Four Black American Trailblazers in Finance

Four Black American Trailblazers in Finance

February is Black History Month. At Northeast Credit Union, we’re proud to join in the nationwide celebration to honor Black Americans. To do that, we’d like to take this time to recognize four important individuals in the history of finance and entrepreneurship who are rarely applauded despite their trailblazing work.

BlancheKelsoBruce_400x500Blanche Kelso Bruce (1841 - 1898)

Blanche was born into slavery in Virginia on March 1, 1841. After being tutored by his master’s son, he left his master during the Civil War and taught school in Missouri. In 1875, Bruce was elected into the United States Senate, where he served as the first full-term Black American to hold his position from March 4, 1875 - March 3, 1881. After his time in the Senate, Bruce was appointed by President Garfield as the Register of the Treasury. Bruce took a brief pause from this position to serve as the Recorder of Deeds for the District of Colombia from 1891-1893, but ultimately returned to the office of Register of the Treasury in 1897 and served that office until his death on March 17, 1898.


RichardRobertWright_400x500Richard Robert Wright Sr. (1855 - 1947)

Richard Wright, born into slavery, founded the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth in Savannah, Georgia and served as its first president from 1891 – 1921. When Wright retired from his presidency at the college, he moved to Philadelphia to open a bank. He founded Philadelphia’s Citizens and Southern Bank and Trust Company, which was the only Black owned bank in the North at the time.




MaggieLenaWalker_400x500Maggie Lena Walker (1864 - 1934)

Maggie was the first woman of any race to serve as Founder and President of a bank in the United States. Walker established St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903 because she found many white-owned banks didn't take deposits from Black organizations. The bank was renamed to Consolidated Bank & Trust after merging with two smaller Black-owned banks in 1930.




AzieTaylorMorton_400x500Azie Taylor Morton (1936 – 2003)

Azie was the first Black American to serve as Treasurer of the United States after she was appointed by President Carter in 1977. She served as the 36th Treasurer for the remaining time of Carter’s Presidency. To this day, Azie has been the only Black American to hold this position.




At Northeast Credit Union, we honor these four people along with the entire Black community. For more information on these trailblazers, please visit the sources below.