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The Industrial Bank of Washington stands as a testament to the black business movement that began in the 1880s in downtown Washington and spread to the U Street area by the 1900s. The bank was founded in 1913 by laborer and entrepreneur John Whitelaw Lewis as the Industrial Savings Bank. It first opened at 2006 11th Street, NW, in the Laborers' Building and Loan Association building, which was designed by Sidney W. Pittman and built by Lewis. (It has been razed.) A few years later the bank moved to its current building, which was financed and built by Lewis, and designed by Isaiah T. Hatton. When it opened, Industrial Bank was the only black-owned bank in the city. In 1932 the bank was forced to close, as were many others, because of the national financial crisis that caused the Great Depression.

Jesse Mitchell, a Howard University Law School graduate (class of 1907), reopened the bank as the Industrial Bank of Washington in 1934. After his death in 1955, his son, B. Doyle Mitchell, Sr., assumed leadership of the bank. Industrial Bank remains a family-owned business.

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