Hayti (Durham, NC)


Public domain image from the New York Public Library - The North Carolina Mutual & Provident Association -  https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-745d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4435475


Hayti (Durham, NC)


Founded in 1865, the thriving Black community of Hayti, Durham, North Carolina was viewed as rivaling Tulsa, Oklahoma as a premier business district. The cornerstone of Hayti was the AME church. Not only did Hayti boast Black-owned churches, fraternal societies, businesses, residences, financial institutions, and insurance companies, but Hayti also had its own university: North Carolina Central University, an HBCU founded in 1909. Hayti was home to the first Black public high school in North Carolina and numerous trade schools, as well as the oldest insurance company in North Carolina -- the Black-owned North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Agency.

The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Agency
Established in 1898 and founded by John Merrick, the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Agency was teh first Black-owned insurance company in the state and the largest in the nation. Located on Parrish Street in the all-Black neighborhood of Hayti, North Carolina Mutual has been a catalyst for cultural, social, and economic decelopment. From its inception, its state purpose was "the relief of the distress of Negros" in North Carolina. Along with Merrik, founding leaders of the company included Aaron Moore (who served as medical director and treasurer) and Charles C. Spaulding (serving as general manager) under whose guidance the organization bloomed and achieved national prominence. With a strong sense of social consciousness and responsibility, N. C. Mutual promulgated a concept of the Double-Duty Dollar, widely employed by well-known mutual aid benefit societies, which ensure that income from insurance sales could be funneled back into the community. Throughout its history, the organization developed programs to help build and maintain strong Black families and communities through loans, investments, and contributions in support of social programs.

By 1921, N. C. Mutual expanded its corporate headquarters to a handsome six-story complex that had been designed by company officials. NCMLIC is the only insurance company domiciled in North Carolina with a charter dated before 1900 and, with over $2.4 billion dollars of insurance in force and surplus exceeding $9 million, it is the oldest and largest African American life insurance company in the United States.

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