What People Are Saying

“Huntington Bank applauds Sec. Lew and the Treasury Department for selecting the name Freedman’s Bank Building, which will serve as a constant reminder of the courage of Lincoln and the contributions of all African Americans. At a time when our country is facing enormous challenges, it is important to remember those moments in history that made us great.”

Stephen D. Steinour

Chairman, President & CEO, Huntington Bancshares Inc.

“We applaud the decision to rename the Treasury Annex as the Freedman’s Bank Building, as it will serve as a reminder of the progress in our industry and an encouragement to continue the practice of inclusion,”

Bill Rogers

Chairman and CEO, SunTrust Banks, Inc.

“The historic renaming of the Treasury Annex to the Freedman’s Bank Building could not have come at a better time. As a community, we are more focused than ever on economic mobility and opportunity. Thank you US Treasury and Secretary Jack Lew for recognizing the achievements of the past, and providing us with a symbol of hope for the future.”

Vanessa K. DeLuca

Editor-In-Chief, Essence Magazine

I am proud to support the U.S Treasury Department’s decision to rename the Treasury Annex Building the Freedman’s Bank Building, an institution established by President Lincoln to develop the economic potential of freed slaves.

As former director of African-American and Minority Business outreach for President Obama, I want to extend personal thanks to Secretary Jack Lew for prioritizing this important renaming. I would also like to praise the tireless efforts of my good friend John Hope Bryant in raising awareness and making this a reality. We must reorient our historically divisive racial narrative with symbols of hope, freedom, and unity. renaming the Freedman’s Bank accomplishes this imperative.

As New York State Assemblyman for the 79th district in the Bronx, my vision has been predicated on a 3,2,1 strategy: the three E’s of Economic Development Education, and Equality for All, the two ways of achieving this, by strengthening minority and women owned business enterprises and focusing on creating a career-oriented education vision, and the one vision of changing the socioeconomics of the South Bronx to transform it into the urban metropolis of the world. We are committed to changing the dynamic in a tangible way , elevating our minority and women innovators to a similar symbolic status as the Freedman’s Bank.

With the symbolic renaming of the Treasury Annex Building to the Freedman’s Bank, we are making clear steps to changing old perceptions and forging a future for our children that is both more unified and understanding.

Michael Blake

New York City Assemblyman, 79th District, Bronx, New York

“Albert Hoover, Rebecca Massey, Sarah Johnson – those are just three people connected to Central Ohio who are listed among the estimated 70,000 customers of the Freedman’s Bank. Founded with the idea that smart financial management is integral to full participation in a free economy and democracy, this one-of-a-kind institution deserves to be remembered. Thank you President Obama and Treasury Secretary Lew for honoring its legacy.

Just as important, the keys to overcoming deeply embedded poverty lie in returning to the founding ideal of Freedman’s Bank – that educated financial consumers can more fully participate in our economy and democracy. We should not forget this tenet. Even more, we should rededicate ourselves to achieving financial stability for everyone in our community.”

Stephanie Hightower

President & CEO, Columbus Urban League

“As a former Treasury official, I’m delighted to see Sec. Lew recognize the historical significance of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust by renaming the Treasury Annex building in its honor. When visiting Washington, Americans will now be reminded of this extraordinary financial institution and its important role in 1865 of helping African Americans become part of the American dream. This principle of including all Americans in our country’s financial system is as important today as it was 150 years

Rob NIchols

President & CEO, American Bankers Association

“Congratulations on this wonderful revival of the Freedman’s name and, more important, its mission — to elevate, consolidate and empower the financial power within us all.”

Roy Johnson

Editor, Birmingham Magazine

“We applaud and thank Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew for his wisdom in renaming the Treasury Annex in honor of the historic Freedman’s Bank Building that once sat in its footprint and provided a pathway for economic opportunity for newly freed slaves. The renaming of the building is profoundly important because of its power to keep our national attention focused on the need that continues to this day for advancing the bank’s mission and legacy of promoting economic prosperity for all.”

Tom McInerney

President & CEO, , Genworth Financial

“Financial empowerment for all segments of our communities remains vital to our country’s future, but we still have far to go in our work to develop financial literacy for all,” said D. Bryan Jordan, chairman, president and CEO of First Horizon National Corp. “We salute visionary leaders who will help us continue to learn the lessons history teaches us by renaming this important structure the Freedman’s Bank Building.”

Bryan Jordan

First Horizon National Corporation

“The 18th Congressional District of Houston, Texas has a long historic Freedman’s legacy and I am proud to see that the U.S. Treasury Annex will be renamed the Freedman’s Building. This is a historic decision by President Obama and his Administration and I support this monumental act to preserve American history. None of this would have been possible without the leadership and persistence of John Hope Bryant and Operation HOPE whose mission continues the objective of the historic Freedman’s Bank – to provide financial freedom and access to capital for everyone.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

18th District Texas

“South Africa and the United States may be continents apart, but we share the same God inspired desire for all people to be free, to be who they want to be. Freedom of expression, ability, and aspirations too. We did not have a (President) Lincoln in South Africa, but we did have a Mandela, and we successfully re-imagined a new country, and a new Constitution here, which sought to set the best in all people free — to be. This is the essence of what it appears Lincoln desired too, when he dreamed up the Freedman’s Bank, in 1865. The same essence that inspired the great Abolitionist Frederick Douglass to run the bank after Lincoln’s untimely death.

In times like these, it is good to see leaders doing good, for no other reason than it is so. Good for all of the people. For this reason I take time to highly commend the US Treasury Department and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, for taking this important step of renaming their Treasury Annex Building, directly across from the White House and the main Treasury building in Washington, DC, to the Freedman’s Bank Building. This simple but important historical gesture, has the potential to give dignity and context to countless children — that will now hear this story as their story, as they are told the story of America itself.

There is untold power, in being told — in knowing — that we are all ONE. We all have the same worth, and the same value. Commendations all. Arch.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

South African Civil Rights Activist

“It’s a historic moment to acknowledge and experience the renaming of the U.S. Treasury Annex Building to its 150 year origin: The Freedman’s Building. The Freedman’s Bank Legacy created access to capital for deposits and savings for ex slaves and their families including to community entities like hospitals to assist in building wealth and health financial capability. As a HOPE Senior Adviser on Wealth & Health Initiatives, I look forward to sharing with Americans this important update to the Freedman’s Legacy and encourage citizens to see the U.S. Treasury Annex Freedman’s Building and participate in the U.S. Treasury Tour.”

Dr. Regina Benjamin

Former U.S. Surgeon General

“The U.S. Treasury Department has taken an important step forward by deciding to rename the Treasury Annex building to acknowledge the truth of America’s history. By changing the name to Freedman’s Bank Building the department is recognizing the importance of historical attempts to address the great economic divide and wealth inequality gaps of African-Americans following emancipation in 1865. At this time of deepening wealth and income inequality gaps in America, this is a critical time to recognize the truth of the legacy of slavery and the systemic institutional inequality that still exists and must be addressed today.”

Marian Wright Edelman

President, President of the Children’s Defense Fund

“The decision to rename the Treasury Annex building to, fittingly, the Freedman’s Bank Building is historic and important. It’s also a statement that shines a light on financial education its role in helping more people seize the right opportunities in the future. I am proud to support this decision.”

John Osborn

President and CEO, BBDO

“The Freedmen’s Bank served as an important part of the Reconstruction effort, as Lincoln’s vision included the need for newly freed slaves to learn about money. Today, as the Treasury Department renames the Treasury Annex Building the Freedmen’s Bank Building, we must acknowledge that money, banking and credit, and access to it on fair terms , are integral to today’s civil rights agenda. The National Urban League, as the civil rights community’s economic empowerment champion, congratulates Treasury Secretary Lew on this important step.”

Marc Morial

President, The Urban League

“In 1992, following the Los Angeles Riots, I, alongside other private sector leaders, led an effort called Rebuild L.A.  During this period it became clear to me the effects that lack of access to basic services, like mainstream banking, can have on an individual, and the potentially devastating effects when access is lacking for an entire community.  The Freedman’s Bank stands for equal access, and furthermore, represents a commitment by those in leadership to not only provide the access, but to also provide the education and opportunity for those who are under-served to become full participants in America’s democratic and capitalist society.  Operation HOPE, founded by John Hope Bryant at the same time I engaged with Rebuild L.A., continues to pursue the dream of economic equality and I am proud to call myself a friend and supporter of John and Operation HOPE, and extend my appreciation for HOPE’s role in the renaming of The Freedman’s Bank building.”

Peter Ueberroth

Managing Director, Contrarian Group