Cities Business and Commercial Project, now Philadelphia Commercial Development Project, to revitalize commerce in the inner city. Chappell returned to school in 1982 and earned a masters degree from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.

Throughout her career, Chappell has maintained an interest in socio-political movements, serving as Chairperson on the Operation PUSH Board and as a founding Vice President of the National Rainbow Coalition. In 1984, Chappell took a leave from Continental Bank to serve as National Treasurer for Reverend Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential campaign.

In 1987, a group of prominent black Philadelphians approached Chappell about the possibility of starting a black controlled bank, slating her as the potential leader. They contributed $600,000 to the venture and Chappell was left to solicit the remaining capital. The stock market crash of October 1987 stalled her efforts. Undeterred, Chappell sold stock for ten dollars a share in blocks of 50, raising over 6 million in capital. Commanding overwhelming community support from black churches and small investors, the United Bank of Philadelphia opened for business on March 23, 1992 with Chappell as CEO. In 1999, in recognition of its unprecedented growth, the United Bank received the coveted Blue Chip Enterprises Award, sponsored by Mass Mutual and the US Chamber of Commerce. Chapell left in 2000, but United Bank of Philadelphia remains a force in black banking, reflecting her tireless commitment to community empowerment and advocacy.

At the time of the interview, Chapell currently served as Director of the Rainbow Push Wall Street Project, a non-profit corporation that works to build bridges between large and small businesses.

Emma Chappel was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 16, 2001.

See how Emma Chappell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating for Emma Chappell
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emma Chappell's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emma Chappell talks about her father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emma Chappell talks about her mother and the need to research her family tree
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emma Chappell identifies her siblings and family name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emma Chappell shares early memories of Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emma Chappell recalls how her mother's illness and early death affected the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Emma Chappell describes herself as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Emma Chappell remembers Leon Sullivan and other mentors during her youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Emma Chappell reflects on high school and her start in banking
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emma Chappell talks about her start in banking in the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emma Chappell describes gender discrimination in her first banking job
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emma Chappell examines the role of race in her early banking career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emma Chappell recalls learning about the monetary system while working in a bank treasurer's office
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emma Chappell recounts white male co-workers opposition to her advancement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Emma Chappell traces various positions held at Continental Bank
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Emma Chappell talks about a new lending department she created as a response to redlining
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Emma Chappell discusses her transition into community economic development
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emma Chappell talks about working for Operation PUSH
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emma Chappell discusses working for Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emma Chappell talks about working with the Rainbow Coalition
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emma Chappell discusses creating a black-owned bank in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emma Chappell talks about Leon Sullivan and the origins of the Sullivan principles
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emma Chappell reflects on United Bank in Philadelphia's accomplishments
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emma Chappell discusses Rainbow/PUSH's Wall Street Project
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emma Chappell reflects on economics in the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emma Chappell compares and contrasts Jesse Jackson and Leon Sullivan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emma Chappell encourages black women entrepreneurs and shares her concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Emma Chappell comments on federal funding for faith-based charities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emma Chappell discusses the power of prayer and the black church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Emma Chappell reflects on how her parents would view her success
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Emma Chappell speaks about her legacy