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2010 - 95th Annual Convention Words: 225 words || 
1. Howell, Ricardo. "From “Little Homes” to the “Million Dollar Avenue”: Berean Building and Loan in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Black Philadelphia" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2020-02-29 <>
Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper is a case study of the work of a long-surviving black building and loan society in Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century. Berean Building and Loan’s efforts at spurring home purchasing are notable because of the organization’s early focus, from the 1890s onward, on igniting home ownership amongst migrants newly arriving to the city.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries represent years of rapid growth for the city’s black population. Expectant African American job seekers who lacked training or education could anticipate finding their work in the shadows of Philadelphia’s industrializing economy – as porters, laborers, servants, waiters, seamstresses, or carpenters, if fortunate, among the possibilities. For the immigrant poor and the working classes, both black and white, property ownership represented an achievement that may at one time have been unimaginable. To acquire property during this era working-class and poor citizens joined small independent building and loan organizations which helped them take advantage of the opportunity to own property. Philadelphia gained its reputation as a city of homeowners.

Thus, this paper explores how one black building and loan organization responded to African American migration by pooling the monies of blacks and others, how it capitalized on its unique position as a church-based savings organization, and how it envisioned the uplift and futures available to those who participated in its home-ownership plans.

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