Tulane and Race Relations
Joseph Chandler Morris, president of Canal Bank,1 was a lieutenant in the Confederate Army2 and
a member of Tulane's Board of Administrators.3
On January 20, 2005, banking giant JP Morgan Chase & Co. disclosed that, between 1831 and 1865, two predecessor banks, Citizens Bank and Canal Bank, listed approximately 13,000 slaves among the property covered by their mortgages, and they owned about 1,250 individuals that had been offered as collateral [4,5]. Bank One, whose predecessors included Citizens Bank and Canal Bank [6,7], and which recently had more than 30 locations in the Greater New Orleans area, was acquired by JP Morgan Chase in 2004 and had its name changed to Chase Bank in 2005. In an apparent attempt to cultivate the good will of the area's discontented and growing black middle class, JP Morgan Chase announced that it will provide $5 millionin scholarships over the next five years to help black students attend college in Louisiana. This is a signal for Tulane to recognize its role in depriving educational opportunities to a class of people and take steps to offer meaningful restitution. Some Tulane students appear to agree . The following letter contains a rationale for scholarship reparations. It was submitted to The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans, Louisiana, but not published. For further information about the JP Morgan Chase initiative, see articles that appeared in The Louisiana Weekly , The Wall Street Journal  and other cited references. Lawsuits seeking reparations for uncompensated labor and other abuses during slavery have been filed .
Carl Bernofsky, Ph.D.
6478 General Diaz Street
New Orleans, LA 70124January 25, 2005 Letters to the Editor The Times-Picayune 3800 Howard Avenue New Orleans, LA 70140 Dear Sir: We now know that Bank One's predecessors in Louisiana accepted slaves as collateral on bank loans and presumably auctioned them off when loans defaulted. Bank One is so concerned about a possible backlash that it has announced a $5 million five-year scholarship program for African Americans.1 Other institutions should be as forthcoming as Bank One. Randall Lee Gibson was the plantation owner, Confederate general, and legislator who was primarily responsible for the founding of Tulane University of Louisiana in 1884, using money from segregationist Paul Tulane to implement that activity. Gibson and a board of prominent citizens took over and privatized the public University of Louisiana after Louisiana's Constitution of 1868 had extended public education to blacks. The Tulane board then moved its operations to the Uptown section of New Orleans when Gibson Hall was built in 1894. The Terrebonne Parish slave census of 1860 listed 204 slaves on the Gibson family plantation.2 Gibson's slaves should be identified and their descendants offered the educational opportunities denied to their parents when the doors of the University of Louisiana were closed to them. More information about Gibson and Tulane can be found at http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/history_05a.htm. Yours truly, s/ Carl Bernofsky Carl Bernofsky Tel: (504) 486-4639 1Rebecca Mowbray, "Bank reveals slavery links; 2 La. firms named," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, January 21, 2005, p. C-1. 2Tom Blake, "Terrebonne Parish Louisiana 1860 Slaveholders and 1870 African Americans," http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~ajac/laterrebonne.htm.
On July 31, 2005, The Times-Picayune reprinted an article from The New York Times describing how the state of Virginia is providing scholarships to black residents who were denied educational opportunities when public schools closed their doors rather than desegregate . On September 1, 2016, The New York Times reported the announcement by John J. Degioia, President of Georgetown University, that the instituion will offer an "advantage in admissions" to descendants of the 272 slaves once owned by the university and sold in 1838 to help pay off its debts . On April 11, 2019, Gerogetown students voted to tax themselves to create a reparations fund for the descendants of slaves previously held by the university . References
- John P. Dyer, Tulane: The Biography of a University,
1834-1965, Harper & Row Publishers, New York and London, 1st Ed., 1966, p. 102.
- Louisiana Confederate Soldiers [database online], Orem, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 1997 (accessed through: Ancestry.com). Original data: Andrew B. Booth, Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers & Confederate Commands,
Vol. 2, p. 1058, New Orleans, LA, 1920.
- Morris served on the Tulane board from 1885 until his death in 1903. See: Beatrice M. Field and Amanda R. Rittenhouse, POTPOURRI, 2002,
p. 34(http://alumni.tulane.edu/potpourri/), accessed 01/18/05, and New Orleans, Louisiana Death Records Index, 1804-1949, [datbase online], Provo, UT, MyFamily.com, Inc., 2002 (accessed through: Ancestry.com). Original data: State of Louisiana, Secretary of State, Division of Archives, Records Management, and History, Vital Records Indices, Baton Rouge, LA, Vol. 130, p. 564.
- Annys Shin, "Rockville group takes mystery out of corporate history; Company helps bank define links to slavery," The Washington Post, February 10, 2005,
- Richard Slawsky, "Bank One seeks to make amends for past ties to slavery," The Louisiana Weekly, New Orleans, February
14-20, 2005, p. 1, Sect. A.
- Mary Judice, "Chase has a history in Big Easy; In Great Depression, N.Y. banking giant took over N.O.'s major financial institition," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, August 25, 2004,
p. C-1. See also: Vernellia R. Randall [Editor], "JP Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank and Slavery," http://academic.udayton.edu/race/02rights/repara30.htm, accessed 09/13/05.
- Rebecca Mowbray, "Bank reveals slavery links; 2 La. firms named," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, January 21, 2005,
- Cheryl Mei-ting Schmitz, "Tulane's regrettable past," Tulane Hullabaloo, Vol. 95, No. 25, April 29, 2005.
- Robin Sidel, "A historian's quest links J.P. Morgan to slave ownership," The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2005.
- Tara Young, "Slavery reparations federal suit filed; 200 La. residents make claim," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, September 4, 2002,
p. B-1. See also: Ashley Heher, "Slave Descendants Try to Revive Reparations Lawsuit," New York Lawyer, September 28, 2006, http://www.nylawyer.com/display.php/file=/news/06/09/092806r, accessed 09/28/06. See also: Michael Higgins, "Slavery reparation suit gets a reprieve, Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2006 (Metro), p. 1.
- Michael Janofsky, "A second chance," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, July 31 2005,
p. A-1(from The New York Times).
- Rachel L. Swarns, "Georgetown University Plans Steps to Atone for Slave Past," The New York Times, September 1, 2016.
- Christine Emba, "Georgetown students have voted in favor of reparations. Will America?" The Washington Post, April 21, 2019.
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