His Fight For Liberation Focused On Education, Banking, And Political Power

PushBlack

To Nashville businessman, lawyer, and career politician James C. Napier, emancipation was only the beginning. 

How were Black people to prosper, after all, when, prior to the Reconstruction era, learning to read and write was outlawed for Black folks? 

Although Napier aided the Freedmen’s Bureau as commissioner of refugees and abandoned lands in Davidson County, TN, he knew his community deserved better than government handouts.

This brother went after POWER and he got it.

Napier mastered law, economics, and politics - leveraging relationships that earned him influential federal appointments under Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, and Taft. 

Political connections between Presidents and Black leaders including Fredrick Douglass and Booker T. Washington helped Napier stay true to his ultimate mission, to advocate for the needs of his people.

After serving in the highest federal position then available to a Black man, Register of the Treasury (1911-1914), Napier returned to his hometown Nashville, with more fight in him than ever. 

The man of his people organized streetcar strikes that sparked desegregation, established business credit for the first time to Black entrepreneurs through banking institutions such as One Cent Savings and Trust Bank (now Citizens Bank and Trust Company) and invested in Black higher learning institutions Fisk University, TSU, and Meharry.

His generous support of Black banks and educators ensured their survival long after his death in 1940. 

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: