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Dr. William Finlayson

Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. William Edward Finlayson was born on September 1, 1924 in Manatee, Florida. Finlayson served as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1943 through 1946 and served in the Army Reserves from 1946 to 1953. He received his B.S. degree from Morehouse College in 1948 and his M.D. from Meharry Medical College in 1953. Finlayson completed his residency at the University of Minnesota in 1958.

After his residency ended, Finlayson established his own private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1958. He continued to practice medicine for nearly the next forty years (from 1958 to 1997). Finlayson also held two fellowships: one at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist in 1963 and the other at the American College of Surgeons in 1964. He also taught at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Medical School.

In 1971, Finlayson founded the first black-owned bank in Milwaukee: North Milwaukee State Bank. He also serves on the board of directors and is the bank’s chairman. In founding the bank, Finlayson’s mission was not profit based. Rather, he intended to add stature and viability to underserved communities by offering full-service banking to individuals and businesses. North Milwaukee State Bank’s mission is to facilitate community development and economic growth, personal and business advancement, home ownership growth, and financial education.

Finlayson is a member of the Milwaukee Medical Society and a house delegate to the Wisconsin Medical Society. He is a past president of the Milwaukee Gynecological Society and serves on the board of directors of the Southeastern Wisconsin Health System Agency. Finlayson is also a former president of his local YMCA board. He is a member of the Urban League and a lifetime member of the NAACP.

Finlayson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/18/2008

Last Name

Finlayson

Maker Category
Schools

Jones High School

Campbell Street High School

Booker T. Washington High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Morehouse College

Meharry Medical College

University of Minnesota Medical School

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Manatee

HM ID

FIN02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

9/1/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Bank chairman and obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. William Finlayson (1924 - ) established his own private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1958, going on to found the first black-owned bank in Milwaukee, North Milwaukee State Bank.

Employment

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

Wheaton Franciscan St. Joseph Campus

Mt. Sinai Hospital

Medical College of Wisconsin

University of School of Medicine and Public Health

North Milwaukee State Banks

Favorite Color

Brown

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. William Finlayson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. William Finlayson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about his parents' marriage, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about his parents' marriage, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. William Finlayson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his neighborhood in Orlando, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. William Finlayson describes the sights and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about his early involvement in the Baptist church

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers moving to Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls his acquaintance with Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers Eleanor Roosevelt's relationship with the black community

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about his early experiences of segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls his early academic success

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls his enrollment at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers enlisting in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls teaching literacy classes in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls serving in Hawaii as a U.S. Army officer

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his experiences at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers studying accounting under Jesse B. Blayton Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers Benjamin Mays

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his experiences at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers working on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls the importance of historically black medical schools

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about his mentors at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his obstetric board examinations

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls his start as a gynecologist

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. William Finlayson describes the changes in birthing practices

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about the gynecological health problems in the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers the HIV/AIDS epidemic

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about the health problems in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls his experiences of discrimination as a physician

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. William Finlayson remembers the housing discrimination in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. William Finlayson recalls the founding of the North Milwaukee State Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about the North Milwaukee State Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. William Finlayson reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his involvement with the W.E.B. Du Bois Club

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about the financial crisis of 2008

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about 'The Souls of Black Folk' by W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. William Finlayson describes his visit to Ghana with Reverend Leon Sullivan

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. William Finlayson describes the participants in the W.E.B. Du Bois Club

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. William Finlayson talks about his organizational affiliations

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. William Finlayson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. William Finlayson shares his advice to aspiring doctors and bankers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. William Finlayson describes how he would like to be remembered

Deborah Wright

Bank chairman Deborah C. Wright was born in 1958, in Bennetsville, South Carolina to Harry C. Wright. Wright received her B.A. degree from Radcliffe College and earned a joint M.B.A and J.D. degree from Harvard University’s School of Business and School of Law.

After college, Wright worked as an associate in corporate finance at First Boston Bank. Finding the position unsatisfying, Wright left the bank in 1987 to take a position as the director of marketing for a building project in Harlem for The New York City Partnership, a business advocacy group in New York that promotes affordable-home ownership. In 1992, New York City Mayor David Dinkins appointed Wright to the New York City Housing Authority Board. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani promoted her Commissioner for Housing Preservation and Development in 1994. From 1996 through 1999, Wright served as the director for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, a post that would give her tremendous experience in bringing together community, civic, and private-sector interests to revitalize blighted urban areas. In 1999, Wright was named chief executive officer of Carver Bancorp, the parent company of Carver Federal Savings Bank and the largest African American-owned financial institution in the United States. Wright was chosen for her talents in coalition-building among business, government, and community leaders. Wright immediately began a successful program to revitalize Carver's balance sheet and made it a key player in the rising economic fortunes of Harlem. In 2005, Wright was named chairman of Carver Federal Savings Bank.

Wright is a member of the board of directors of Time Warner and Kraft Foods. She is a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Wright was honored as "Community Banker of the Year" in 2003 by The American Banker, the financial industry's daily newspaper. She is also involved in the missionary activities of the American Baptist Churches.

Accession Number

A2008.128

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/7/2008

Last Name

Wright

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Schools

Bennettsville Intermediate School

Murchison School

Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary School

William Hawley Atwell Law Academy

David W. Carter High School

Radcliffe College

Harvard Business School

Harvard Law School

First Name

Deborah

Birth City, State, Country

Bennetsville

HM ID

WRI05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Is That Right?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/30/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Indian (Chicken And Rice)

Short Description

Bank chairman Deborah Wright (1958 - ) was chief executive officer of Carver Bancorp and chairman of Carver Federal Savings Bank. She also served as New York City's Commissioner for Housing Preservation and Development, and as director of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation.

Employment

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Elliot House- Harvard University

Davis Polk and Wardwell

Chase Manhattan Bank

Dallas Legal Services Foundation, Inc.

First Boston Corporation

Partnership for New York City

New York City Planning Commission

New York City Housing Authority

Cabinet of the Mayor of New York

Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation

Carver Bancorp, Inc.

Favorite Color

Salmon

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Deborah Wright's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright talks about segregation in Bennettsville, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright talks about her relationships with her paternal relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright talks about her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright recalls her transition to the all-white Murchison School in Bennettsville, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright talks about her mother's experiences as a minister's wife, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Deborah Wright talks about her mother's experiences as a minister's wife, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Deborah Wright describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Deborah Wright describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright describes her community in Bennettsville, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright talks about her father's career as a pastor

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright talks about the Murchison School in Bennettsville, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright remembers her family's move to Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Deborah Wright remembers organizing a walk out after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Deborah Wright recalls her experiences of school desegregation in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright remembers the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright recalls her father's role in the desegregation of the Murchison School in Bennettsville, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright talks about her experiences of school desegregation in South Carolina and Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright describes the demographics of the Oak Cliff community in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright remembers her social activities at David W. Carter High School in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright describes the effects of school desegregation in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright talks about her early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright remembers her college applications

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Deborah Wright remembers her decision to attend Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Deborah Wright recalls her introduction to racial discrimination in the North

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright describes the support from her paternal aunt, Marian Wright Edelman

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright talks about her transition to Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright talks about the black lunch table at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright remembers meeting Strauss Zelnick

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright talks about the black experience at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright remembers her social activities at Radcliffe College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright recalls the impact of attending Radcliffe College on her home life in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright remembers her siblings' college graduations

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Deborah Wright recalls how she came to study at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright describes her influences at the Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright remembers the mentorship of Professor Malcolm S. Salter

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright recalls her challenges at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright describes her summer internship during her time at the Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright talks about her experiences as an African American woman at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright remembers her transition from law to investment banking

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright recalls her initial struggles with investment banking

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright remembers how she came to join the Partnership for New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Deborah Wright describes her role at the Partnership for New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright describes the Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Program

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright recalls her appointment to the New York City Planning Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright describes her work at the New York City Housing Authority, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright describes her work at the New York City Housing Authority, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright remembers the scandals surrounding her predecessor at the New York City Housing Authority

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright describes her role at the New York City Housing Authority

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright recalls her appointment as the deputy housing commissioner of New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright reflects upon her achievements in the housing sector

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Deborah Wright remembers working for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright recalls the resistance of New York City's Legal Aid Society

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright remembers her support from New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright remembers joining the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright talks about the redevelopment of New York City's Harlem neighborhood, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright talks about the redevelopment of New York City's Harlem neighborhood, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright remembers negotiating with the community in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright remembers the financial problems at Carver Bancorp, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright recalls her transition to Carver Bancorp, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright describes her strategy as the CEO of Carver Bancorp, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Deborah Wright remembers appointing a new board at Carver Bancorp, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Deborah Wright describes the new direction of Carver Bancorp, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Deborah Wright talks about the role of Carver Bancorp, Inc. in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Deborah Wright talks about Robert L. Johnson's strategy for black banking

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Deborah Wright remembers adopting her daughter

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Deborah Wright reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Deborah Wright describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Deborah Wright reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Deborah Wright talks about the importance of institutions in the African American community

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

9$9

DATitle
Deborah Wright remembers her decision to attend Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Deborah Wright describes her role at the Partnership for New York City
Transcript
Then the real drama began because my father [Harry S. Wright, Sr.] really was putting his foot down about me going to Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia] and I jokingly said in one interview that I knew he was desperate when he offered to get a, get me a car (laughter) if I, if I stayed in Texas or went to Spelman. So and, so this kind of ratcheted up to a little bit of a confrontation. So finally he said, "You know, the whole family is gonna be eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to send you to Radcliffe [Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts]." So my mother [Joan Bell Wright] was in that, in the room in that discussion. So I went to my room and I remember her coming in and closing the door and she said, "Okay, what do you wanna do here? Do you really wanna go to Radcliffe?" And I said, "Yeah, I really, I really do." She said, "You're sure?" I said, "I'm sure." She said, "Okay. You're going. And we're not gonna be eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so, not to worry. I'm gonna take care of this." So she left and so she called my dad's mother [Maggie Bowen Wright] (laughter). And so it was sort of like, he said what? You know, so his mother called my Aunt Marian [Wright's paternal aunt, HistoryMaker Marian Wright Edelman] and so all of a sudden he is Attila the Hun because all the women of the family are calling in saying, "She's going to Radcliffe. What are you thinking?" Right. And so anyway it was done. The, the ladies took care of business. And it took a while for us to talk about that but it wasn't until I'd say two or three months into the Radcliffe experience that I, that I understood where he was coming from. And he was really afraid of his baby going off to an experience that he knew was not gonna be full of what I expected. I thought that I was gonna be breaking free from the low expectations of the South, and that for the first time I was gonna just be a smart kid and I could just focus on learning, no drama, no low expectation, just be there with the other kids who were smart kids and not having to either pretend you're not as smart as you are or the racial climate and all of that. And, you know, it, the truth is, there's a different kind of racism in the North but it's still very much present. And he thought that that would be a heartbreaking experience and he thought he was gonna break me from that but the reality is, you know, you do have to left your--let your kids learn these lessons on their own, on their, on their own.$Now, had you saved money that you could take that pay cut so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.$$--you, 'cause you're making, you were making a lot of money?$$And not spending it really. And I moved back home, my parents [Joan Bell Wright and Harry S. Wright, Sr.] were living in Brooklyn [New York] at that time, so I let my apartment go 'cause that was the biggest expense I had. And I had banked my bonuses and all of that. And so I felt, listen, I was so miserable it didn't matter what I got paid. And they were embarrassed to, but it was, the job they had was to go to Harlem and put together a sales office for a development called Towers on the Park [New York, New York] which was the first major development done in Harlem in over thirty years. And so the irony was all this insecurity I felt about, you know, computers and calculators and everything so what did I have to do? My boss sent me up there and here's your budget, hire a sales team, get the computers, bought a, you know, the HP 12Cs. I had to teach everybody 'cause it's not like anybody, the sales team was from the community, I was, you know, the one negotiating the deal with the banks that were doing the in loans for the homebuyers. So here I was, it was finance but in a completely different context. And so over, over time I kind of licked my wounds and it was, once I was in something that I really loved, I came to the epiphany that I did really love finance, I just didn't love it in the context that I was in. And it was ironically that experience was where I met the then president of Carver Federal Savings Bank [Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association, New York, New York], Mr. Greene [Richard T. Greene, Sr.]. I met all of the political leaders and the people who would ultimately be very important in my career. And I think the best touche moment was when the development was finished and we had to bring the, you know, the important people by to see it, I got to escort David Rockefeller through the building which, you know, if I had stayed at First Boston [First Boston Corporation, New York, New York] the rest of my life I would have never met him and there are many other people. So, you know, my mother had this phrase, "What's for you, is for you," and she said that very frequently. And it was really about you ultimately have to figure out what makes you tick and get there and that takes time.$$Now, you said you did that a year, just--$$Three years.$$Three years (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.$$I was gonna say--$$Yeah, three years.$$Okay. I was gonna, so you're--$$So this is 1990--$$Right.$$--when I'm ending up at the partnership [Partnership for New York City, New York, New York].$$Okay. So you're, and the partnership had been formed in what year?$$The mid-'70s [1970s].$$Mid-'70s [1970s].$$Um-hm.$$Okay. So and who had been the, who had, you said the founder had been--$$David Rockefeller (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) David Rockefeller.$$Um-hum.$$Now, who was head at the time that you--$$It was a woman by the name of Ellen Sulzberger [Ellen Sulzberger Straus] who became a mentor also. Her family was the family that owned The New York Times. And she was a wonderful woman. And I'll tell you some stories about her but she was classic, she was, actually I wanna say, real New York [New York] but she also, she and her husband [Peter Straus] were, were very politically involved and they had homes in Washington [D.C.] and in New York.

Charles Teamer, Sr.

Banker and civic leader Charles Teamer, Sr. was born on May 20, 1933 in Shelby, North Carolina to B.T. Teamer and Mary Teamer. He received his B.S. degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1954. He served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958, and later received his M.A. degree from the University of Nebraska and his Ph.D. degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Teamer worked in the office of the business manager at South Carolina State University in 1954. He then became assistant business manager at Tennessee State University in 1958; and, in 1962, Teamer was hired as business manager at Wiley College. In 1965, Teamer became vice president of finance at Dillard University and was promoted to chief financial officer in 1968. In 1983, he was appointed by Louisiana Governor David Treen as the first African American on the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. From 1985 to 1988, Teamer served as the national president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. In 1993, Teamer co-founded the Dryades Savings Bank and served as chairman. He later retired from Dillard University in 1997, and continued to work as a consultant to Clark Atlanta University. In 2001, Teamer led a partnership of investors in opening The Cotton Exchange and Holiday Inn Express Hotel in downtown New Orleans, and became president of the World Trade Center of New Orleans in 2003.

Former executive director of the Amistad Research Center and a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, Teamer has held numerous board appointments on the Board of Education of the United Methodist Church, the Ford Foundation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Common Fund, the National Association of Colleges and University Business Officers, the Ochsner Medical Foundation and the Audubon Institute. Teamer also served as board chair for the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Metropolitan Area Committee, Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the United Way. He was a member of the business and higher-education council for the University of New Orleans and served on the board of the Southern Education Foundation. Teamer was president of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers and vice president of fiscal affairs at Dillard University and Clark Atlanta University. He was a member of the board of supervisors for the University of Louisiana System and was on the board of administrators of Tulane University. Teamer was also the director of Entergy New Orleans.

Teamer was married for forty-seven years to the late Mary Dixon Teamer. They have three children: Charles, Jr., Roderic, Sr. and Cheryl. Teamer has six grandchildren.

Charles Teamer, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 28, 2008 and April 27, 2019.

Accession Number

A2008.061

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/28/2008

3/28/2008 |and| 4/27/2019

Last Name

Teamer

Maker Category
Schools

Clark Atlanta University

Cleveland School

Tulane University

J.C. Price High School

University of Nebraska-Omaha

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Shelby

HM ID

TEA01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Boule Foundation

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Golfing

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

5/20/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Banker and civic leader Charles Teamer, Sr. (1933 - ) served as chief financial officer at Dillard University for over thirty years and co-founded Dryades Savings Bank and served as chairman.

Employment

Texas Southern University

Wiley College

Dillard University

Dryades Savings Bank, F.S.B.

Tennessee State University

South Carolina State College

Clark Atlanta University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Gold

Timing Pairs
0,0:770,16:1694,54:2002,59:3311,133:6880,166:7280,171:14080,259:14580,265:21454,314:21718,319:25084,432:25678,442:27394,485:27790,492:28780,511:30364,548:31486,586:59486,843:69250,973:69775,981:70900,1000:71725,1015:82764,1137:86820,1176:98286,1291:99294,1306:99726,1313:115490,1550:116290,1563:116690,1569:119490,1613:131256,1781:136559,1841:137126,1849:137450,1854:150328,1983:151960,2017:152708,2026:154680,2059:164135,2198:164475,2207:165750,2234:170808,2280:171116,2285:171501,2291:172040,2300:172502,2308:172887,2314:185650,2513:186574,2523:191870,2565$0,0:666,25:5106,148:8325,248:9102,256:16612,380:17404,392:18052,402:20850,418:31900,558:32290,564:33772,584:42981,749:43366,755:46138,809:46754,824:49130,830:49922,850:52990,871:53234,876:53722,887:54027,893:54515,902:55491,927:58053,989:70904,1151:77600,1230:77900,1235:83300,1368:83825,1377:84650,1392:85325,1403:90800,1475:91625,1492:92375,1505:96141,1515:98066,1549:99914,1584:100530,1594:103240,1608:107676,1629:110050,1640:110809,1665:111430,1675:111706,1680:118544,1769:119156,1779:119904,1794:121128,1864:123100,1925:123576,1933:126228,2042:132098,2079:132616,2088:132912,2093:141570,2259:148960,2307:149404,2315:149996,2325:150884,2334:151180,2339:158194,2408:158579,2414:161428,2457:164592,2484:166209,2493:176400,2552:177048,2561:177615,2575:179559,2605:180288,2616:180936,2625:181260,2630:182811,2639:184116,2656:185508,2674:186030,2681:197495,2800:208290,2913:211060,2925:215000,2971
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Teamer, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Teamer, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Teamer, Sr. talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Teamer, Sr. talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls his induction into the Masonry

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers the Boy Scouts of America, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers the Boy Scouts of America, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes Salisbury, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls the Cleveland County Training School in Shelby, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls his early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers Joe Louis' boxing matches

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his early awareness of African American history

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers J.C. Price High School in Salisbury, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls the faculty of Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers the influence of communism

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls his teachers at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers his U.S. Army service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes interstate travel during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls a sit-in at the Hotel Marshall in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers Hobart S. Jarrett

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Teamer, Sr. talks about the influence of African American leaders

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Teamer, Sr. remembers moving to New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Teamer, Sr. talks about the Mardi Gras krewe of Rex

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls his introduction to corporate board service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls serving on the Boy Scouts of America council

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls working at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls founding the Dryades Savings Bank, F.S.B. in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls his work for Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes the impact of Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his role as grand sire of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes the role of Dryades Savings Bank, F.S.B. in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his hopes for New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls acquiring the Historic Cotton Exchange in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his work with the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles Teamer, Sr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Charles Teamer, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes his children

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Charles Teamer, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles Teamer, Sr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Charles Teamer, Sr. describes the role of Dryades Savings Bank, F.S.B. in New Orleans, Louisiana
Charles Teamer, Sr. recalls acquiring the Historic Cotton Exchange in New Orleans, Louisiana
Transcript
Fast forwarding back to New Orleans [Louisiana] as we talk about the bank [Dryades Savings Bank, F.S.B., New Orleans, Louisiana] and where we're going, a part of the role that I see is that the p- the percentage of people in the community who are underserved still remain. They're unbanked. And especially as we talk about rebuilding the community, you've been here for several days now and you've driven through the city and you recognize that you can be in a--what we would call a pretty good neighborhood, you're on one street, it seems to be growing and prospering, you go on the next street it's like, is this the same neighborhood? The patterns are so unpredictable. Let me give you an example. As I told you my wife [Mary Dixon Teamer] passed away in 2004. The storm [Hurricane Katrina] occurred in 2005. I had not completed the succession of the estate when, when the storm occurred. If something had happened to me, my children would've been in a terrible problem because the estate would still be open and the question would be who actually owns the property. If you transform that to people who are less informed you find incident after incident where the title to the property is unclear. New Orleans is a very old city. Its traditions are very old, so you might have generations of people living in the same house and they do not know where the title is. In the 9th Ward [New Orleans, Louisiana], for example, I'm told, that there's home after home in which the mortgages had been paid, the people have been there for years, there was no flood insurance. So flood insurance is mandatory when you have a mortgage, well if you don't have a mortgage you have no flood insurance and obviously then you're not gonna have any wind in- wind storm insurance. So consequently, the problems of redeveloping these properties becomes even more severe. What we are doing looking for innovative ways to serve the people in our community to, to, to, to come up with new products, but maybe more than new products just to be available to work and talk with the people in our community on a one-to-one basis. While everybody wants to use the Internet and the computer, the challenge is that the people who really need the services probably are not computer savvy. So that means that the cost of doing business is a little more expensive for hands on, but that's the only way we're gonna do it. And so what we're trying to do is create a way to do what needs to be done in our community while at the same time being a profitable and viable institution.$Tell me about the Cotton Exchange [Historic Cotton Exchange, New Orleans, Louisiana] and the Holiday Inn Express, now you were--$$Happy to.$$Okay.$$When we developed the franchise, the bank [Dryades Savings Bank, F.S.B., New Orleans, Louisiana], I learned from actually our congressman, [HistoryMaker] William Jefferson, that there were opportunities available for us in terms of purchase of buildings that had housed banks by the RTC [Resolution Trust Corporation]. And through my relationships with people in the real estate business, I identified two or three properties of which this was one, this--that we would be interested in. One day somebody came and said to me, Charlie Teamer [HistoryMaker Charles Teamer, Sr.] there's some--there's a white group interested in your building, so to speak. So I decided that I would make an inquiry. I went to my bank, the bank that I was doing business with and talked with the people there and said I'm interested in purchasing the Cotton Exchange. No, I said I need a half million dollars. They in turn said, "What are you gonna do?" I said, "I'm gonna put a bid on the Cotton Exchange building." Because of my experience with them and having been a customer for a long time, they realized that the Cotton Exchange building was worth more than I was gonna pay for it. So they said, "We'll cover you." So I led a group of investors. We bought the building that we're in for considerably less than $500,000, eight story building, it was empty at the time. We purchased the building, moved the bank into the building, leased the first two floors to the bank for ninety-nine years, and decided that we would do something else with floors three through eight. We tried a number of things. We wanted to, to develop something like the Equal Opportunity [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] building in New York [New York], you know, where the United--where the Negro College Fund [United Negro College Fund] and Urban League [National Urban League] and all--but we weren't able to do that. So the first couple of years, three or four years, the third through the eighth floor was vacant. And then one day one of my acquaintances came in and said, you know, we are in the process of developing empty buildings, boutique hotels, and therefore, we'd like to develop a hotel in this building, floors three through eight. We created a partnership with three groups, our Cotton Exchange partners, one, which own this building to create a hotel. We sold floors one through two to our partnership, invested three through eight into a new partnership, bought the building next door and created a hotel, which we call the Cotton Exchange Hotel, it's a Holiday Inn franchise. So we are one-third owners of the hotel property that is next door. So therefore, we own these two floors and we're one-third owners of the building next door.$$Okay, okay.$$So we are substantial hoteliers in downtown New Orleans [Louisiana].

Milton Davis

Chicago banking pioneer Milton Davis is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of ShoreBank Corporation, the nation's first community development bank. It is the leading bank holding company committed to increasing economic opportunities for underserved urban and rural communities.

Davis was born to a father who was a school principal and a mother who was a teacher on January 10, 1932 in Jasper, Alabama. He graduated Morehouse College with a sociology degree in 1953 and came to Chicago in 1958 to attend the University of Chicago graduate school. While working at South Shore National Bank, he and three friends frequently met to discuss ideas for a community-oriented bank.

Their opportunity for bank ownership came when the South Shore bank attempted to move to the Loop to escape a changing neighborhood. South Shore residents protested the move and federal bank regulators denied it. The bank was put up for sale.

In 1973, Davis and his associates bought the bank with $800,000 in capital and a $2.4 million bank loan. They attracted depositors in those early days by personally visiting their homes. Within five years, they were able to reverse the neighborhood's decline. In 1995, ShoreBank merged with another bank holding company, becoming a half-billion dollar-plus financial institution.

Davis, who had been actively involved with integrating public schools and opening housing, retired in 2000. He had been a board member of CORE, the Chicago Community Trust, Columbia College, the Field Foundation of Illinois, and ETA for the Creative Arts.

Milton Davis passed away on February 14, 2005.

Accession Number

A2002.074

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/15/2002

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Middle Name

Oliver

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Morehouse College

Washington University in St Louis

University of Chicago

First Name

Milton

Birth City, State, Country

Jasper

HM ID

DAV06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Favorite Quote

We Can Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/10/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Death Date

2/14/2005

Short Description

Bank chairman Milton Davis (1932 - 2005 ) is the co-founder of South Shore Bank.

Employment

South Shore Bank

ShoreBank Corporation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7661,88:12907,130:16883,254:54920,728:62730,810:77410,949:78074,1001:89688,1132:101528,1225:101832,1230:108690,1306:110472,1393:110934,1401:117102,1460:117487,1466:127262,1575:133400,1673:156077,1908:163804,2020:182158,2204:190586,2263:198428,2406:201156,2439:215170,2635:232070,2816:239086,2899:239680,2906:247320,3003$0,0:4100,91:8945,186:9455,193:16280,268:19290,313:27546,476:39113,620:39568,626:47662,716:48159,725:48585,733:53060,769:76850,1028:111646,1347:141146,1786:143333,1822:146735,1883:152162,2073:152972,2094:164732,2271:165092,2277:185624,2537:190070,2621:196192,2679:201322,2741:206314,2795:210638,2862:213928,2920:215056,2973:223364,3035:227148,3106:228008,3118:228352,3123:235086,3158:247212,3401:247642,3407:255580,3493:261390,3559:264315,3624:275508,3705:280725,3789:292410,3978
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Milton Davis narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Milton Davis narrates his photographs, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Milton Davis' interview

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Milton Davis lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Milton Davis talks about his father and mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Milton Davis talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Milton Davis describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Milton Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Milton Davis describes his neighborhood and his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Milton Davis describes his awareness of educational inequality as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Milton Davis talks about his favorite subject, reading

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Milton Davis talks about his grandparents' influence on him

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Milton Davis describes influential people in his life including Lueada Meadows Smith, a local librarian

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Milton Davis talks about his grade school years

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Milton Davis describes his decision to attend Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Milton Davis talks about his experience at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Milton Davis talks about Benjamin Mays, whom he admired

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Milton Davis talks about those he remembers from Morehouse College including Benjamin Mays and Jim Webb

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Milton Davis reflects on his decision to join CORE

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Milton Davis talks about his activities in CORE

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Milton Davis talks about why he decided to major in sociology

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Milton Davis describes his experiences at Washington University in St. Louis and Northwestern University where he first met Ron Grzywinski

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Milton Davis describes Chicago in the late 1950s as a resident of the Woodlawn area

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Milton Davis talks about the beginning of South Shore Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Milton Davis talks about raising money to purchase South Shore Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Milton Davis talks about buying the charter for South Shore bank

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Milton Davis describes creating a model for development banking

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Milton Davis describes winning the community's trust

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Milton Davis talks about Bill Clinton's support and legislation for community development banks

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Milton Davis describes how banks became invested in community development

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Milton Davis talks about the supporters of South Shore Bank

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Milton Davis describes the impact of development deposits at South Shore Bank

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Milton Davis talks about the South Shore Bank Neighborhood Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Milton Davis describes how South Shore Bank broke precedent by financing the properties of African Americans in low-income communities

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Milton Davis talks about the community development model across the nation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Milton Davis talks about South Shore Bank's venture capital firm

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Milton Davis talks about the founders of South Shore Bank, Ron Grzywinski, Mary Houghton, and James Fletcher

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Milton Davis talks about factors stimulating the growth of South Shore Bank

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Milton Davis describes his community involvement and his work with ETA Creative Arts

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Milton Davis reflects on his career

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Milton Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Milton Davis shares his advice for today's youth

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Milton Davis talks about his parents' deaths

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Milton Davis talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Milton Davis reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Milton Davis reflects on his decision to join CORE
Milton Davis describes winning the community's trust
Transcript
Wasn't there growing activism on the campus at the time that you were there?$$It was in fact that, yes. Cause we--you know I was arrested once in Richard's Department Store for drinking out of the white water fountain. Because my brother--I always did what my brother told me, 'cause he went to Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia] also and he had--one day we were downtown and going through Richards. And he said let's try this white water. So we went over to this water fountain, it was just the same water fountain, but on different sides of the elevator. And one with a big white sign over it and the other with a big colored, colored sign over it. And he said let's try this white water. And no sooner than he said that, this big, burly guard in Richard's had his hand on our shoulders saying you can't drink out of there. You can't drink that water. And I said no, not again. Cause I, I had thought Atlanta [Georgia] would be above that kind--I had really come to believe that--I was really liberated. And even though, you know, it was a highly segregated town of course, but that brought it all back home to me. That this job was still not done. And that's when I--that's when I became very active, even more active I should say.$$Okay and can you talk about some of your activities?$$Well that was about the time that SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] was getting started. And so--and there was a big discussion on campus about whether you wanted--whether we could be active or not. And a lot of--a big split between those, the student body and those who were pushing for more strident activities, and then those who wanted to, to be quiet about it all. But I think I, you know it was actually--that was where the whole thing became ingrained in me that I, I really would have to fight this thing for the rest of my life if necessary. And of course in Atlanta, I had much more support, you know, for an anti, anti-segregation stance than I ever had when I was growing up in high school. And so just a group of us became very, very active and began to--as we used to say stand Atlanta on its head. And of course [Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.]'s legacy was a big thing down there at the time. And so we just, you know we would put together different groups and go do our thing.$$Now what's the--were you part of the SNCC [unclear]? You know SNCC did--$$I was not that involved in SNCC. I was--I became active in CORE [Congress of Racial Equality].$$Okay I was wondering if you were involved in SNCC or CORE.$$No, I went directly into CORE.$$Now why, why did you choose CORE?$$I think that's because of some [unclear] that I knew who were involved in it. And was saying that this is the way you should go. And so it was just sort of started to do it. And I mean I don't think we ever--that I ever sat and thought about it at any great length to try and decide what I should do. In those days it was sort of whatever was happening, they just jumped into it.$And what do you think were important building blocks that you put in place that, you know, that it started getting itself together in those three year periods. Were there some critical things that you--$$Well one of the things that we say to date, we began to have a series of community meetings where we didn't send out, you know, anybody. It was Ron [Grzywinski] and myself going to different block club meetings and to other meetings in the neighborhood saying, "This is what the bank intends to do." And so it was the top two guys in the bank saying it's gonna happen. And so it--people could believe it. And I think that became crucial to, to the neighborhood really believing that we were going to, to do this and make it happen. And then we got--of course getting the foundations and churches and individuals who had put up the equity for us to start the bank, I think was an important building block. Because once the Ford Foundation and several others gave us their stamp of approval by saying, "We'll put a lot money into the equity end of this place," it began to build faith from a number of--among others that they we really knew what we were doing.$$And did you find--how long was this--well how long was the, the period of time before you saw some signs of things turning around? Because the community had been--at the time that this, this--you've got the license or the approval to do it, did you--was the community was in a, in a position of sort of rapid change.$$Right, it was still in the process of change, right. It was a year after we got approval on the charter before I say we really began to see that there was some firm evidence of a turnaround in the institution. So it wouldn't have been until '72 [1972] that we began to see that.$$And what were your, what were your, your goals at that time besides you know generally increasing--improve the community? You were almost serving--it was almost as if the work--let me just sort of look at this. The work that you had done, you know, at the University of Chicago--I mean no, you were working there at the time. But were you working--the work that you were doing at the University of Chicago, what area did you say you were working in?$$It was the stock market.$$Stock market.$$The stock market study at the university.$$I see, okay.$$So it had nothing to do with banking.$$It had nothing to do with banking. But it almost seems as if you were using this bank and the community as one sort of one huge experiment, sort of.$$Well that's one way to look at it I guess. Because--because they had failed. Right, one would have said, would have said it was a failed experiment because nobody else had done it. But we knew we couldn't fail and we didn't intend to.$$And so what were the things that you felt important building blocks, and how did you sort of prioritize, you know what to take on and what to do, you know with this?$$Well we set up from day one when we went in the bank that no, no--and (unclear) of the officers in that bank could turn down a loan. If somebody came in, especially an African American came in for some credit and if those were, you know regular bankers and they had been doing this for a long time. And we said, "If you feel it's a good credit, go ahead and do it. But if you wanna say no, then you've gotta let Ron [Grzywinski] or I"--one would have to buy off on that. And I think that prevent--that helped us to build confidence on the part of the community and the people who were coming in to us that we really were serious about what we want to do. You know this bank has a reputation that it will do loans that the other banks turn awa- turn down. And, so that confidence building on the part of the neighborhood I think was an important part of building, building up that confidence in the bank and getting people to believe that we really were going to--that we were there for the long haul and we're gonna do what we said we were going to do.

Jacoby Dickens

An innovative and successful entrepreneur, Jacoby Dickens was born in Panama City, Florida, in 1931. Though Jacoby's father had to leave school at an early age to work on the family farm, he emphasized the importance of education. Early in his childhood, Dickens' family moved to Chicago's South Side, where he attended school.

After graduation from Wendell Phillips High School, Dickens went into business as a real estate developer in the same South Side neighborhoods where he was raised. There he was able to purchase, renovate and lease apartment buildings in key areas of the city during the peak of the Northern Migration. At the height of this enterprise, Dickens managed more than 100 apartments. By the time he sold his real estate holdings in 1971, Dickens had acquired enough capital to purchase several bowling alleys in Chicago. While running two bowling alleys, Dickens was invited to join the board of Seaway National Bank, one of the largest African American-owned financial institutions in the country. Dickens joined Seaway National in 1979 as vice chairman and became chairman in 1983.

As chairman, Dickens created firm ties between Seaway and its surrounding community. Dickens believes the bank shares responsibility for the financial health of the community, an urban neighborhood of moderate and low-income residents. As such, the institution has tailored itself to fit the economic circumstances of its surrounding neighborhoods, promoting the growth of new businesses through loans, outreach and community development programs.

Dickens has distinguished himself as much for his philanthropic efforts as for his entrepreneurial successes. In addition to the community outreach programs developed through Seaway, Dickens has designed a loan and scholarship program at DePaul University named in his honor. As a director of Chicago State University, Dickens has donated more than $1 million to the institution. On December 7, 1995, the Chicago State University Physical Education and Athletics Building was renamed the Jacoby D. Dickens Physical Education and Athletics Center in honor of the esteemed benefactor.

Jacoby Dickens passed away on April 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A1999.004

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

12/15/1999 |and| 7/29/2002

Last Name

Dickens

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Jacoby

Birth City, State, Country

Panama City

HM ID

DIC01

Favorite Season

January, February in Florida

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fisher Island, Florida

Favorite Quote

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing on time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/19/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Sweet Potatoes

Death Date

4/14/2013

Short Description

Bank chairman and entrepreneur Jacoby Dickens (1931 - 2013 ) went into business as a real estate developer on Chicago's South Side upon graduating high school. By 1971 Dickens was able to purchase two bowling alleys and was later asked to join the board of directors at Seaway National Bank. Dickens used his position at the bank to stabilize the financial health of moderate and low-income residents.

Employment

Seaway National Bank

Favorite Color

Dark Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jacoby Dickens Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jacoby Dickens's Favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jacoby Dickens characterizes his childhood home in the Florida panhandle

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jacoby Dickens remembers his father and grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jacoby Dickens describes growing up with five sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jacoby Dickens recalls an inspiring grade school teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jacoby Dickens recalls his family's advice that blacks "had to be twice as good" to succeed

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jacoby Dickens discusses the role of church, school and black business in his segregated childhood community

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jacoby Dickens describes his ancestors' life as sharecroppers

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jacoby Dickens compares his strong family bonds with families today

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jacoby Dickens describes his initial reactions to his new home, Chicago, Ill.

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jacoby Dickens remembers his jobs as a teenager

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jacoby Dickens remembers Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jacoby Dickens describes his adolescence in Chicago in the late 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jacoby Dickens's thirty year pursuit of education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jacoby Dickens discusses his real estate and bowling alley investments

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jacoby Dickens begins to save and invest after a lesson from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jacoby Dickens discusses his entrepreneurship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jacoby Dickens considers Chicago's history of successful black businesses

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jacoby Dickens buys into Seaway National Bank (Chicago, Ill.)

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jacoby Dickens describes his early work ethic

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jacoby Dickens makes a profit in the real estate industry

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jacoby Dickens discusses his bowling enterprises in the late 1960s-1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jacoby Dickens appreciates business mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jacoby Dickens recalls when he learned he was a millionaire

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jacoby Dickens builds a relationship with Seaway National Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jacoby Dickens discusses discrimination in commercial loans

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jacoby Dickens considers the diversity of his business investments

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jacoby Dickens talks about the success and community contribution of Seaway National Bank in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jacoby Dickens describes a partnership between Seaway National Bank [Chicago, Ill.] and the local black community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jacoby Dickens discusses banking and business in black neighborhoods

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jacoby Dickens reflects on the Civil Rights Movement, affirmative action and education

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jacoby Dickens contributes to Chicago State University [Chicago, Ill.]

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jacoby Dickens discusses his investment in two television stations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jacoby Dickens discusses his pursuit of an investment in a riverboat casino

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jacoby Dickens calls young black people to entrepreneurship

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jacoby Dickens discusses the benefits of mentorship

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jacoby Dickens considers the role of the church in black lives

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jacoby Dickens discusses political participation, term limits, ethics and Harold Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jacoby Dickens praises entrepreneur George Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jacoby Dickens describes businessman Dempsey J. Travis

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jacoby Dickens talks about his legacy and his foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Lucille after completing basic training

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses at six years old

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with army buddies and geisha in Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens greets the former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with WGN's [Chicago] Merri Dee

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens washes his first automobile

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with friends at a golf benefit

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with daughter and grand-daughter ay Skyway Bowl

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Dr. James Buckner at Chicago State University

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Mayor Harold Washington and Dr. Julianne Blewitt

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens makes a speech at an Operation PUSH event

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens meets with Governor Jim Edgar [Illinois]

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens receives an award from the Luster Foundation at their annual fundraising dinner

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Olympic track star Willye White

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with former Governor Jim Edgar [Illinois]

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Roland Burris, former Attorney General and Comptroller for the state of Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses at a fundraising event for Chicago State University's athletic program

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens talks with Leon Robinson, bus company owner, at a fundraising dinner

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens gives a speech on black business ownership at Operation PUSH

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens shakes hands with President Bill Clinton in Chicago [Ill.]

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Mrs. Luster of Luster Products at a foundation dinner

Tape: 6 Story: 22 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens meets Mrs. Bacon and President of Roosevelt University, Ted Gross

Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Photo - Private Jacoby Dickens (U.S. Army) poses in 1952

Tape: 6 Story: 24 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens meets with members of the Chicago State Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 25 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens toasts President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings

Tape: 6 Story: 26 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens greets President of Chicago State University, President George Ayers

Tape: 6 Story: 27 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens meets with Bishop Louis Henry Ford at the All Saints School opening [Lexington, Miss.]

Tape: 6 Story: 28 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with the President of Chicago State University, William Ayers, and Mayor Eugene Sawyer [Chicago. Ill.]

Tape: 6 Story: 29 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens greets a Chicago State University basketball player and Independence Bank president, Al Boutte.

Tape: 6 Story: 30 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Vice President Al Gore and Wanda Wright at a northside Chicago [Ill.] fundraiser

Tape: 6 Story: 31 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens gives an address at the Luster Products Black Heritage Foundation benefit

Tape: 6 Story: 32 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses in front of Seaway National Bank [Chicago, Ill.]

Tape: 6 Story: 33 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses at the 1998 Columbian Ball fundraiser

Tape: 6 Story: 34 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with family at McClendon family reunion

Tape: 6 Story: 35 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens poses with Senator Carol Moseley-Braun and Merri Dee, television personality

Tape: 6 Story: 36 - Photo - Jacoby Dickens and wife, Veranda, pose with Velma and John Wilson at an Urban League fundraiser