Racist Business: Lehman Brothers

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Information. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (former NYSE ticker symbol LEH) was a global financial services firm. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Lehman was the fourth-largest investment bank in the US (behind Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch), doing business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales and trading (especially U.S. Treasury securities), research, investment management, private equity, and private banking. It was owned and operated by racist supects. 

Offending Merchant:  Lehman Brothers upheld, supported or perpetrated the system of racism  by participating in the slave trade. According to the Sun Times, the financial services firm acknowledged recently that its founding partners owned not one, but several enslaved Africans during the Civil War era and that, “in all likelihood,” it “profited significantly” from slavery. Within a few years this business grew to become the most significant part of their operation. [MORE]

The U.S. Census of 1860 lists Mayer Lehman as the owner of seven slaves — three males and four females — ranging in age from 5 to 50. "Some of these were household slaves. Others may have been used in the firm," notes a family history, The Lehmans: From Rimpar to the New World.  In the collection of Lehman family and business memorabilia at Columbia University is a photograph of a receipt for the purchase in 1854 of a 14-year-old slave girl named Martha. The buyer is listed as H. Lehman & Brother, the name of the firm before Emanuel's arrival. The Columbia collection also contains a private, unpublished history of the Lehman Bros. investment bank that details the brothers' purchase of a male slave for $900 and their ownership of other slaves as early as 1850.[MORE]