Dispossession of Land
from Indigenous Peoples:
1607 – Present Day
Top: Three young Lakota Indian boys pictured (left) wearing their tribal clothing upon their arrival at Carlisle Indian School, and (right) a short time later wearing their school military-style uniforms, ca. 1900.
Bottom: Tom Torlino-Navajo, pictured as he entered Carlisle Indian School in 1882 (left), and a short time later wearing his school uniform (right).
Early rendering of the wall for which Wall Street was named.
(1776 to present)
Wall Street Established
as an Official Trading
Post of Enslaved Peoples:
Illustration of enslaved people being sold at auction.
Lithograph of Canal Bank, which, with Citizens Bank, accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved people as collateral and “repossessed” roughly 1,250 enslaved human beings.
Moses Taylor, president of National City Bank of New York–now Citibank–and participant in the illegal slave trade.
The New York Stock Exchange emerged from the Buttonwood Agreement. The agreement, signed by 24 wealthy white traders to regulate their exchanges, covered transactions related to the slave trade, from insurance and shipping to cotton.
Nearly 10 million homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure sales in the U.S. between 2006 and 2014.
Invention of the Cotton
Gin Accelerates the
Expansion of Slavery:
Illustration of enslaved people gathering cotton on a southern plantation.
Choctaw Nation Forced
to Abandon Ancestral
Lands for “Indian
Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, signed the Indian Removal Act into law on May 28, 1830.
A former Confederate soldier who participated in the removal is said to have commented, “I fought through the civil war and have seen men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands, but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.” [#21]
Cotton Exchange: 1858
By offering mortgages on enslaved people, banks enabled enslavers to expand their workforce even when they had limited cash.
When Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, it held over $600 billion in assets.
Sharecropping and Debt
In the fall of 1865, President Andrew Johnson overturned General William Sherman’s Special Field Order Number 15, which promised to newly freed enslaved people that “each family shall have a plot of not more than 40 acres of tillable land.” As a consequence of Johnson’s revocation, land seized by the Union army was returned to its former Confederate owners, forcing many Black families to become sharecroppers.
The front page of The Chicago Defender, October 11, 1919, documenting the killings of Black families in Elaine, Arkansas. This excerpt was found in the scrapbook of Arkansas Governer Charles Brough.
1870s - Present Day
A chain gang in Thomasville, Georgia.
A southern chain gang, circa 1903.
Railroads and Chinese
Chinese transcontinental railroad workers in 1869.
After the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese immigrants were required to prove their legal presence in the U.S. by having government-issued identification cards on their persons at all times or risk facing deportation or being sentenced to hard labor.
Tulsa Black Wall Street Massacre: 1921
Black business leaders of the Greenwood community of Tulsa (pictured.) The 600+ businesses of Black Wall Street included 30 grocery stores, 21 churches, 21 restaurants, two movie theaters, schools, libraries, law offices, a hospital, a bank, a post office, and a bus system. Community members also owned six private airplanes. [#34]
Smoke billowing over Tulsa during the massacre, 1921
Stock Market Crashes, Ushering in the Great Depression: 1929
Flood refugees in line for food, at the time of the Louisville flood in 1937.
Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law on August 14th, 1935.
Black women complete a training program to work as maids and household servants. New Orleans, 1939.
LA Police "Repatriate" Mexican Americans and Immigrants at La Placita Park: 1931
A Los Angeles newspaper published a front-page story about La Placita the day after the raid.
Mexican and Mexican-American families wait to board Mexico-bound trains in Los Angeles on March 8, 1932.
Relatives and friends wave goodbye to a train carrying 1,500 people being expelled from Los Angeles back to Mexico in 1931.
Official Presidential portrait of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States.
The Home Owners Loan Corporation Develops Redlining: 1933
The Seattle chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality organized protests at the offices of Picture Floor Plans because of the business’s discrimination against people of color.
Report on “Pinklining” Reveals How Wall Street Targets Women for Toxic Loans: 2016
Even though women make higher student loan payments than men, it takes them an average of two years longer to pay off those debts. [#48]
Explosion Highlights Risks of Wall Street Chemical Plant Ownership: 2019
Image of the November 27, 2019 explosion and fire at the TPC Group chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas.