The Binga State Bank and the Development of Bronzeville

February 19, 2008

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Jesse Binga

In this presentation, Beth Johnson examines the evolution of Chicago's Black Metropolis—Bronzeville—and explores its growth and economic development as a result of the establishment of the Binga State Bank. Established by entrepreneur Jesse Binga, the Binga State Bank was the first State chartered, African American-owned bank in Chicago.

Jesse Binga's pioneering ventures in banking and real estate made him a nationally known figure of black business achievement in the early 20th century.  A native of Detroit, he moved to Chicago in the early 1890s. Buying a succession of run-down buildings, he repaired them as rentals. White-owned banks refused to lend to African-Americans, inspiring Binga to establish his own bank in 1908 at the southeast corner of State and 36th Streets. Thousands of African-Americans opened accounts, and the Binga Bank prospered. It attained a state charter in 1921, and eventually occupied imposing buildings at the northwest corner of State and 35th Streets.

 

Recorded Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at Blue Island Historical Society.