Amid greater consciousness of how America’s racialized history has impacted all aspects of society, there are renewed calls for monetary reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black people. In The Stolen Wealth of Slavery, researcher David Montero documents massive investments in the slave trade by entrepreneurial Northerners and the companies they founded to build unimaginable wealth.
Montero debunks the common notion that Southern plantations were primarily responsible for the ill-gotten wealth of America’s original sin. He dives into the abundant and revelatory archives of banks such as Citibank, Bank of New York, and Bank of America. Companies invested in many aspects of the slave trade, from funding the acquisition of more enslaved humans, and lending capital to plantation expansion, to financing the shipping industry that transported cotton and other products overseas. Their compounded investments yielded massive long-term profits.
Raising public awareness of how the evils of the transatlantic slave trade have seeded the rise of the United States as an economic superpower has been a project of Black scholars and activists for generations. As a White author, Montero makes a bold case for economic reparations and places the responsibility on U.S. corporations. If Black Americans wish to hold companies accountable for their role in profiting from slave labor, this book provides an evidence-based rationale for redress.