How Historical Research Can Support Slavery Disclosure
When JPMorgan Chase merged with Bank One, the new firm faced a unique problem that could only be solved by detailed historical research.
Because of a Chicago City Council ordinance requiring all entities conducting business with the city to disclose historic profits or investments in African slavery, JPMorgan Chase had 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 reviewed historical collections at dozens of different repositories from New Orleans to London, and the investigation ultimately focused on two antebellum Louisiana banks: Citizens Bank of Louisiana and Canal Bank. Both created in the 1830s, the 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 their activities through the end of the Civil War (click here to view a sample of the historical research report).
JPMorgan Chase noted that “History Associates Inc. has been meticulous in its investigation, going well beyond the original scope of the research.
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.
Please click here to see a History Associates report for another slavery disclosure project.