Which of the following retail stores was not underwritten or funded by Lehman Brothers after the company diversified beyond the cotton industry?
Lehman Brothers, a former Fortune 500 global financial services firm, was founded in 1850 in Montgomery, AL by Henry, Emanuel, and Mayer Lehman.
By offering mortgages on enslaved people, banks enabled enslavers to expand their workforce even when they had limited cash.
The business evolved into a cotton brokerage firm and opened an office in New York in 1858, later helping establish the Cotton Exchange.
When Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, it held over $600 billion in assets.
The banking industry reaped massive profits from Southern plantations that had amassed wealth through the labor of enslaved Black people—and from other methods of exploitation after slavery was outlawed.
Lehman Brothers used this capital to diversify and expand over time. In partnership with Goldman and Sachs’ Henry Goldman, the company underwrote and funded, among other things, several department stores, including Woolworth’s, Sears, and Macy’s. [#22] Lehman Brothers later was at the center of the 2007 mortgage and 2008 banking and financial crises. When the business filed for bankruptcy in 2008, it marked one of the largest bankruptcies in history.
What, if anything, surprises you about the history of Lehman Brothers?