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  • Writer's pictureTyGrayEL

The birth of Jesse Binga, BOMA Minute

On this day, April 10th we celebrate the birth of Jesse Binga, who at one time was considered the wealthiest black man in Chicago. He began amassing his fortune by cutting hair, working as a Pullman Porter and acquiring real estate. Born in Detroit Michigan in 1865, he moved from state to state settling in Chicago in 1893. As the African American population grew in the Windy City so did has bank roll. In the first two decades of the 20th Century Jesse Binga amassed enough to open his own bank. In 1921 the Binga State Bank opened with a $200,000. Within 3 years that had grown to over $1.3 million.

His bank provided the African American community with an option. They didn’t have to deal with the predatory lenders who preyed on the black working class. Of course racism had to raise its ugly head as the white folk hated his success. His home was bombed no less than 5 times and forced him to close his bank at the beginning of the great depression. They trumped up charges on him and put him in jail for embezzlement in 1933. After his release, the once wealthiest black man in Chicago spent the rest of his life as a handyman. He died in June of 1950. This has been a Breath of My Ancestors Minute brought to you by the Institute of Radical Reconciliation… #WeMustNeverForget


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