The Directors, Officers and Staff of Carver State Bank will lead a group of Savannah residents in a pilgrimage from the Bank’s Main Office at 701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to Chatham Square to visit the monument that honors the contributions of the Bank’s founder to the Savannah community. “Our pilgrimage from the current Main Office to visit the monument saluting Louis B. Toomer will help us link our past with the present as we chart a course of continued service, leadership and success in the future,” according to Carver President Robert E. James.
As part of the 27th Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival, the Carver
State Bank family is inviting all members of the Savannah community to join them as they kick off the Bank’s 89th Anniversary by viewing of the monument honoring the Bank’s founder. The group will convene at the Carver Main Office, 701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, at 12 noon, on Saturday, February 27th and take a short walk to Chatham Square. The ceremony will end at 1:00 p.m. Transportation will be provided for those unable to walk.
The sundial monument in Chatham Square that honors Toomer is a very important symbol of Savannah’s history. James called Toomer “a trailblazer among business and political leaders, especially African Americans.” Toomer was the founder and first president of Carver State Bank, the oldest locally owned bank in the Savannah area. Born in 1893, Toomer was also a prominent civic and political leader. He was appointed Registrar of the Treasury by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and served from 1953 to 1956. Toomer also owned an insurance agency and real estate management business. According to James, individuals associated with Carver State Bank over the years have helped maintain many of his guiding principles.
“Toomer believed that it was important for African American business leaders to be involved in civic affairs and this commitment to community service and civic participation has continued as a guiding principal for the organization over the years,” said James. Today, members of the Carver Board and staff participate and provide leadership for numerous community organizations and initiatives.
Carver is the oldest bank headquartered in Savannah and one of only 22 African-American-owned commercial banks in the United States. James said that most of the other banks that are owned by African Americans are located in much larger metropolitan areas, and it should be a great source of community pride that Savannah is the home of an independent, African-American-owned bank that has thrived for 89 years.
Louis B. Toomer died in 1961 and the sundial monument was erected in Chatham Square to honor him in 1964. James and former Savannah Alderwoman Mary Osborne led an effort in 2008 to have the monument refurbished. At that time, James said that the monument should be enhanced to increase its visibility. As part of the Bank’s 89th Anniversary, James said he will lead an initiative to place a plaque or historic marker at the monument to give more of the history and significance of Toomer to our community.