06/03/2014 05:53 pm ET Updated Aug 03, 2014

Black and Brown America -- Here Comes the Memo

It's time for black and brown America to get their copy of what I call The Memo.

It's so straight forward, you can decide to ignore this article altogether, and simply watch this 4-minute video.

After signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the Freedman's Saving and Trust Co., commonly known as the Freedman's Bank.

Lincoln considered the bank's mission so important to the nation that he located the bank directly across from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where the president could keep an eye on it.

The bank's mission was radical: To teach newly freed blacks about money.

Additionally, during the final period of the Civil War, one of Lincoln's top generals promised all freed slaves 40 acres and a mule, an opportunity to own collateral and machinery in their own names. Lincoln supported the initiative.

Unfortunately, Lincoln was assassinated. His successor, President Andrew Johnson, was diametrically opposed to things like the Freedman's Savings Bank. "As long as I am president, this nation will be white-run," Johnson was quoted as saying. So much for Lincoln's black empowerment ideas.

My personal hero Ambassador Andrew Young had it right when he said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement succeeded in integrating cities and America, but failed to integrate the money.

In fairness, you can't really "integrate" money. But we can deliver The Memo, to show a new generation how to access it, own it, grow it and keep it.

It's time to finish what Lincoln started and Dr. King never had the opportunity to meaningfully address.

That's why I wrote the book, How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class. The Solution for the 100%.

Most people are focused on and talking about the problem. How it happened, why it happened. All of that is important, but this book is 100 percent focused on real and practical solutions to our problems. Solutions that actually solve.

Operation HOPE will become the nation's private banker to the working poor, the struggling class and the teetering middle class. We call it the HOPE Plan and Project 5117.

Watch the movie, and share your thoughts on how together, we rebuild the path to the middle class.

Let's go.


John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and is the only 2010-2012 bestselling business author in America who is also African-American. His newest book is HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM, and will be published by Berrett Koehler Publishing. Bryant is a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans,and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.