Balkinization: Blind to History
This week, the U.S. Treasury Department renamed the Treasury Annex in Washington, D.C. the Freedman’s Bank Building, commemorating the 150thanniversary of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, a federal bank created during Reconstruction to benefit the newly freed slaves and their descendants. The Freedman’s Bank Act was one of many race-conscious federal statutes passed, contemporaneous with the Fourteenth Amendment, to foster equal opportunities and help realize the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of equal protection of the laws for all persons. The Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment understood that race-conscious measures were necessary to fulfill the promise of equality contained in the Fourteenth Amendment. Today, however, conservatives bent on eliminating affirmative action in education are turning a blind eye to this history.