P. W. Chavers, Anthony Overton, and the Founding of the Douglass National Bank
This chapter examines the “contested terrain” associated with the founding of Chicago’s Douglass National Bank in 1921. Anthony Overton, one of history’s most prominent African American entrepreneurs, is widely regarded as the founder of the second national bank organized by African Americans. Yet, the evidence indicates that this distinction should go to Pearl W. Chavers, a relatively obscure early twentieth-century black business person. The story of Anthony Overton’s ascent and P.W. Chavers’ descent in the Douglass National Bank’s administrative hierarchy reveals the power of money and influence. It also illuminates the nuances of both group and individual entrepreneur-based strategies for African American economic development.
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