Deadria Farmer-Paellmann claims that Bank of America’s predecessor, Providence Bank of Rhode Island, benefited financially from the slave trade and she’s calling for students, universities and others to divest from the bank and its holdings.
For decades, Farmer-Paellmann has been digging and finding evidence tying corporate America to pre-Civil War slavery. She exposed corporate complicity in slavery and helped popularize the movement for reparations for slavery. Through her research, Farmer-Paellmann found evidence that makes Bank of America (BofA) complicit, she said.
Farmer-Paellmann is the founder and executive director of the Restitution Study Group, a nonprofit formed in 2000 to secure reparations and restitution from corporations complicit in the antebellum enslavement of Africans. The organization wants to create a community trust fund managed by Black business and community leaders to invest in efforts to repair the economic, educational, and health disparities for descendants of enslaved Africans.
Farmer-Paellmann says her team has uncovered research documents that show numerous slave ships listing slave traders who paid tariffs, duties, and fees to Providence Bank of Rhode Island. The bank, she says, waived the customs duties, fees, and tariffs until the slave ships returned from their voyages — a method of financing slave trading.
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