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Capitol Federal® Celebrates Black History Month

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As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s important to showcase and honor the contributions made by African-Americans throughout U.S. history. We want to commemorate past and present trailblazers in the worlds of finance, business and banking, for their influence and impact made to our daily lives. Follow along as we celebrate the achievements and milestones of those who came before us.

Richard Robert Wright Sr.

Richard Robert Wright Sr. – Wright Sr. is noted for many accomplishments throughout his life. He founded a high school, a college and a bank. Mr. Wright entered the business world in 1921 when he established the Philadelphia's Citizens and Southern Bank and Trust Company. At the time, it was the only African-American trust company. In 1927, he founded the first African-American banking association, the Negro Bankers Association. Today, the organization is known as the National Bankers Association, expanding its membership to include banks owned by Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and women. 

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Blanche Kelso Bruce
- Bruce was a politician representing the state of Mississippi. He was the first African-American senator to serve a full-term. President Garfield appointed Bruce to be the Register of the Treasury in 1881, making him the first African-American to have their signature appear on the nation's paper currency.

Selma Burke BHM Image
Selma Burke –
Burke was a sculptor and educator who received national recognition for her relief portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). The portrait of FDR is still used today on the U.S. Dime. According to NPR, when asked about her experience sketching the president, she said “he wiggled too much” when she began to sketch him that day. She told him to sit still, and he did.

Maggie C.J. Walker BHM Image
Madam C.J. Walker
– Walker was a true trailblazer for women of color. She changed the face of hair care for African-American women in the United States by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and products specifically for black hair. Known as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, political and social activist, Walker was the wealthiest African-American self-made businesswoman in America at the time of her death in 1919.

Maggie Walker BHM Image
Maggie L. Walker
– During her life, Maggie L. Walker was a teacher and businesswoman. She is noted as the first African-American woman in the U.S. to charter a bank and serve as its President. In 1902, she chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. She would go on to become President and serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the bank.

Janice Bryant Howroyd – A graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, Howroyd is the first African-American women to build and own a billion-dollar company. She is the founder and CEO of The ActOne Group, the largest privately held, minority-woman-owned personnel company founded in the United States. According to Bloomberg L.P., "ActOne Group, Inc. offers employment, workforce management, and procurement solutions to Fortune 500 organizations, local and mid-market companies, and government agencies."

Catherine Hughes – Hughes is an American entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive. She founded Radio One, a media conglomerate now known as Urban One in 1980. Radio One went public in 1999, making Hughes the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded company. Today, Urban One is the largest African-American-owned broadcasting company in the United States.

We highlighted just a handful of African-Americans who have impacted U.S. history, and we continue to celebrate their accomplishments, and many others, and the impact they have had on the United States of America.


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