Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pantheon of Pioneers: Richard R. Wright

"Tell them we are rising."

~ Richard R. Wright

Born into slavery Richard Robert Wright, Sr. (May 16, 1855 – July 2, 1947) was an American military officer, educator and college president, politician, civil rights advocate and banking entrepreneur. Among his many accomplishments, he founded Savannah State University and the Philadelphia's Citizens and Southern Bank and Trust Company. He also founded the National Freedom Day Association.

After moving to Philadelphia, in 1921 Wright decided to open a bank. At age 67 he enrolled in the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania to prepare for this venture. He entered the business world in 1921, creating and leading Philadelphia's Citizens and Southern Bank and Trust Company at 1849 South Street. At the time, it was the only African-American-owned bank in the North and the first African American Trust Company. He also founded the Negro Bankers Association. It was the first African American banking association.

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