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The Jim Crow laws of America have definitely had an impact on the economic growth of many African-American communities for generations. Since such laws were abolished in 1965, more and more black owned businesses have been popping up and thriving. While African-American citizens have known many kinds of companies such as bookstores, restaurants and recording labels, many people still don’t know that black owned insurance companies are by far some of the most prominent businesses operated by American blacks.
The History of Black Owned Insurance Companies
While the end of Jim Crow laws saw black businesses relinquished from segregation laws, it is very important to note that black owned insurance companies and agencies were thriving decades before the Jim Crow abolishment of 1965.
There were in fact thousands and thousands of black owned businesses in America in the early 20th century. While it is true that many of them were very small local mom & pop shops, some of the largest of these companies were the black owned insurance companies.
As a result, black owned insurance companies played a large role in the overall growing wealth of African-Americans. The National Negro Business League, or the NNBL, was founded in 1900 by Booker T. Washington. One of its main mandates was to help urban black communities adapt to Jim Crow segregation and support their business ventures. Eventually, the NNBL grew so large that it ended up inspiring many affiliate organizations, including the National Association of Negro Insurance Men.
The National Association of Negro Insurance Men was considered especially significant because it was particularly difficult for African-Americans to acquire life insurance in the pre-Jim Crow days. Despite these facts, some of the most historically significant and economically successful black owned insurance companies ever began as early as the 19th century.
This all eventually led to the rise of three men named Charles Clinton Spaulding, Aaron McDuffle Moore and John Henry Merrick who were arguably the most successful black entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Spaulding was the president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, founded in 1898. He co-founded this black owned insurance company along with Moore, Merrick and several other people.
To this day, it is one of the largest and oldest black owned insurance companies in all of American history and is often seen as both a monument and a testament to black owned businesses all over the country.
Black Owned Insurance Companies Today
Thanks to their rich history in helping African-American communities thrive economically, black owned insurance companies are more common than ever before in the United States. Even in 2020, black owned insurance companies continue to make headlines, experience incredible economic success and give back to their communities.
The National Standard Abstract is a title insurance agency that was founded in 2015 by Osei Rubie. In five short years they have already closed over $1 billion, making them an exceptionally successful business by all standards.
There are many more examples that can be discussed but by now the point should be clear. Black owned insurance companies have a long and rich history that spans over a century. They are still considered a shining example of how African-American citizens could prosper despite the various legal obstacles imposed on them. Whether we’re looking all the way back to 1900 or today in 2020, black owned insurance companies are significant, both economically and communally.