Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Sat, 08.01.1874

Charles Spaulding, Businessman born

Charles Spaulding

On this date, Charles Spaulding, a Black business leader, was born in 1874.

Charles Clinton Spaulding was born in Columbus County, North Carolina, and left his father's farm at age 20. He moved to Durham, N.C., where in 1898, he completed what was equivalent to a high school education and became the manager of a black-owned grocery store. In 1899, the recently established North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association hired him as a part-time agent. The following year, he was promoted to full-time general manager, the company’s only full-time position.

Spaulding was an early proponent of saturation advertising, inundating local businesses with promotional items bearing his company's name. In the first decade of the century, the company prospered, establishing subsidiaries and supporting various local businesses. Spaulding was elevated to vice president in 1908 and then to secretary-treasurer in 1919 when the firm officially changed its name to the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. By 1920, the company had over 1,000 employees and several offices along the East Coast.  In 1923, Spaulding became president, a position he held until he died. North Carolina Mutual grew and established more Black-operated subsidiaries in the 1920s. His financial reorganization of the company ensured its survival during the economic depression of the 1930s.

Although best noted for his business leadership, Spaulding was also involved in political and educational issues. As national chairman of the Urban League's Emergency Advisory Council in the 1930s, he campaigned to secure New Deal jobs for Blacks. As chairman of the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs, he engaged in voter registration efforts and convinced city officials to hire Black police officers.  Spaulding also supported education for Blacks while serving as a trustee for Howard University, Shaw University, and North Carolina College.

He built the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company into the nation's largest Black-owned business by his death in 1952, worth about $40 million. Charles Spaulding died in 1952.

To be a Financial Analyst


North Carolina

Reference Library of Black America Volumes 1 through 5
Edited by Mpho Mabunda
Copyright 1998, Gale Research, Detroit, MI

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

She wants a man she can just unfold when she needs him then fold him up again like those 50 cent raincoats women carry in their purses in case... ROADMAP (for J. R.) by Harryette Mullen.
Read More