Abstract: All the Other Devils This Side of Hades: State Regulation of Negro Banks in Jim Crow Mississippi, 1900-1915
As brick and mortar edifices to the initiative, thrift, and ambition of not merely "Negro captains of industry" but of the black community as a whole, early twentieth-century, black-owned banks in Mississippi implicitly declared that blacks could—and would—subvert efforts to fetter civil rights and economic progress, especially in the coveted business circles of banking and finance. By 1915, however, black-owned banks were in the crosshairs of zealous state regulators who wanted to strengthen Mississippi's troubled banking system. This presentation explores how Mississippi's state banking regulations reflected both high-minded Progressive Era ideals and harsh Jim Crow reality before World War I. It will consider areas of cooperation and conflict among Negro and white bankers in the wake of stricter state regulations, and it will describe how black bankers throughout the state mobilized to address the new challenges presented by the state and the political economy of Jim Crow in the New South.