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Atlanta Life Insurance Company
by Alexa Benson Henderson
pages, 6-1/4" x 9-1/4"
From the dustjacket flaps:
In Atlanta, shortly after the turn of the century, Alonzo Franklin Herndon, a former slave, joined a long line of promoters of black enterprise by creating the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. More than three-quarters of a century later, it is an important enterprise that is the nation's largest black-controlled shareholder insurance company. With more than $108.7 million in assets, the firm is today a significant example of the valiant efforts of black Americans to achieve economic dignity in America.
The Atlanta Life story tells a great deal about the past achievements of black insurance firms. In its study one observes broadly the historical strengths and weaknesses and sees clearly the important correlations between periods of boom and depression on the levels of growth experienced by these enterprises. The book also reflects the impact of racism and socioeconomic exclusion on the survival of black firms.
From its beginning in 1905, Atlanta Life Insurance Company surmounted many obstacles, both economic and racial, to provide an important economic service to black Americans. In addition to easing the financial burdens associated with illnesses and deaths, the company also provided employment opportunities in areas where the company operated. In spurts of expansion fever, the company grew until its territory of operations included twelve states in the South and Midwest. With diligent leadership possessing firm faith in the possibilities of black business enterprise, Atlanta Life demonstrated the potent show predicted by curly black leaders such as Booker T. Washington and John Hope.
In this book, Henderson focuses on the historic roots of Atlanta Life, its economic growth and development as a black-owned institution, and its social and economic involvement with the problems and progress of black America. Depicting circumstances that varied from race riots and hostility to investigations by state regulatory boards to depression to efforts at acquiring special Congressional legislation protecting stock ownership, Henderson relates the important details of the Atlanta Life story and its identity with the society it served.
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