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00:00:01 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Let's start then. Can you give me a little bit of, of personal background?

Segment Synopsis: Charles E. Ealy recounts his early life, graduating from the Cookman Institute in Jacksonville. He recalls getting his first job after graduating, working in retail and eventually receiving a promotion to management of a bank branch after performing his job well.

Keywords: Banking; Business; Childhood; College educated; Cookman Institute; Jacksonville, Florida; Mariana, Florida; Working

Subjects: African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Southern States.

GPS: Jacksonville, Florida where Ealy went to school
Map Coordinates: 30.3369, -81.6614
00:03:14 - Transitioning to Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: And, I stayed there, but nearly three years. And Major Wright was looking for someone who had some banking knowledge to come to Philadelphia to work with him.

Segment Synopsis: Major R.R. Wright recruited Ealy to move north to work at Citizens and Southern Bank, due to his experience working for a bank. Ealy remembers the challenges of keeping a new bank afloat. With pride Ealy recalls that during the Great Depression when President Roosevelt closed many banks, Citizens and Southern was one of 100 banks allowed to reopen. He notes many of the practices which he feels led to the bank’s success.

Keywords: Banking; Citizens and Southern Bank; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Loans; Major Richard R. Wright, Sr. ("R.R.")

Subjects: African American banks.; African Americans--Southern States.; Depressions--1929.; Migration, Internal.

00:10:30 - The banking environment in Philadelphia--Black and white customers

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Partial Transcript: Know what I'd like to ask you about is the, um, the early years of the bank.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy recounts his motivations for moving to Philadelphia, using his own grandson’s experiences as an example of how individuals seek career advancement. Citizens and Southern Bank served everyone, regardless of race. Ealy claims Black southerners were welcomed in Philadelphia. He emphasizes the importance of Major R.R. Wright’s reputation in establishing the bank’s success. When asked, Ealy will not comment on who the major bank depositors were during the 1920s-30s.

Keywords: "Christian Recorder"; African American businesses--Philadelphia, Pa.; African Methodist Episcopal Church; Banking; Citizens and Southern Bank (Philadelphia, Pa.); Government regulation; Major Richard R. Wright, Sr. ("R.R."); Politics; University of Pennsylvania

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:17:48 - The banking environment in Philadelphia--Brown and Stevens

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Partial Transcript: Um, now when Citizens and Southern started, the, the major bank--Black bank in town was Brown and Stevens.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy recalls that there was not competition with Brown and Stevens bank, one of the other leading African American banks in Philadelphia. He comments on Brown and Stevens’ banking practices, and how they differed from Citizens and Southern, notable by investing too heavily in real estate. Brown and Stevens failed during the Depression and Ealy explains why Citizens and Southern could not come to their rescue.

Keywords: A.C. Brown; African American banks; African American businesses--Philadelphia, Pa.; Andrew F. Stevens, Jr. (elected to Pennsylvania State Senate, 1920); Brown and Stevens Bank (-1925); Citizens and Southern Bank (Philadelphia, Pa.); Great Depression; Norfolk, Virginia; banking

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises; Depressions--1929.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:27:13 - Relationship with Keystone Bank / bankers and politics

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask you a couple of questions about the other banks in the area, then I want to zero in on, on operations at Citizens and Southern.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy recounts that Citizens and Southern Bank took over the Keystone Bank, another local African-American bank. The bank was founded in the late '20s by Mr. John Asbury, a well-known attorney and politician who headed Keystone Bank, Keystone Insurance Company, and Eden Cemetery Company.

Keywords: Eden Cemetery Company; John Asbury (African American lawyer, state representative); Keystone Aid Society; Keystone Cooperative Banking Association; Keystone Insurance Company; Politics

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises

00:30:54 - Encouraging investment

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask you some more especially on, uh--you know, the, the focus of the work I’ve been doing is on the influence that the Southerners had, the Southern newcomers had on the city.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy discusses the relationship of his bank to small investors, especially southern newcomers. He canvased the community in order to get business for his bank, educating potential customers about what a bank could do for them. Ealy's bank gave much better interest rates than what people were used to. Ealy emphasized the importance of service in creating a banking clientele, particularly in terms of encouraging investors to trust a Black-owned bank.

Keywords: African American banks; African American businesses--Philadelphia,Pa.; Banking; Investing; Loans; Southerners

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:35:30 - Ealy's and Wright's roles at Citizen's and Southern Bank

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Partial Transcript: What was your, your official, um, function with the bank?

Segment Synopsis: Ealy was vice president and member of the board of directors. Ealy was in charge of day to day operations and other employees looked to him for advice. Major R.R. Wright was an executive officer of the bank. He was also a member of the board of directors for a bank in Savannah.

Keywords: African American businesses--Philadelphia, Pa.; Banking; Bosses; Business; Major Richard R. Wright, Sr. ("R.R."); Savannah, Georgia; Vice presidents

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises

00:36:30 - Impressions of Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: What were your, your early impressions of Philadelphia?

Segment Synopsis: Ealy did not think of Philadelphia as a modern city. Ealy contrasts Philadelphia and the South, suggesting Philadelphia was a “backward” city. He recalls feeling very welcomed by “Old Philadelphians” - African Americans already living in the city. Ealy claims he did not feel any exclusion from northerners, whom he regarded as very hospitable to him.

Keywords: Fashion; Fire departments; Life in the South; North; Old Philadelphians (O.P.s)

Subjects: Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social life and customs.

00:39:33 - Black businesses in Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: Now when, um, Brown and Stevens went out of business, um, just from reading The Tribune, it seems that you all at Citizen's and Southern...

Segment Synopsis: Ealy claims Citizens and Southern had no competition after Brown and Stevens went out of business during the Great Depression. He recalls the challenges Black businesses faced as they attempted to compete with White businesses. Ealy was involved with The Negro Business League later on in his career, an organization which attempted to unite the grocers to buy wholesale cooperatively. Black businesses struggled due to what Ealy recalls as a “lack of know how,” rather than from being “dishonest.”

Keywords: African American businesses--Philadelphia, Pa.; American Stores; Bishop Richard R. Wright, Jr.; Brown and Stevens; CMA Stores; Camden, New Jersey; Citizens and Southern Bank (Philadelphia, Pa.); Great Depression; Grocers; National Negro Business League; Sam Redding; Tuskegee Institute; United Groceries; William Moses

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises; African Americans--Economic conditions.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:46:24 - Successful black Philadelphia businessmen

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Partial Transcript: Who were the successful businessmen then? Who were the models during the, the '20s?

Segment Synopsis: Ealy recalls John Asbury as a successful business man because he had a successful insurance business, started a bank, and owned Eden Cemetery. John T. Gibson was considered one of the wealthiest Black men in Pennsylvania.

Keywords: African American businesses--Philadelphia, Pa.; Banking; Brown and Stevens Bank; Businessmen; C.M. Brinson; Dunbar Theatre; E.C. Brown; E.C. Duberry; Eden Cemetery; Frederick Massiah; Graduate Hospital; Hod Carriers Union; John Asbury (African American lawyer, state representative); John T. Gibson (Standard Theater, Gibson Theater); Joseph Trent; Major Richard R. Wright, Sr. ("R.R."); Philadelphia Flower Show; Real estate business (Philadelphia, Pa.); Thomas Rivers; University of Pennsylvania; William Cassell (undertaker)

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American leadership; African Americans--Economic conditions.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:54:44 - Citizens and Southern Bank's relationship with white banks

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Partial Transcript: In those early days, during the '20s, what were your relationship--what was your relationship to the white banks?

Segment Synopsis: Ealy talks about Citizens and Southern’s relationships with corresponding white-owned banks, which he recalls as very good, rather than cutthroat. In comparison to white banks, Black businesses, including banks, were very small, and not considered a threat. Ealy says that he and especially R.R. Wright made sacrifices the first few years to make the bank successful.

Keywords: African American banks; African American businesses--Philadelphia, Pa.; Bank of North America; Banking; Broad Street Trust Company; Competition; Continental Bank; First Pennsylvania Bank; Major Richard R. Wright, Sr. ("R.R."); Southwark National Bank

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises; United States--Race relations.

00:59:14 - Back to Africa movement

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Partial Transcript: For an example, a lot of them have movements to go to Africa.

Segment Synopsis: There were movements to go back to Africa, inspired by Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which Ealy viewed as failures, because they “didn’t know where Africa was.” Ealy believes Garvey’s movement was simply “ahead of his day.”

Keywords: Africa; Austin Norris (lawyer, newspaper publisher); Back-to-Africa movement; Black Star; Marcus Garvey; United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)

Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Societies, etc.

01:00:48 - Citizens and Southern's legal counsel

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Partial Transcript: Who were--just to, to make a leap, um, uh, apparently Aus Norris was a, was a Garvey supporter.

Segment Synopsis: Citizen's and Southern Bank had more than one legal counselor. They had John A. Parks, Arthur Dennis, Raymond Pace Alexander, Louis Tannenbowl and G.S. Russell as their legal counsels. The bank also had a Black and white representative to cover all ground.

Keywords: Attorneys; Austin Norris (lawyer, newspaper publisher); G.S. Russell; John A. Parks; Legal counsel; Louis Tannenbowl; Raymond Pace Alexander

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises; African American lawyers.; African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.

01:02:43 - African American attorneys

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Partial Transcript: You all have any dealings with, um, Mr. Dickerson?

Segment Synopsis: While Dickerson was not part of Citizens and Southern's legal staff, he was one of the most prominent Black attorneys in Philadelphia and Ealy knew him quite well. J.B. Summers was an editor for the Public Journal and ran for state legislator. John Sparks was the best practicing attorney in Philadelphia.

Keywords: "Public Journal"; Arthur Lynch; Attorneys; Civil rights; G. Edward Dickerson; John "J.B." Summers; John Sparks (Attorney); Justice; Law; Lawyers; Legal; Vare Machine

Subjects: African American lawyers.; African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.; African Americans--Politics and government.

01:05:44 - The typical southern bank depositor

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Partial Transcript: I'd like to a--um, see whether you could tell me a bit more about the, um--your typical southern depositor.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy reacts emotionally as he remembers the loyalty of the typical southern depositor, who saved money dollar by dollar. Ealy talks about how southerners always felt inclined to help each other out.

Keywords: African American banks; Banking; Loans; Southern depositor; Southerners

Subjects: African American banks.; African American business enterprises; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; African Americans--Southern States.

01:07:33 - Visits to the South

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me a bit more about, you know, the, the Southerners?

Segment Synopsis: Ealy gives two examples of how Blacks help their own. He tells a story about when he was in Daytona, Florida, and he went to a drugstore and talked to the druggist about his business. He said in the town he owns the store, Blacks are told to go to the "Black" drugstore. Ealy's friend in Virginia was asked by a druggist to go to the "Black" drugstore.

Keywords: Daytona, Florida; Drugstores; Life in the South; Miami, Florida; Racism; Segregation; Southerners; Virginia

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; African Americans--Southern States.; Race discrimination.; United States--Race relations.

01:10:49 - Black businesses post-segregation

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Partial Transcript: Segregation had its bad features and its good features.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy believes segregation was both good and bad, recalling that post-segregation Black businesses, such as hotels, went out of business because Blacks did not want the inadequate services that Black-only businesses provided. He recalls Booker T. Washington’s mantra of “casting down your buckets where you are” as a mode of racial uplift.

Keywords: African American businesses--Philadelphia, Pa.; Booker T. Washington; Cotton Exposition; Inequality; Segregation; “Mr. Charlie”

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Integration; Race discrimination.; United States--Race relations.

01:15:13 - Perspectives on Ronald Reagan

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Partial Transcript: Ronald Reagan may think differently, but, uh--(laughs)--.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy and Hardy discuss Ronald Reagan; Ealy considers him a racist who thinks he knows everything. He is great at making planned speeches but not so good at talking on his feet. They, however, blame Congress for Reagan's shortcomings.

Keywords: Corruption; Racist; Ronald Reagan

Subjects: Politics and government; Race discrimination.; Racism; Reagan, Ronald

01:16:58 - Southerners and economic mobility

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Partial Transcript: I did a tax job for a lady downtown.

Segment Synopsis: Ealy talks about a Black woman who was able to afford a house and support herself. She worked up North on such a small wage but was still able to provide for herself. This shows how equality was starting to come about and what great opportunities existed in the North.

Keywords: Accounting; Banking; Business; Money; Taxes

Subjects: African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Social conditions.

01:18:50 - Ealy's perspective on Bishop Wright

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Partial Transcript: Can I ask you one question before I forget it? This is something I wanted else to ask you about.

Segment Synopsis: Hardy asks Ealy to describe Bishop Wright. He recalls him as knowledgeable, highly involved in his church and in the greater community, and well-respected nationally. Ealy suspects it takes a certain type of drive to achieve Wright's accomplishments.

Keywords: Bishop Richard R. Wright, Jr.; Citizens and Southern Bank (Philadelphia, Pa.); Harold L. Pilgrim; J. Hampton Moore ("Hampy", Mayor of Philadelphia, 1920-24)

Subjects: African American churches; African American clergy.; African American leadership