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A Legacy of Education: First Legacy Community Credit Union

The origins of First Legacy Community Credit Union go back to 1941, when a group of Black educators formed School Workers Federal Credit Union in the basement of a fine home on St. Paul Street in Charlotte, NC. The house was owned by prominent Black educator, Jefferson E. Grigsby and his wife, Purry. Mr. Grigsby was the principal of the historic Second Ward High School—Charlotte’s first public high school for Black students.

The Grigsbys’ basement became a place of security and community for Black teachers and others employed in the segregated schools of the time. Teachers, principals, custodians and other school employees brought their savings to the Grigsby’s basement not just for a few months or a few years, but for decades. Often they found homemade cookies waiting for them.

After decades of service, School Workers Federal evolved into First Legacy Community Credit Union. First Legacy opened up the membership to the wider community, expanded its locations, and became the largest Black-owned credit union in North Carolina.

The people interviewed in this video all know different pieces of School Workers and First Legacy’s history. Doris Asbury, a retired educator, has been an active leader in the credit union since 1969. Saundra Torrence began as First Legacy's bookkeeper and ultimately led the credit union through a period of high growth in assets and membership.The video also features two members who have benefited from credit union services: John Douglas of Salisbury and the Reverend August Canada, who leads the Catawba Presbyterian Church in Huntersville. Self-Help’s Charlotte City Executive, Claudie Johnson, provides narration for the video.

On January 1, 2020, First Legacy Community Credit Union joined the Self-Help family, operating now as First Legacy, a Division of Self-Help. As Claudie says, this merger is an honor for Self-Help, and we are pleased to help preserve this remarkable history.

First Legacy CU
at a Glance

Original Name: 
School Workers Federal Credit Union

Jefferson (J.E.) and Purry Grigsby

Year Founded: 1941

Year of Merger with Self-Help:  2020

Original Founding Location: 
Charlotte, NC