Program Highlights Chicago’s First African-American Banker 

 

The Ridge Historical Society (RHS) is sponsoring a program on Jesse Binga, Chicago’s first African-American bankerat the Givins Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr., Sun., Apr. 7, 2 p.mPresenter Don Hayner will discuss his book, Binga, The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s First Black Banker, scheduled for release in November.  

Jesse Binga (1865 – 1950) was a prominent real estate businessman who founded the first privately owned African-American bank in Chicago in 1908 to serve black clients denied service at white-owned banks. 

According to an article written by Hayner for The VillagerJesse Binga came to Chicago in 1892 with 10 dollars in his pocket and by 1919 he was a wealthy realtor, Chicago’s first black banker and a lightning rod for the worst race riot in Chicago history.” 

In 1908. Binga opened a bank at 36th and State — the first black-owned bank in Chicago. He built a home in a white area and his house and offices were bombed numerous times. Animosity between whites and blacks led to a major Chicago race riot in 1919. 

Hayner, a lifelong Chicagoan and Beverly/Morgan Park resident, retired as editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper in 2012. He has co-authored three books including Streetwise Chicago, A History of Chicago Street Names. 

The cost of the RHS program is $10 per person and all proceeds will go to the Givins Castle Restoration Fund. The Beverly Unitarian Church, owner of the Castle, has started an initiative to raise money for repairs to the Castle turrets. Donations to this fund will be used for preservation of the Castle, not for church operations.  

As space is limited, program reservations are suggested. Call 773881-1675 or email ridgehistory@hotmail.com. Tours of the Castle will be available following the program.