|Date(s):||March 1, 2016 to March 15, 2016|
|Location(s):||Winter Park, Florida|
|Course:||“African American History Since 1877,” Rollins College|
The primary source that I chose to use in this project was a photograph of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company taken by The Orlando Negro Chamber of Commerce. This company had a branch in Orlando off of Church Street in 1949. This source is important because it gives us a clear and solid image of a life insurance company that was completely ran, and successfully ran, by African Americans during a time where that was not an easy task. Throughout researching Atlanta Life Insurance I discovered that Alonzo Herndon founded the company. Alonzo was a barber and entrepreneur, and also a former slave. After establishing this new company he quickly became the wealthiest African American in Atlanta. Atlanta Life Insurance Company became the leading African American insurance company in the nation.
When talking about Life Insurance, it can seem like a bore of a subject. However, this topic is so imperative, especially when linking it to African Americans, because it was something that primarily white companies denied African Americans. When one dies, it is a very grief stricken time. On top of the grief, it can be a very costly event. Life Insurance is simply is a security that someone pays into while they are alive to ensure that their families will not be burden by their death. Life Insurance covers everything from funeral costs’; to a lump some of money to help a family when something unexpected happens to the primary source of income. When talking about the security of someone’s family after they are no longer here to help them, well it’s a topic that most people are not willing to gamble with. When so many African Americans who work hard to support their families are denied this basic right to feel secure in their families’ well being, it is nothing short of a tragedy. This is where Atlanta Life Insurance came in. This company well was established in its promise to give African Americans the security that every other white person can decide to have if they so chose. It was a promise that they so rightfully deserved.
While doing research through my other sources such as: Supreme Life: The History of a Negro Life Insurance Company, the information I read has a lot to do with the basic principles on what is and isn’t fair. Historians will say that white people during the 1940’s and 1950’s, when life insurance became this booming industry, didn’t want African Americans to be able to participate. To me, that logic simply says one thing and one thing only. Which is: in our opinion, your life and your family’s well being doesn’t have the right qualifications to justify you needing such a tool as life insurance. What kind of terrible person would think that? Mostly all of America. Research shows that African Americans opened up their own institutions for things that they were denied other wise because they had to find a way to protect themselves and their family. When you think about it as a dignified human being, it’s a quite simple thought.
In conclusion, the discussion when it comes to Life Insurance for African Americans and The Atlanta Life Insurance Company is one worth having. How would you feel if you were forced to live each and every day with the knowledge that if something devastating happened to you, your family would be completely helpless financially? Life Insurance is a basic way to ensure the security of your family after ones passing, it’s the only responsible thing to do when you love someone more than you love yourself. The only thing someone’s family should be thinking about after such a devastating loss is putting their life and heart back together as much as they can, not how they are going to afford to bury the loved one they just lost. That is why I for one am extremely thankful for companies like The Atlanta Life Insurance Company, and for guys like Alonzo Herndon. For taking a chance and gambling on a company that they were passionate about, and having the fortitude to stick it out when the rest of the country was seemingly against them.