Sunday, October 19, 2014
North Carolina Mutual Life Ins. Co. Largest Black Life Ins. Co.
The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company (originally the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association) is an American life insurance company located in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Founded in 1898 by local black social leaders, its business increased from less than a thousand dollars in income in 1899 to a quarter of a million dollars in 1910. It is one of the largest companies founded by African Americans, and it is the largest and oldest African American life insurance company in the United States today. In fact, the company came to be known as the world’s largest African American business in only its first few years and is claimed by its home city of Durham as an important landmark. In the late 1800s and throughout the 1900s Durham was known as “The Black Wall Street of America.” for the progress that African Americans were making within the town. The company’s founders, thought to be inspired by North Carolina business tycoon Washington Duke, included John Merrick and Aaron McDuffie Moore, two particularly influential men in Durham’s history. North Carolina Mutual and its prosperity brought many good things to Durham’s black community, and its founders and organizers were important contributors to social and economic progress in the city and particularly in its African American community.