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Eddie Ayers
Loan Officer
Demopolis Federal Credit Union

Demopolis, Alabama

Eddie Ayers was the son of sharecroppers in Demopolis, Alabama. Growing up in the rural south in the 1940s and 50s, Eddie experienced the blatant racism of segregation. "We couldn't eat at the same places, we couldn't sleep at the same places, and we couldn't play at the same places that the whites enjoyed."

Eddie worked as a teacher and became involved in the struggle for the right to vote during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. As he and other black professionals began to speak out, the local white power structure reacted with economic sanctions, withdrawing their financing of mortgages and creating serious economic hardships.

"In this town we only have two banks, and it was hard for black people to borrow money. So the idea came up at one of our meetings that we should organize a credit union." With the birth of the Demopolis Federal Credit Union in 1966, black people finally had a chance to own a financial institution dedicated to addressing some of the basic needs of their own community. Now, over thirty years later, Eddy is still involved with the Demopolis Federal Credit Union. This institution continues to make loans for everyday necessities like car repairs, home appliances and school clothes, things a middle-class family would put on a credit card. The credit union has also made loans to small businesses like a barbershop, owned by Harrison Coleman.

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