JP Morgan apologizes for slavery

Thursday, January 20, 2005

JP Morgan Chase issued an apology on Thursday for the actions of two of its predecessor banks that accepted slaves as collateral on loans.

Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana, which were ultimately acquired by JP Morgan, accepted approximately 13,000 slaves as collateral and took ownership of approximately 1250 between 1831 and 1865, according to a memo to employees from CEO and Chairman William Harrison and President James Dimon.

The memo was in response to a Chicago ordinance, which requires disclosure of slave ownership.

"We apologize to the American public, and particularly to African-Americans, for the role that Citizens Bank and Canal Bank played during that period," said the company on its website. "Although we cannot change the past, we are committed to learning from and emerging stronger because of it." [1]

JP Morgan was involved in a class action suit in 2002 which sought reparations for slavery from it and 17 other companies. The case was dismissed last year.

The bank will establish a $5 million, need-based scholarship for African-American students in Louisiana.

JP Morgan stock fell 1.6 percent on Thursday to $37.25.