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Movement Bank is proud to honor the rich history of Danville and First State Bank by placing an historical highway marker commemorating the legacy of the bank in the community.  

Highway marker sign
The historical highway marker placed outside the front door of Movement Bank in Danville, VA.

Founded as The Savings Bank of Danville in a church basement in 1919, the institution known today as Movement Bank was organized by a group of black doctors, teachers, farmers and preachers. The bank was one of the few in Virginia owned by African-Americans, and it held that minority ownership through 2017. The bank was formed to serve those who were otherwise disregarded by established financial institutions during the Jim Crow era in southern Virginia.

Sylvesta Jennings
Former First State Bank president Sylvesta Jennings addresses the crowd at the ceremony on Thursday.

The bank changed its name to First State Bank in 1953 and held true to the mission of serving marginalized communities. By providing startup capital for black businesses, funding churches and posting bond for African-American civil rights protestors, the bank helped establish economic freedom for Danville’s black community.

In 2017, the bank was renamed Movement Bank as part of a $10 million recapitalization and expansion strategy, but its history continues to be celebrated. With the placement of the historical marker, Movement Bank hopes to take the heart of that legacy forward to help a new generation of Danville’s growing community.

David Rupp
Movement Bank CEO David Rupp.

“In the two months that I’ve been here working with the team, I’ve come to begin to understand the powerful legacy of First State Bank,” said bank CEO David Rupp. “The role that it played in the civil rights era. The role that it played for 100 years in the Danville community helping citizens, who didn’t always have access to banking services, be able to grow the financial side of their lives with folks that they trusted. That legacy, now celebrated in the historic marker, is something that I really think is important for us to embrace and to carry forward for the next 100 years as Movement Bank.”

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About the Author:

Jennifer Bates

Jennifer is a Content Manager at Movement Mortgage. She lives in Charlotte with her two dogs, Griffey and Maddux.