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C. Bernard Fulp

Bank executive C. Bernard Fulp was born on October 9, 1935 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Amanda Murray Fulp and Cyrus Fulp. Fulp graduated from Atkins High School in Winston-Salem in 1953, and received his B.S. degree in elementary education from Winston-Salem State University in 1957. Fulp then served in the U.S. Air Force until 1962, and went on to earn his M.A. degree in education from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut in 1963. He also completed a program in management development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration in 1978.

Fulp began his career in banking as a loan manager at the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company branch in Winston-Salem in 1964. He also worked at State Street Bank and Trust Company and Unity Bank and Trust Company before joining the New England Merchants National Bank in 1970, where he eventually worked his way up to the position of senior vice president. In this role, he was responsible for the bank’s emerging middle market group. When New England Merchants National Bank merged with The CBT Corporation in 1983, creating the Bank of New England – then the second largest bank in New England – Fulp was promoted to executive vice president in charge of the bank’s private banking division, making him the first African American to assume the role. Fulp left the Bank of New England after it was acquired by FleetBoston Financial in 1991. He then worked for the accounting and advisory firm of Grant Thornton LLP until 1994 when he co-founded Middlesex Bank and Trust in Newton, Massachusetts. Fulp led Middlesex Bank until 2002, when it was acquired by Connecticut’s Westport National Bank. In 2004, Fulp became the president of GoBiz Solutions, Inc.

Fulp received numerous awards, including the 2005 Mary Hudson Onley Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Hall of Black Achievement. He served on the Small Business Administration Boston Advisory Council from 1972 to 1982. Fulp was named by Governor Deval L. Patrick to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and chaired its Fiscal and Administrative Affairs Committee. He served as a member of the Lesley University Board of Trustees, and on the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and The Ron Burton Foundation.

Fulp is married to Carol Fulp, and has three children: Deanna, Rachael, and Cyrus.

C. Bernard Fulp was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 21, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.076

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/21/2016

Last Name

Fulp

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Bernard

Occupation
Schools

Harvard Business School

University of Connecticut

Winston-Salem State University

Atkins Academic and Technology High School

14th Street School

First Name

Cyrus

Birth City, State, Country

Winston-Salem

HM ID

FUL01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

10/9/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Bank executive C. Bernard Fulp (1935 - ) was the executive vice president of private banking for the Bank of New England, as well as the founding president of Middlesex Bank and Trust and GoBiz Solutions, Inc.

Employment

GoBiz Solutions, Inc.

Middlesex Bank & Trust Co.

Grant Thornton

New England Mercantile/Bank of New England

Unity Bank and Trust Company

State Street Bank & Trust

Wachovia Bank & Trust

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of C. Bernard Fulp's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - C. Bernard Fulp lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his relatives' service in the U.S. military

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - C. Bernard Fulp lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - C. Bernard Fulp describes the black community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the black business district in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his teachers at the 14th Street School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers the 14th Street Community Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls his family's emphasis on work ethic

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers playing sports

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his experiences of academic tracking

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers his mentors at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - C. Bernard Fulp describes the State of North Carolina's influence on the Winston-Salem Teachers College

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers the student unrest at the Winston-Salem Teachers College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls his graduation from Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the alumni of the Winston-Salem Teachers College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the alumni of the Winston-Salem Teachers College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls his aspiration to become an educator

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers his mentors at the Winston-Salem Teachers College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his social life at Winston-Salem Teachers College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers Coach Clarence E. Gaines

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls the influence of Simon Green Atkins and Francis Atkins

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the student sit-ins in North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls his service in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his master's degree from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers applying for the management training program at Wachovia Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the history of black banking in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his loan management training

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers providing loans to African Americans in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - C. Bernard Fulp describes the impact of redlining on the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his promotion to assistant treasurer of State Street Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls the founding of the Unity Bank and Trust Company in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the history African American banking

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his experiences at New England Merchants National Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his mentors at New England Merchants National Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls his decision to attend Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his start at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his education at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about Donald Trump's business strategy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers returning to the New England Merchants National Bank

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the consolidation of the banking industry around 1990

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - C. Bernard Fulp recalls the founding of the Middlesex Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - C. Bernard Fulp remembers the acquisition of the Middlesex Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his accomplishments at the Middlesex Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - C. Bernard Fulp describes the mission of the Middlesex Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his involvement with GoBiz Solutions, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the competitors of GoBiz Solutions, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his civic activities

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his service on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - C. Bernard Fulp describes the impact of massive open online courses

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - C. Bernard Fulp shares his concerns about for-profit universities

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his position on charter schools

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about the future of banking in the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - C. Bernard Fulp describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - C. Bernard Fulp talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - C. Bernard Fulp reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - C. Bernard Fulp reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - C. Bernard Fulp narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - C. Bernard Fulp narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$1

DAStory

8$12

DATitle
C. Bernard Fulp describes his accomplishments at the Middlesex Bank and Trust Company
C. Bernard Fulp describes the black community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Transcript
I don't want to minimize the accomplishment of it. But founding a bank is a big accomplishment and just want to ask you like what were, what were you able to do as a founder of this bank [Middlesex Bank and Trust Company; Eastern Bank], you know, that, you know, you're proud of and that's part of your legacy today?$$Well, as you've said, I mean, one of the local newspapers, the Herald [Boston Herald] said, "You know, there are a lot of things easier to do than start a bank." And Newton Graphic [The Newton Graphic] called it adventures in banking which I wasn't too happy about thinking (laughter) about, investing my life savings and they're calling it adventure. But we were able to provide services, we had talked earlier about small businesses, small companies and families. Here I was actually able to do that full time. So there were companies, both owned by people of color and of Caucasians that we financed that we helped grow. We had some impact, you know, in a smaller neighborhood within a wealthy suburban community of Newton [Massachusetts]. I mean, it was a big deal. It received a lot of newspaper coverage. We actually were covered on a couple TV stations, Channel 5 [WCVB-TV, Boston, Massachusetts] and Channel 68 [WBPX-TV, Boston, Massachusetts]. We were able to finance some real estate companies. We financed an automobile operation. We financed a summer camp. We did, you know, a number of buildings for small businesses and a number of homeless families around Newton. So, you know, it accomplished its mission and it's--it is still there. It, you know, did not do any bad or crazy things. It was owned by people who wanted to sell it.$The community in east Winston-Salem [East Winston, Winston-Salem, North Carolina] was a very tight black community in terms of business and of the, I mean, the relationships of the people there. From what I understand from--we interviewed Togo West [HistoryMaker Togo D. West, Jr.] years ago, and I forgot what town he grew up in, but he spoke really, he spoke a lot about growing up and the kind of bonds that people had in Winston-Salem.$$Well, you know, again, the professional community there cooperated and worked together in a very unique way at that time. I mean, there was a community of teachers. There were several physicians and dentists who--most of us knew who the players were. Togo's mother [Evelyn Carter West] was the music director in my elementary school, at 14th Street elementary school [14th Street School, Winston-Salem, North Carolina]. Togo's father [Togo D. West, Sr.] was a math teacher and assistant principal at Atkins High School [Atkins Academic and Technology High School, Winston-Salem, North Carolina]. He, in fact, was my geometry teacher. In addition to Safe Bus Company [Winston-Salem, North Carolina] that we talked about earlier, there was Winston Mutual Life Insurance Company [Winston-Salem, North Carolina] run by the Hills brothers. The--there were several funeral homes that--where the owners did pretty well and got involved in real estate matters. Also of significance around Winston-Salem was the fact that in 1947, Winston-Salem elected its first black alderman, Kenneth R. Williams. Williams went on to become, in addition to an alderman, to become president of Winston-Salem State University [Winston-Salem, North Carolina] at a longer time. But as far back as 1947, Winston-Salem elected black people to the board of aldermen. A few years ago, I, as I recall, four out of eight aldermen were African Americans.$$Okay. So, and Winston-Salem--now, you know, when you, when I hear stories about the South, you know, we--I grew up, you know, watching te- television and hearing about the voting right struggles in the South. But they seem to be mo- mostly in the smaller communities, not in the larger ci- cities, like black people could vote in Memphis [Tennessee], they could vote in Atlanta [Georgia] and they could vote in Winston-Salem. Right?$$That's true. And as I said earlier, they actually voted in a black person. The stories around the South or life around the South--in the larger cities, at the time I grew up, Winston-Salem was a city of around 120, 125,000 people. And I believe the percentage of people, of African Americans was around 38 percent, so it was a fairly high representation there. As we understood it, life in the rural areas, life in the mountains could be quite different. But within the cities, R.J. Reynolds didn't want disturbances. He wanted his tobacco factories to run smooth. The (unclear) wanted their tobacco factories to run on time. Piedmont Airlines [Piedmont Airlines, Inc.] didn't look for disruptions. And Western Electric [Western Electric Company] was mak- wanted people that make telephones and spend money. So the city was segregated, but the kinds of stories you hear about some parts of the rural South, Mississippi and other places, you know, were not part of the daily life around Winston-Salem. It was a manufacturing driven town with the, some of the companies I named earlier, several very large banks, so the corporate community wanted things to remains stable.