Slavery and Savings: The Slaves’ Path to Freedom

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Therefore, its our responsibility look backwards at our history to help guide us going forward.

Slaves, unlike many of us, actually made money and saved it to earn their freedom and start businesses. Surprised?

When most people think of enslaved Africans who were brought to America, they think of ignorant, unskilled, uncivilized, and primitive people who were forced to work for a slave master. Also, many people believe that enslaved Africans had no economic power and held no assets (money, land, or resources). Slaves weren’t as ignorant as they were often portrayed in literature and movies. The Georgia Historical Society has documents which proved that slaves owned property. At the time, Georgia laws required that the slave have a person similar to a trustee to protect the slave’s property interest. Also, slaves were allowed to rent their skills out to other plantation owners.

According to the “The African American Financial Experience” a study released by Prudential Financial, African-Americans aren’t saving enough money. When Prudential Financial asked why they weren’t saving, the respondents said they didn’t have the resources to save. Also the survey found that 35 percent of African-Americans dream of starting a small business but they reported that they lacked the start-up capital to make their dream a reality.

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