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Online Exhibit Highlights NC Mutual History

NC Mutual co-founder John Merrick (second row, extreme right) is pictured here in 1913 with a group including Booker T. Washington (third row, second from the left), C. C. Spaulding (second row, extreme left) and Mary McLeod Bethune (fourth row, center).

The libraries at Duke University and North Carolina Central University have collaborated on a new online photo exhibit highlighting more than a hundred years of history at the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the nation’s largest and oldest life insurance company with roots in the African American community.

The online exhibit was created to mark North Carolina Mutual’s 112th Founder’s Day, which took place Wednesday, October 20. The photos provide a visual history of the company, its employees, and the unique role the firm has played locally and nationally in African-American commerce.

Last year, North Carolina Mutual donated its historic archives jointly to North Carolina Central University and Duke University. The two universities partner to care for and provide access to the collection, which spans the years 1899-2008. The extensive collection includes thousands of business documents, newsletters, advertisements and other promotional items, photographs, and other historical information about North Carolina Mutual’s operations, its employees, and policyholders. Taken as a whole, the collection represents an invaluable resource for researchers interested in American business history, in civil rights, and in the city of Durham’s Parrish Street, widely known as "Black Wall Street."

The new online exhibit is a first step in opening the North Carolina Mutual Collection to the public. The entire collection will be available for research in early 2011.

Click here to check out the exhibit.

To find out more, listen to a story about NC Mutual's Founder's Day on WUNC Public Radio. Or read an article about it in the Durham Herald-Sun.

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Posted 22 October 2010

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Last modified October 22, 2010 12:16:06 PM EDT