Spirit of St. Louis – History of financial success in one local neighborhood

ST. LOUIS - The history of an St. Louis neighborhood lays the foundation for financial success for business students.  Wells Fargo Advisors joins Harris Stowe State University in celebrating business leaders during Black History Month.  Entrepreneurs are self-motivated. And the history of African-Americans in business has strong roots in St. Louis.

An inspiring review of that history is proudly displayed inside the Wells Fargo Finance Education Center at Harris Stowe. Striking images are captured in that mural says Dwaun Warmack, Ph.D., President, Harris -Stowe State University.

“Annie Malone and all that she did for this community and her business perspective, she will be part of this mural.”

Also featured are Col. Clifton Gates and James Hurt Jr., leaders in the founding of Gateway National Bank.  In the mid-sixties, it became Missouri’s first African American owned bank.  The pair had other successful business ventures.  Dr. Frank Williams, a highly respected principal, started New Age Federal Savings and Loan just after the turn of the century.  Many smaller businesses flourished in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood.

At one time its estimated 20,000 African Americans lived in Mill Creek.  Josephine Baker among them.  They lived and thrived in the area now known as Midtown, which just happens to be the current location of the University and Wells Fargo. The partnership was a natural fit according to Warmack.

“We were talking about how do we have some positive synergy between the two organizations that are one block apart.”

Wells Fargo commissioned the mural and linked students to real-time stock market activity. The center is expected to enhance the new finance degree program says Warmack.

“When you think about what happens on the live trading floor and understanding stocks, bonds, mutual funds, all of those areas as African-Americans and first-generation college students, it's transformational.”

The Wells Fargo Finance Education Center proudly displays the mural. As a tribute to African-American business leaders.