You tell them Stone!
This is insane. It ended some 140 years ago, yet companies today are being punished for sins of the past.
Wachovia had to research its past in order to comply with a new Chicago ordinance that requires any business that is going for a city contract to disclose whether they profited from slavery. Slavery that ended 140 years ago! Wachovia said that they had from a company they acquired, Georgia Railroad and Banking Company and the Bank of Charleston, that it had taken slaves as collateral for loans issued over 140 years ago. Now get this, the state that this bank was in and at the time slavery was legal so the company did nothing wrong, yet today the company that had no direct tie to the slaves only purchased out the company at some point, must say that it has a slave past. This is ridiculous. Can you imagine being held liable for what your forefathers had done? Australia would have to put itself in jail under this kind of thought.
In William Strauss and Neil Howe book Generations they define a generation as A cohort-group (all persons born in a limited span of consecutive years) whose length approximates the span of a phase of life (about 22 years) and whose boundaries are fixed by peer personality (a generational persona recognized and determined by common age location, common beliefs and behavior, and perceived membership in a common generation). Using the life phase of 22 years, this means that the end of slavery was some 6.4 generations ago and we now require companies to go even further back to see if they had any ties to slavery. This black balls all southern companies for something that at the time was not illegal. What is the point, what is the purpose, what could be possibly gained from knowing if a company made money off of slavery some 140+ years ago? To me this borders on racketeering.
Maybe cities should be concerned about currently who is on the board, are their current books cooked or not so that they don’t get involved with an Enron or Aurther Andersen instead of worrying about what happened 140+ years ago. It has no bearing on the direction of today’s business.