The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company

Soul & Service

The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded in Durham, N.C. in 1898 and is the oldest currently active African American-owned insurance company in the United States.

"The Mutual" or "N.C. Mutual," as it is commonly called, was founded with the entrepreneurial vision of 7 African American men who desired to provide insurance to their Durham community when white owned companies denied them. Through difficult early years, the company was able to sustain and grow into the oldest African American owned insurance company in the country. Today, it remains a symbol of pride and progress for the generations of Mutual men and women.

Read more about the history of N.C. Mutual at the company's website here:

Soul & Service

Soul & Service: The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company

This digital collection features selected images of employees, office buildings, and other subjects that document the company's long history.  The images form part of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company Archives, which were donated to and are administered jointly by Duke University and North Carolina Central University.

For more information about this digital collection, please contact  Andre Vann, Coordinator of University Archives, North Carolina Central University at

or John B. Gartrell, Director of the John Hope Franklin Research Center, Duke University at