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Brown, Jesse E. "Doc"
Birth Year : 1856
Jesse E. Brown, a doctor in Louisville, KY, was the city's first African American businessman and insurance agent. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Duncan, Laval T.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1979
Duncan was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Henry, a shoemaker, and Cora Duncan. In 1934 he joined the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company in Louisville and by 1950 had become its vice president and treasurer. He was also on the board of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; the Laval T. Duncan Papers at the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center; and Laval T. Duncan in the Community Hospital Records finding aid in the Kentucky Digital Library.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

George, S. H.
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1936
S. H. George was considered a wealthy physician, politician, and business man in Paducah, KY. He was born in Kentucky. His mother died when he was three years old, and S. H. George was forced to earn his way at an early age. He was a school teacher for several years, and later graduated from Walden University (TN) and Meharry Medical College. He returned to Paducah and opened his medical practice, and is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Nettie McClaine (1889-1935), who was born in Decatur County, TN. Nettie was a trained nurse. The couple shared their home with Nettie's mother Susan Jobe Hoskin, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. Dr. George was involved in several businesses, including a skating rink. August 1909, during the Emancipation Day celebration, Dr. George charged Daniel Hopwood with trying to pass a bad dollar at the Paducah Colored Skating Rink, located at 10th and Broadway; the rink was in financial trouble in 1909. The counterfeiting case against Hopwood was dismissed from the Paducah courts due to insufficient evidence. Several years later, Dr. George was a Kentucky delegate to the Republican National Convention. His first term was in 1920; the Kentucky Republican State Convention had been undecided as to which African American would be a delegate-at-large, and after a four hour discussion, Dr. George was selected. Also in 1920, Dr. George was co-owner of the newly incorporated Home Drug Company in Paducah. The other two owners were John W. Egester and C. M. Bolden. That same year, Dr. George was owner and manager of the Hiawatha Theater, a picture house at 432 S. 7th Street in Paducah. He paid $10,000 for the business. In 1927, in Washington D.C., Dr. S. H. George was re-elected Grand Esteemed Leading Knight of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order Of Elks of the World (IBPOEW); he was a Mason, an Odd Fellow, a Pythian, a member of the Court of Calanthe, and vice president of the Pythian Mutual Industrial Association of Kentucky. In 1928, he was again a Republican National Convention delegate. Dr. S. H. George died June 23, 1936, his death notice is on p.155 in An Economic Detour by M. S. Stuart. Dr. George was a founding member, a stockholder, and a 21-year elected member of the board of directors of the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. For more see "Pick Kentucky delegates," New York Times, 03/04/1920, p.17; "No conviction in counterfeiting cases," The Paducah Evening Sun, 08/17/1909, p.3; see "S. H. George..." on p.16 in NARD Journal, v.30, 1920; African American Theater Buildings by E. L. Smith; "J. F. Wilson re-elected head of Negro Elks," The New York Times, 08/26/1927, p.14; and see S. H. George in The National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race edited by C. Richardson [available online at Internet Archive].
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Pharmacists, Pharmacies, Skating Rinks, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Gomez, Wanti W. [Louis Jones]
Wanti (or Wante) W. Gomez is said to have appeared in Durham, NC, from 'out of nowhere' in 1920. He was first an independent agent with the Mutual Building and Loan Association, and with that major success, he was named director of the company's education department. Gomez left the position and founded the Bankers Fire Insurance Company, which was also a success. Gomez chose a low profile as secretary of the company. Bankers Fire was listed in Best Insurance Reports, vol. 22, 33rd ed., 1922-23, p. 54, wherein Gomez was credited as having several years of insurance business [online at Google Book Search]. In 1924, he pushed for the establishment of the National Negro Finance Corporation within the National Negro Business League. The Finance Corporation was a complete failure in the late 1920s. Gomez was long gone by that time, having disappeared from Durham in 1926 and taking with him assets from his business, Durham Commercial Security Company. He was never heard from again. It was soon learned that Gomez's real name was Louis Jones and he was a fugitive from Kentucky who was wanted for arson. He had left the Bankers Fire Insurance Company in good standing, and Wanti Gomez is still considered one of the major contributors toward the making of Black Wall Street in Durham. For more see Black Business in the New South, by W. B. Weare; Durham County, by J. B. Anderson and Historic Preservation Society of Durham; "Bankers Fire Insurance Company, Durham, N. C., condition December 31, 1921, as shown by statement filed," The Landmark, 04/27/1922, p. 3.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Migration East, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Durham, North Carolina

Gordon, Sheryl E.
In 2006, Gordon was the first woman to be hired as a fraud investigator in the Kentucky Office of Insurance. She joined the division is 2005, and is now a special investigator. Gordon graduated from the Department of Criminal Justice's 365th Law Enforcement Basic Training Academy in 2006, she had earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville in 1989. The training academy is located on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. The Kentucky Office of Inusrance is an agency within the Public Protection Office. For more see Sheryl E. Gordon on p.324 in Who's Who in Black Louisville, 2nd ed; and "Department of Criminal Justice Training Graduates 20 Recruits," Press Release, 01/26/2006, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet [online].
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Hall, Henry E. [Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company]
Birth Year : 1876
Death Year : 1936
Henry E. Hall, a Kentucky native, and William H. Wright, a lawyer from Alabama, were the founders of Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. Hall was born in Henderson, KY, the son of Burell and Millie Hall. In 1880, the family of eight lived on Audubon Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Henry Hall attended the local colored school and worked in a tobacco factory. He was a graduate of Hampton Institute [now Hampton University]. Hall would return to Henderson, where he was a school teacher during the school year and worked in a tobacco factory when school was not in session. In 1911, Hall founded the insurance company National Benevolent Union of Kentucky. He did not have a license to operate an insurance company, and was forced to sell the business, which was purchased by Atlanta Mutual, and Hall was hired as the state manager for Kentucky. He would later take on the duties of manager of the health and accident department of the Standard Life Insurance Company of Atlanta until the company was forced out of Kentucky in 1914. Shortly after the company's exit from the state, Hall and Wright formed the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, but the state of Kentucky would not license the company. Hall and Wright took their case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and won. The Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company was officially launched July 12, 1915 at an office on 6th and Liberty Streets in Louisville, KY, with Hall, Wright, Rochelle Smith, and B. O. Wilkerson. The business prospered, and soon district offices were located in Lexington, Paducah, Bowling Green, and Hopkinsville. The main office was replaced by a three-story brick building at 422 S. 6th Street in Louisville. The business continued to prosper and a new six-story building was constructed at 604-12 W. Walnut Street in Louisville. In 1926, William H. Wright died and Henry Hall took over as sole president of Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. The company expanded with offices in Indiana and Ohio. In 1930, the Arkansas branch was sold to Southwestern Insurance Company of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The company weathered the depression years in the 1930s. Henry E. Hall died in 1936, and the company continued. It was the largest African American owned business in Kentucky. In 1992, the company merged with Atlanta Life and the Kentucky offices were closed. Henry E. Hall was the husband of Emma Hall; the couple had four daughters, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. The family lived on Chestnut Street in Louisville in their home, which was worth $5,000. For a more complete history about the business see "The Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, Louisville, Kentucky" on pp. 150-156 in An Economic Detour: a history of insurance in the lives of American Negroes, by M. S. Stuart; Encyclopedia of Louisville by J. E. Kleber; and C. G. Woodson, "Insurance business among Negroes," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 14, no. 2 (April 1929), pp. 202-206. See also the NKAA entry for Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company.

 

  See photo image of Henry E. Hall, top of right hand column, on p.80 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County

Haskins, Ovan
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1986
In 1948, Ovan Haskins purchased land on Newtown Pike in Lexington, KY, for the development of the city's first African American subdivision. The subdivision, approved in 1949, was financed with private capital. The construction of homes began in 1950, and the subdivision was located on a single street named Haskins Drive [a dead end street]. There were to be 26 homes; all but four of the 55'x95' lots had been sold by August 1950. Ovan Haskins was born in Lexington, KY; he was an insurance supervisor and manager and a real estate broker. As a member of the Blue Grass Athletic Club, he helped found the Lexington Hustlers baseball team. He also helped found the Second Street YMCA in Lexington and served with the Lexington Human Rights Commission. A picture of one of the newly constructed homes on Haskins Drive is on p. 74 in Lexington, Kentucky, by G. Smith. The Ovan Haskins Oral History interview is available at the UK Libraries' Special Collections as part of the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project. For more see J. Hewlett, "Former developer Ovan Haskins dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/23/1986, p. B11; "New subdivision for Negroes," Herald-Leader, 05/13/1951, p. 47; and the following articles from the Lexington Leader: "Haskins subdivision groundbreaking," 05/19/1950, p. 25; "Construction started in Haskins addition," 08/07/1950, p. 14; and "Negro subdivision off Newtown Pike begins," 08/22/1950, p. 13.

Access Interview Read about the Ovan Haskins oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Baseball, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hatcher, E. Porter, Jr.
Birth Year : 1936
Hatcher was an insurance agent and real estate broker. He was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly, serving from 1978-1999, representing the 43rd District (Jefferson County). He is one of the few African Americans to garner consecutive re-elections. Hatcher resigned his seat in 1999 and pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. A special election was held and Hatcher was replaced by Louisville 12th Ward Alderman Paul Bather. For more information, contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission and see "Editorial: Hatcher's Resignation," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 12/05/1999.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Hayes, Charles Marion, Sr.
Birth Year : 1889
Death Year : 1970
Charles M. Hayes, Sr., from Springfield, KY, was a founder of the Gibraltar Health and Accident Insurance Company in Indianapolis, IN. He was the first president and actuary of the company. Hayes had worked in insurance in Kentucky; in 1917, he was superintendent of the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company in Hopkinsville, KY [source: Hayes' WWI Draft Registration Card]. He had also served as Dean of West Kentucky Industrial College (now West Kentucky Community and Technical College). Hayes was a WWI veteran, having served with the 92nd Division in France as part of the A. E. F. (American Expeditionary Forces). He had been commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant at the first Officers Training School at Fort Des Moins, IA. After an honorable discharge from the service, Hayes and his wife moved to Cincinnati, OH, and Hayes was employed as an insurance superintendent [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1924, the couple had moved to Indianapolis, and Charles M. Hayes, Sr. was president of the Gibraltar Insurance Company when he sailed to France and Great Britain on business [source: Hayes' U.S. Passport Application, July 2, 1924]. By 1930, the Hayes family members were Charles M. Hayes, Sr., his wife, and son, and they lived on Capitol Avenue in Indianapolis [source: U.S. Federal Census]. From 1940 until his retirement in 1957, Hayes was employed as an interviewer in the U.S. Employment Service and Indiana Employment Security Division. The service division was often accused of segregated and discriminatory hiring practices. Charles M. Hayes attempted to explain the agencies hiring procedures in the Indianapolis newspapers. Hayes was also a member of the NAACP Indianapolis Branch. He was a graduate of Lincoln University (PA) and did graduate work at Columbia University and Indiana University. He was the son of William T. Hayes, and the husband of Eunice M. Hayes (1894-1966) from Hopkinsville, KY. Eunice Hayes was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and had taught school in Hopkinsville. For more see "Charles M. Hayes, Sr.," Indianapolis Recorder, 08/29/1970, p.6; "Eunice M. Hayes," Indianapolis Recorder, 06/25/1966, p.3; "Charles M. Hayes" in W. A. Chambers' column titled "Some People" Say - - In Our Town," Indianapolis Recorder, 01/04/1958, p.2; C. M. Hayes, "Local hiring technique explained by USES aide," Indianapolis Recorder, 07/07/1945, pp.18 & 19 [photo image of Charles M. Hayes included in article]; and "Segregated U.S. Employment Office plans, generally denied by all officials," Indianapolis Recorder, 08/28/1943, pp.1 &3.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Employment Services, Migration North, Military & Veterans, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Springfield, Nelson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Hinnant, Ollen B., II
Birth Year : 1931
Hinnant was born in Lexington, KY. In 1955 he was the first African American graduate of the University of Kentucky Law School, and in 1997 he was the first to be inducted into the school's Alumni Hall of Fame. He was the first African American lawyer for the State Farm Insurance firm in Montclair, NJ. Edmonds Street in Lexington, KY, is named for his grandfather, Rubin Edmonds. For more see M. Davis, "He's Proof that Kids Can Turn Out Fine," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/23/2001.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Lawyers, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hughes, Green Percy
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1930
Hughes was born seven miles outside of Paris, KY, the son of William Henry Hughes, from Vermont, and Delphia Finch Hughes, from Indiana. Green P. Hughes was the husband of Sue B. Hughes, born 1887 in KY, and the family of six lived on Walnut Street in Louisville, KY in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. In 1921, Green Hughes founded and organized the successful business, Domestic Life and Accident Insurance Co., in Louisville, serving as its president. He had retired from the insurance business when he committed suicide August 7, 1930, according to his death certificate, and is buried in Louisville. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Suicide
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jernagin, Cordelia J. Woolfolk
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1977
In 1924, Cordelia J. Woolfolk, born in Frankfort, KY, was a claims adjuster at the National Benefit Insurance Company in Washington, D.C. She was considered a woman who had landed a high position job. The insurance company was founded by Samuel W. Rutherford in 1898, it was an African American-owned business. Cordelia J. Woolfolk had previously worked for an insurance company in Frankfort, KY. According to a 1924 article by Charles E. Stump in the Broad Axe newspaper in Chicago, Cordelia Woolfolk had advanced in the insurance business from her job in Frankfort to her job in Washington, D.C. [source: "Charles E. Stump, the slick old time traveling correspondent...," Broad Axe, 04/19/1924, p.3, paragraph 6 of article]. Prior to working in insurance, she was a school teacher in Bagdad, KY. Cordelia J. Woolfolk was in Washington, D.C. as early as 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. In 1922, her name was on p.1666 in Boyd's Directory of the District of Columbia. She is listed in the 1933 directory and the 1934 directory; Woolfolk was employed as a stenographer and a bookkeeper. In the 1939 directory, she is listed on p.1402, and was employed at the Southeast Settlement House. The establishment was found in 1929 by Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee and provided daycare and recreation for African American children. In 1945, Cordelia J. Woolfolk was a social worker in Washington, D.C. when she married civil rights activist, Rev. William Henry Jernagin (1870-1958), pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and an internationally known church leader and activist. For more see "Jernagin takes bride," Afro-American, 08/11/1945, p.10; and "Dr. Jernagin still active pastor at 88," Afro-American, 10/19/1957, p.3.
Subjects: Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Migration North, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Bagdad, Shelby County, Kentucky / Washington, D. C.

Livisay, Charles H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1990
Charles Livisay was active in civil rights as both a civic leader and politician, and he is also remembered as an outstanding tennis and basketball player and an outstanding basketball coach at Douglass High School. Livisay, born in Lexington, KY, was a graduate of old Dunbar High School and a 1935 graduate of Kentucky State University. He taught for a year at Dunbar High School in Mayfield, KY, but left teaching due to the low pay and took a job with Mammoth Life Insurance. In 1943 he left that job to serve in the U.S. Army. Livisay returned to Lexington and was head basketball coach for 18 years at Douglass High. The team finished second to Louisville Central in the 1953 National Negro basketball tournament held in Nashville, TN, and the team took the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL) championship in 1954. Author Louis Stout credits Livisay as one of the first coaches to institute the "transition" game of basketball. The Douglass teams coached by Livisay had a record of 255 wins and 65 losses. His 1956 basketball team came in second in the KHSAL tournament and took second again in the National Negro basketball tournament. Following school integration, Livisay coached and taught at Bryan Station High School from 1966 until his retirement in 1974. Also while coaching basketball, in 1965, Livisay ran for the 54th District seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives; he lost to Foster Pettit. In 1979, he was appoint to the First District council seat in Lexington to complete the term of the late O. M. Travis. When the term ended, Livisay ran for the seat and was defeated by Edgar Wallace. Livisay also served as president of the Lexington Chapter of the NAACP. His tennis career coincided with his many other activities. Livisay was considered a star tennis player and participated in tournaments such as the one held in 1940 between African American tennis players from Louisville and Lexington. Team members were Albert "Happy" Ray, William Madden, Rice Stone, Leonard Mills, and Coach Ages Bryant. The matches took place in Lexington at Douglass Park. In 1975, Charles H. Livisay was inducted into the Kentucky State University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was inducted into the Dawahares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame. For more see "Tennis stars clash," Lexington Leader, 07/12/1940, p. 7, col. 4; 1993 KHSAA Hall of Fame [.pdf]; Shadows of the Past, by Louis Stout; and S. Brown, "Charles Livisay; civic leader, ex-coach, dies; Black leader was role model in community," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/01/1990, City/State section, p. C1.

 

Access InterviewRead about the Charles Livisay oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball, Civic Leaders, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Tennis, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Lovett, Wilson Stephen
Birth Year : 1885
Wilson S. Lovett was president of the First Standard Bank in Louisville, KY, which was established in 1921 with $50,000. It was the first African American bank in Kentucky. In 1928 the bank had assets of over $600,000. Lovett was also a civil rights activist who was a member of the NAACP and a member of the committee that led to the African American voters' repeal of the first bond effort to expand the University of Louisville. Wilson Lovett was born in New York, the son of Wilson and Annie E. Stevens Lovett, and he grew up in Pennsylvania [sources: 1900 U.S. Federal Census and Ohio Marriages Index]. He was married to Dorothy Payne Lovett (1896-1927), who was born in Kingston, Jamaica; the couple was married in 1924 in Franklin, OH. Wilson Lovett had worked as a stenographer in Alabama, he was employed in the Savings Department of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) [sources: 1910 U.S. Federal Census and Negro Star, 01/27/1933]. Lovett founded the men's basketball team at Tuskegee Institute and was the first head coach from 1908-1909. The team was undefeated, winning all three of their games [see Golden Tigers website]. Wilson Lovett came to Kentucky from Memphis, TN [sources: Indianapolis Recorder, 04/02/1927]. In 1915, he was director of Standard Life Insurance Company in Louisville [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1915, p.900], which was prior to the establishment of the First Standard Bank. When he left the bank in 1929, Wilson Lovett became treasurer of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company. During that same year, he served as secretary of the National Negro Bankers Association. In 1930, Wilson Lovett was president of the Standard Reality Corporation in Louisville [source: Caron's Louisville City Directory for 1930, p.1256], and president of the Credential Bond and Mortgage Company in Cleveland, OH [source: Cleveland (Ohio) City Directory, 1930, p.1056], all while living in Chicago, IL. According to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Wilson Lovett shared his home in Chicago with Henry McGasock, from Kentucky; they lived at 608 E. Fifty-first Street in Chicago. In the census, Lovett is listed as the treasurer of a life insurance company. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; "Two dead, another injured," Indianapolis Recorder, 04/02/1927, p.1; "Business," Negro Star, 08/02/1929, p.1; "Program of National Negro Bankers Association," Plaindealer, 08/02/1929, p.4; and "Boom Wilson Lovett for Register of the Treasury," Negro Star, 01/27/1933, p.1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Basketball, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Migration North, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: New York / Pennsylvania / Tuskegee, Alabama / Memphis, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Cleveland, Ohio

Lynem, Carl Irving
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1966
Lynem was the first African American member of the Lexington Board of Education. He had also managed P. K. Sykes successful campaign for city commissioner in 1963. Lynem was a retired Major of the U.S. Army, having served during World War II, according to his U.S. Army Enlistment Record. He was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Marie Hayes Lynem and Rev. Sheeley Lynem, and according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, the family lived in Elmarch, KY. Lynem was an insurance man. He died in a car accident in Henry County, KY, in 1966 and is buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. A picture of Lynem can be seen on p. 96 in Lexington, Kentucky, by G. Smith. For more see Lexington, Heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright. [For more on Rev. Sheeley Lynem, elder of Lexington District in the Kentucky Conference of the AME Church, see p.187 in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.]
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Elmarch, Harrison County, Kentucky / Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Malone, Robert E.
Birth Year : 1888
Death Year : 1944
Born in Louisville, KY, Malone was the last superintendent of the Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal School at Pine Bluff, Arkansas [now University of Arkansas Pine Bluff], 1922-1928. Following Malone's tenure, the head of the school was referred to as the president. Malone was also president of the Southwestern Life Insurance Company in Pine Bluff. He was author of A Study of 520 Rural Negro Homes in North Carolina, published by the North Carolina State Board of Vocational Education. Robert E. Malone was the son of Cora and Edward Malone. In 1900 the family lived on Nineteenth Street in Louisville, KY, and in 1910 they lived on West Magazine Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census, Edward Malone was a porter at the Post Office and his son Robert was a school teacher. Robert E. Malone was the husband of Mattie H. Malone (1891-1931), born in Virginia. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Pine Bluff, Arkansas / North Carolina

Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company
Start Year : 1915
End Year : 1992
A Louisville-based company, Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company was Kentucky's largest African American-owned business, with offices in Lexington and other cities. It was the 80th largest insurance company owned by African Americans in the United States. The main office was located in the 600 block on Walnut Street. The company founders were B. O. Wilkerson, Rochelle I. Smith, William H. Wright, and Henry E. Hall. The company had as many as 750 employees and assets of 30 million dollars. Policies were sold in eight states. In 1992, the company merged with Atlanta Life and the Kentucky offices were closed. For a more detailed history see the "Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company" entry in The Encyclopedia of Louisville by J. E. Kleber; Mammoth Life reference files at the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center; and J. Jordan, "A Mammoth achievement," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/16/04. See the NKAA entry for Henry E. Hall for additional information.

  See the photo images of the personnel at the Lexington Office of the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, 149 Deweese Street, at Kentucky Digital Library.  There are additional photo images with the search "Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company" in the Kentucky Digital Library.
 
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Nichols, George, III
Birth Year : 1960
Born in Bowling Green, KY, George Nichols III was the first African American insurance commissioner in Kentucky (1995-2000) and the first to become president of the 120 year old organization, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Nichols left Kentucky to become senior vice president of the New York Life Insurance Company. He is a graduate of Alice Lloyd College (associate's), Western Kentucky University (B.A.) and the University of Louisville (M.A.). For more see "Nichols finds the right fit," Best's Review, March 2002, p. 7; and SR69.

See photo image and additional information about George Nichols III at "Nichols receives national recognition," 03/28/2012, in The Eagle's Nest, a website by Alice Lloyd College.
 
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Nurse, John Robert
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1964
Born in Louisville, KY, Nurse was the physician-in-charge of infant welfare at Central Louisville Health Center from 1919-1935, a time when infant mortality was beginning to decline. Nurse was also medical director of the Mammoth Life Insurance Company in Louisville, beginning in 1946. He was the son of Robert L. and Pattie Nurse. In 1900 the family of four lived on Oak Street in Louisville, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1923
End Year : 1967
The following information comes from Julian Jackson, Jr., Historian of the (old) Dunbar Alumni Association. The original school was a wooden structure named Russell High School. In 1921, William H. Fouse was instrumental in convincing the city of Lexington and the Education Board to build a new school for Negro children. Two years later the school was completed at 545 North Upper Street, with W. H. Fouse as the principal. The school was named after poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose mother Matilda and father Joshua were from Kentucky. The funding for the school was unusual because it came from taxes on both African Americans and whites. (In 1921, Lexington tax dollars for education were still somewhat segregated.) The school was the first African-American high school accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, one of eight such schools in the South. Fouse also helped create the first school bank and the first insurance program within Dunbar. He also helped develop regional literacy and art competitions, and the school had a championship debate team, sponsored by alumnus Cecil Posey. Dunbar students also participated in two interracial debate competitions: The Thrift Competition, supported by the Thrift Service Company of New York, which offered $75 in prize money; and the Bible Study Contest, sponsored by the YMCA and the YWCA. The Dunbar boys' team won $61 in prize money and took first place in the statewide interracial debate competition in which the girls' team placed second. Dunbar served the African American community for 44 years with three different principals: W. M. Fouse, 1923-1938; P. L. Guthrie, 1938-1966; and Clara Wendell Stitt, 1966-1967. Students who attended Dunbar received a well-rounded, quality education, the majority graduated on time, and many went on to college. Former students with additional information may contact Julian Jackson, Jr. at (859) 255-6328 or jrattler49@aol.com. See also R. Bailey, "Lexington's Black community found magic at Dunbar," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/16/1986, p.B1. See also the NKAA entry African American Schools in Lexington and Fayette County, KY. See also, the three files labeled "Fouse Papers (W. H. Fouse)" in the Fayette County section of Box 7 of the Kentucky Education Collection, Series I.
 
See the photographs taken at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, 540 North Upper Street, Lexington, KY, images in Explore UK.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Price, Julius Elliott, Sr.
Birth Year : 1938
Death Year : 1983
In 1955, Julius E. Price, Sr. was the first African American from Kentucky to be appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point by a Kentucky Congressman. Price was from Louisville, KY, and had just graduated from high school when he received the appointment from Senator Earle C. Clements. Price attended West Point for one year, then he got married and transferred to Wabash College. Price was the second African American student at the school and the second to graduate. He returned to Louisville where he would become president of Mammoth Life Insurance Company; Price's grandfather had been a founding member of the company. For more see "Kentucky Boy, 17, appointed to West Point," Jet, 06/02/1955, p.4 [available at Google Book Search]; and R. Wedgeworth, "Contradictions in American life: the inaugural John W. Evans Lecture" at Wabash College, 10/01/2008 [available online].

See photo image of Julius E. Price, Sr. on p.136 in Ebony, May 1975.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Smith, Elijah Strong
Smith, born in Henderson, KY, was a graduate of State University [later named Simmons College] in Kentucky. He moved to Alabama and was employed at the Union Mutual Aid Association in Mobile; the insurance company was started by C. F. Johnson, one of the wealthiest African American men in Alabama. Union Mutual Aid Association was incorporated in 1898, and had over $170,000 in income in 1913. Elijah Smith excelled within the company and after a short time was a district manager. He would soon become the district manager of the Tuscaloosa area. Smith was also president of the Negro Business Men's League in Tuscaloosa, a delegate to the national league in 1912, and secretary of the state league in 1916. He also held a number of positions within the Tuscaloosa Baptist Church and was president of the District Baptist Young People's Union and an advisory member of the Federation of Colored Women of Alabama. For more see "Elijah Strong Smith" in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and for more on C. F. Johnson and the Union Mutual Aid Association see vol. 2, p. 208 of The Story of the Negro, by B. T. Washington [available full-text at Google Book Search]; and pp. 1134-1135 in the Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Alabama for year ending December 31, 1913 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Negro Business League, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Mobile and Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Smith, James E. "J.E."
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1969
Smith was elected State Representative for the 42nd District, serving 1964-1968, and was a delegate to the 1964 Democratic Presidential Convention. He was president of the National Negro Insurance Association and co-founder of the Domestic Life and Accident Insurance Company. Smith graduated from Jacksonian College in Jackson, Michigan. He was the husband of Vera Smith and father of Charlotte McGill. The family lived in Louisville, KY. For more see the Smith/McGill Family Papers, 1879-1987 at the University of Louisville; and contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Stevenson, William H.
Stevenson was the founder and president of the Stevenson-Gregory Co-operative Fire Insurance Company in Lexington, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Travis, Oneth M., Jr.
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 1979
O. M. Travis was born in Monticello, KY, the son of Fannie Goss Travis and Oneth Travis, Sr. Oneth Jr. had a real estate office on E. 3rd Street in Lexington, KY, he was a real estate agent and an insurance agent. In 1979, he was one of two African American council members in Lexington, KY; prior to his sudden death, Travis was seeking his fourth term as council member of the 1st District, a predominately African American area northeast of downtown Lexington. The other African American council member was Bob Finn, who represented the 2nd District, another predominately African American area. One of the fights led by Travis was against the referendum for the East Short Street Urban Renewal Project proposal to clear 80 acres, said to be slums, bound by East Main, Third Street, and Midland Avenue, and cut through by Corral and DeWeese Streets. Travis wanted the city to enforce the building code for the area and the properties be brought up to standard, rather than the area being completely razed and replaced with new housing. Oneth Travis, Jr. was the husband of Leola Madison Travis, the family lived at 188 Eddie Street in Lexington. He was a graduate of Wilberforce University. For more see "Travis recalled as strong voice for blacks here," Lexington Leader, 03/22/1979, p.A-3; "The empty chair: Council honors Travis, the man who sat there," Lexington Leader, 03/23/1979, p.A-1; and B. L. Mastin, "Panel sought referendum on Urban Renewal plan in '64," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/13/1984, Lifestyle section, p.D5.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

True Reformers
Start Year : 1872
End Year : 1930
The True Reformers began in 1872 as an affiliated organization for African Americans who were not allowed to become members of the Independent Order of Good Templars in Kentucky. The initiative is said to have come from Colonel John J. Hickman (who was white), from Lexington, KY. Hickman is remembered for his temperance advocacy and leadership in the United States, and the Good Templar lodges he organized in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Man. Hickman did not oversee the True Reformers in Kentucky and other southern states, these were independent lodges managed by African Americans, and the lodges limped along during the first decade, several folded. In 1881, William Washington Browne, a former slave born in Virginia, was elected head of the Grand Fountain of the True Reformers in Virginia, and he is credited for the revival of the True Reformers. He developed the Virginia organization into a successful fraternal insurance society that owned businesses, including a bank and the newspaper The Reformer. The structure of the Virginia organization was applied to True Reformers in northern cities and in cities located in upper southern states. The True Reformers continued to exist until the early 1930s, around the beginning of the Great Depression. William Browne's success with the True Reformers was due to his ability to redirect the True Reformers away from temperance and prohibition, to more practical issues that African Americans faced. The organization was a trend setter for the operation of other African American fraternal organizations and it impacted the insurance business by redefining premium terms and benefits, and how they were handled by a national organization. True Reformers promoted self-help and introduced African Americans in 20 states to business, management, and entrepreneur practices. The True Reformers Hall in Louisville, KY, was located at 822 W. Walnut Street, according to the 1909 city directory. For more see D. T. Beito, "To advance the "Practice of Thrift and Economy": fraternal societies and social capital, 1890-1920," Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Spring 1999, vol.29, issue 4, pp.585-612; see the entry "Grand United Order of the True Reformers" in Organizing Black America by N. Mjagkij; The Black Lodge in White America by D. M. Fahey; and Twenty-Five Years History of the Grand Fountain of the United Order of True Reformers, 1881-1905 by W. P. Burrell and D. E. Johnson. For more on Colonel John J. Hickman, see his entry in History of Boone County, Missouri by the St. Louis Western Historical Company, 1882, pp.881-883 [available at Google Book Search]
Subjects: Alcohol, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Virginia / United States

Valentine, Lee A.
Birth Year : 1910
Born in Mayfield, KY, Valentine was an insurance salesman with the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, beginning in 1946. He was also responsible for leading the campaign to build a new 10-room elementary school for African American children. Valentine was vice president of the Elizabeth City Civic and Welfare League and publicity chairman of the NAACP chapter. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Social Workers, Migration East, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Wheeler, John Leonidas
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1957
John L. Wheeler left teaching to become a leader within the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, the largest African American owned business in the U.S. He was an 1897 graduate of Wilberforce College [now Wilberforce University]; immediately after graduating, he became a faculty member at Kittrell College, where he would become a president of the school for four years. [Kittrell College was a Black College in North Carolina, 1886-1975. The location is now Kittrell Job Corps Center.] In 1908, Wheeler left Kittrell College to accept a position with North Carolina Mutual, where he would become superintendent of the Raleigh District. Wheeler would later move to the records department in the Durham office. He also served as master of the Knights of Pythias while in Durham. He invested in real estate and owned property in North Carolina, Ohio, and New York. In 1913, Wheeler was named the North Carolina Mutual state agent for Georgia. In 1922, he was elected to the company's board of directors and in 1927 was named regional supervisor. In 1930, Wheeler was insurance superintendent in Atlanta, GA, and would become assistant director of agents in charge of the southern region. In Atlanta, he was also a member of the NAACP, the Negro Business League, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Wheeler was born and raised in Nicholasville, KY, the son of Phoebe Wheeler, a former slave. He was the husband of Margaret Hervey (b. in 1880 in KY). For more see John Leonidas Wheeler in History of the American Negro and His Institutions, 1917, edited by A. B. Caldwell [online at Google Book Search]; and in An Economic Detour, by M.S. Stuart [online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Migration East, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina / Atlanta, Georgia

 

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