Duke University and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) are the joint recipients of the historical archives of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the nation’s largest and oldest life insurance company with roots in the African American community.
The North Carolina Mutual collection includes thousands of business documents, newsletters, commercials, photography and books. It highlights a time in the early 20th century when Durham’s “Black Wall Street” thrived, allowing the black middle class access to home mortgages, small business loans and insurance during the Jim Crow era. The archives may be the largest assemblage of African American corporate material in the nation.
The North Carolina Mutual Collection will be administered by the North Carolina Central University Archives, Records and History Center and the Duke University Libraries’ John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture. The documents will be housed at Duke’s Library Service Center, an off-site shelving facility that serves both institutions.