As part of the 27th Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival, the Directors and staff of Carver State Bank led a pilgrimage of community leaders, Bank customers and other supporters to the monument honoring the Bank’s founder, Louis B. Toomer.
Promptly at 12 noon on Saturday, February 27, 2016, the participants left the Carver Main Office on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and walked to Chatham Square. For those unable to walk, transportation was provided by Freedom
Trail Tours and Adams Limousine Service.
Carver is the oldest bank headquartered in Savannah, and one of only 22 African-American-owned commercial banks in the United States.
The Toomer Monument was erected on October 27, 1964 to commemorate the achievements of Louis B. Toomer who in 1927 established the Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation to serve the financial needs of the African American community in Savannah. This company later became Carver State Bank.
Toomer was one of the areas prominent business and civic leaders, and was appointed by President Eisenhower to serve as Register of the U.S. Treasury from 1953-1956.
During his remarks, Carver President Robert E. James acknowledged the foresight of the 27th Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival Committee, chaired by his wife, Shirley James, for suggesting that the monument and contributions of Louis Toomer be highlighted.
He acknowledged the presence of Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach; Alderman Bill Durrence of the 2nd District where the Monument is located; Alderwoman Estella Shabazz of the 5th District; Alderman Julian Miller of the Sixth District; and 5th District County Commissioner Useff Shabazz.
Former Savannah Mayors Edna Jackson and Otis Johnson as well as Metro Police Chief Joseph H. Lumpkin, Sr. were present to show their support.
James also highlighted the work that Vaugnette Goode-Walker, Director of the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum and Owner of the Footprints of Savannah Walking Tours, is doing to preserve African American history in the Savannah community, including her feature article published in the February 24, 2016 edition of The Savannah Tribune highlighting the history of Carver State Bank and the life of Louis B. Toomer.
James said that one of the great tests of a pioneering leader is that the causes that he or she championed or the institutions that he created continue long after the individuals are no longer with us. We see that in leaders like Frederick Douglas, George Washington Carver, Richard Allen and Martin Luther King, Jr., and such is the case with Louis Burke Toomer. We are here because Louis B. Toomer championed the causes of economic independence, self-help, and po- litical inclusion and respect for African Americans; and because he created and helped create institutions that have lasted long after his death. In addition to his noteworthy community service and civic work, Louis B. Toomer, at the age of 34, established his beloved banking institution that has not only survived, but has thrived for 89 years.
The program ended with a prayer of thanksgiving for the life and contribution of Louis Toomer led by Reverend Dr. Clarence Williams, Jr., Moderator of the Berean Missionary Baptist Association, Inc.