“Some of the keys to unlocking the problems of the present lie in the past,” explains Shennette Garrett-Scott. “It is no accident that history of capitalism studies have made such a strong pull on our historical imagination at this moment. Labor, political, and social histories animate history of capitalism studies” (195) This book is an important contribution to understanding the history of capitalism, which, as Garrett-Scott reminds us, is incomplete when it ignores gender and race, for it can “mask the power embodied in relationships around capital” (195).

Garrett-Scott’s Banking on Freedom tells the story of one banker and, in doing so, exposes some of the foundational myths of capitalism. The banker is Maggie Lena Walker, the first woman to start a bank and the most successful Black banker during the Jim Crow era. Walker’s career sits at the very intersection of race, gender, class, and capitalism. The book is...

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