Walter E. Williams

On Jan. 20, 2005, J.P. Morgan Chase announced that it had completed research to determine whether it had any links to slavery. Its website ( announced: "Today, we are reporting that this research found that between 1831 and 1865 two of our predecessor banks -- Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana -- accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral on loans and took ownership of approximately 1,250 of them when the plantation owners defaulted on the loans."

 J.P. Morgan Chase went on to "apologize to the American public, and particularly to African-Americans, for the role that Citizens Bank and Canal Bank played during that period." They added, "Since these events took place in Louisiana, we are establishing a $5 million college scholarship program for students living in Louisiana."

 In January 2004, U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle dismissed a reparations lawsuit brought against companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, FleetBoston Financial and Brown & Williamson Tobacco that contended that either they or their corporate ancestors profited from insuring slave ships, using slaves or financing businesses built with slave labor. Judge Norgle said the statute of limitations had long past, the plaintiffs did not have standing, and they failed to establish a clear link to the companies they targeted. The court's decision comes close to a kiss of death for reparations through the judicial process but not through the mau-mau process.

 Some corporations have chief executive officers who double as the corporations' chief appeasement officers. A CEO/CAO will do nearly anything to befriend anti-capitalist forces, and J.P. Morgan Chase is seen as a soft target. Maybe that's why the Rainforest Action Network, an eco-activist group, transported Fairfield County, Connecticut second-graders to New York City in an attempt to pressure J.P. Morgan Chase CEO William B. Harrison into agreeing to stop lending money to development projects that "cause global warming."

 Corporate Social Responsibility Watch ( keeps an eye on the leftist attack on American corporations and corporate cowardice in the face of these attacks. Last year, CSRW listed the "Top Ten Worst Moments in Free Enterprise for 2004."

 Among those listed are Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant, who caved in to pressure from Greenpeace and announced the company was shelving plans to develop genetically engineered wheat.

 Ford Motor Co. CEO William Ford Jr., in an effort to befriend environmentalists, publicly supported a 50-cent-per-gallon gas tax.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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