‘Black Wall Street’ icon NC Mutual Life Insurance Company begins liquidation process

DURHAM, NC — Tuesday marked the end of an era as a judge approved the liquidation of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company during a virtual court hearing.

The company started in 1898 by seven Black men. It became the largest and oldest Black-owned insurance company in the country.

“The liabilities have exceeded its assets by at least $78 million-plus,” said Dan Johnson with the Attorney General’s Office.

In September 2021, the company filed a motion for an order of liquidation. The company was in too much debt and ran out of money.

North Carolina Mutual Life gave insurance to Durham’s Black residents when white-owned operations would not. It is credited for helping to give Durham its nickname and reputation as “Black Wall Street.” The company was also known for its office building along 411 West Chapel Hill St., which is now occupied by other tenants.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this,” said Judge AG Shirley.

The history of “Black Wall Street” is what inspired Dorian Bolden to open Beyú Caffè in 2009 at 341 West Main St.

“Even back then, with a Duke degree and working in finance, it was still very challenging,” Bolden said.

Bolden said he quickly encountered the financial barriers of opening a small, Black-owned business.

“You look at the historic nature of a lot of startups, Black entrepreneurs, they don’t have the assets or a family that can provide an influx of cash that will allow you to go get a loan or open up a business in a traditional way,” Bolden said.

Bolden explained how he would remember North Carolina Mutual Life.

“Although it is sad, it’s also a celebration of what they did, and how we need more of that to continue the bridge and the legacy for others to come behind

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Wells: Here’s how to help yourself avoid most legal problems | Local

I have been privileged to write a monthly legal column for the Winston-Salem Journal for nearly 20 years. After writing 200-plus columns, and conducting a like number of legal talks for companies, non-profits, educational institutions, service organizations and bodies of faith, what do most citizens want and need to know about the law?

This: The best legal problems are the ones which never happen. To show citizens how they can often help themselves and avoid many legal problems. And to point citizens to attorney organizations and resources that try to provide to the public solid direction, often without charge or for a very modest expense for those in financial need.

1. General Legal Information.

  • The North Carolina Bar Association Lawyer referral line. A citizen in North Carolina in any geographical area and concerning most any legal issue may receive a 30-minute conference with a knowledgeable attorney for no more than $50. (800-662-7660).
  • The North Carolina Bar Association also has a number of other free or low-cost services. Legal Aid helpline of NC. (www.legalaidnc.org; 866-219-5262); NC Free Legal Answers. (www.freelegalanswers.org); and NC Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program. (www.nc-leap.org.
  • What do you get for free or next-to-free from an attorney? Actually, a lot. Knowledge of the law in a free society is great power. Take advantage of these useful services the North Carolina Bar Association and other non-profits provide, especially for those with limited financial means.

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2. Home Construction Projects.

  • Home construction projects go better if you have a solid contractor and a solid contract. Many calls and emails I get concern these legal and practical issues. A good and ethical contractor avoids many issues. Contact the Home Builders Association of Winston-Salem and see what it suggests. www.hbaws.net. (336-768-5942). This website also provides other useful tips.
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Supreme Court move allows Jackson to take part in race case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday took a step that will allow new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the court, to take part in a case that could lead to the end of the use of race in college admissions .

Jackson, who joined the court June 30 following the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, had pledged during her confirmation hearing to sit out the case involving Harvard’s admissions policy because she was a member of the school’s board.

The Harvard dispute had been joined to a similar lawsuit involving the University of North Carolina. The court split the case in two, allowing Jackson to hear arguments and vote in the North Carolina case. Harvard is a private institution, while North Carolina is a public university.

Jackson’s participation seems unlikely to make much difference in the outcome on a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that is skeptical of the role of race in education, voting and other areas.

Arguments over one of the new term’s most highly anticipated issues will probably take place in November or December, but no date has been announced yet.


Jackson was a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers from 2016 until the spring. It is made up of alumni and is one of Harvard’s two governing bodies. She is a graduate of both of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Three other justices also got their law degrees from Harvard: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Roberts also was a Harvard undergraduate and Kagan was the law school dean for a time.

But none of the other justices has any current or recent role with the university.

Federal law requires all judges to recuse from cases in which their “impartiality might reasonably be

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