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How Historical Research Can Support Slavery Disclosure

projects-historical-research-slavery-research-200x135When JPMorgan Chase merged with Bank One, the new firm faced a unique problem that could only be solved by historical research.

A Chicago City Council ordinance requires entities conducting business with the city to disclose historic profits or investments in African slavery.  To investigate the history of hundreds of predecessors dating back to the late 1700s, the bank engaged History Associates to carry out the independent historical research.

History Associates historians fanned out across the world, reviewing historical collections at dozens of different repositories from New Orleans to London. The investigation ultimately focused on two Louisiana banks created in the 1830s: Citizens Bank of Louisiana and Canal Bank. Both banks eventually merged into Bank One more than a century later.

History Associates research teams reviewed property records held at local parishes across the state, collected details on thousands of bank transactions, analyzed the data, and collated the information into a single report documenting bank activities through the end of the Civil War.

“History Associates Inc. has been meticulous in its investigation, going well beyond the original scope of the research,” noted JPMorgan Chase. “Twelve research historians spent more than 3,500 hours to contact or visit over 75 research archives and examine individual property records at 39 Louisiana parishes.”

In a widely praised move, the bank publicly released the results of the slavery disclosure research. Read the article in The Wall Street Journal.

To discuss your historical research project, call us at (301) 279-9697 or contact History Associates online.

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