Jesse Binga was an African-American banker and entrepreneur in Chicago who became one of the wealthiest African American individuals in the country during the late 19th century.
He dropped out of high school and worked as a barber in various cities. He later moved to Seattle, Washington, and then to Oakland, California. During this time, he also acquired property in Idaho which he sold for a significant profit.
In 1893, Binga purchased his first home in Chicago. He started his real estate ventures by buying rundown buildings and renting them. By 1908, he had built up enough wealth to establish a private bank.
In 1921, Binga opened a bank in Chicago. In three years, the institution had deposits of over a million dollars. He was also a prominent philanthropist in the city.
The Binga State Bank provided African American customers an alternative to the large white banks that often discriminated against them. It also employed African Americans with well-paid white collar jobs that created pride in the African American Community.
In 1929, Binga opened the Arcade Building, which was a five-story office building. It served as a prominent example of his entrepreneurial achievements.
As an entrepreneur, Binga decided to move his family to a newly integrated neighborhood. However, due to his decision, he and his family were the target of terrorists who wanted to take them out.
In 1930, the Binga State Bank was forced to close due to the Great Depression. In 1933, he was convicted of embezzlement and was imprisoned for ten years. Following his release, he spent the rest of his life as a carpenter and usher at a Catholic church.