Sometimes it can be challenging to let go of the past. I currently have a savings account at the Liberty Bank in Kansas City, KS. The branch I have visited most often is located at 1314 North 5th Street. I understand that businesses will open, relocate, and close at different locations as needed due to economic decisions.

Many current Liberty Bank customers received a letter in January 2022 mentioning that the 1314 North 5th Street branch is closing on or about April 22, 2022. This branch will be moving to 4850 State Avenue in Kansas City, KS.

close up image of liberty bank in kansas city kansas

For many KCK African Americans, the 1314 North 5th Street branch carries a long history for the community. Some people may not realize that this particular branch was initially established as the Douglass State Bank by Henry W. Sewing in 1947. Douglass State Bank was the first bank to be owned and operated by African Americans in the Midwest. The celebration for the opening of this bank included a motorized parade beginning in Kansas City, MO, and ending at Sumner High School in Kansas City, KS.

Financial challenges caused ownership to change from Douglass State Bank to Liberty Bank in 1983. Many in the community have remained loyal customers since the transition in ownership. This summary of Douglass State Bank barely touches all of the details associated with the opening of the bank.

book cover of henry warren sewing biography

Source:  Henry Warren Sewing, founder of the Douglass State Bank

Available in the Main Library – Kansas Collection