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Our Founders
Founders and Early Builder

John Merrick - the first dreamer and leader. A former slave, who learned to read and write in a Reconstruction School. He later became a brick mason in Raleigh, North Carolina and learned the barber trade during a lull in construction. Subsequently, he moved to Durham owning several barber shops, some of which catered to wealthy white men. He was involved in real estate and the Royal Knights of King David, a fraternal benefit society. It was there, Merrick got the notion of life insurance from the very popular mutual benefit societies developing in the south. A seed had been planted. Merrick was born on September 7, 1859 and died August 6, 1919.


Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore - A humanitarian. Born September 6, 1863 of free parents. He taught high school for several years and attended medical school at Shaw University's Leonard Medical School. He was the first Black person to practice medicine in the city of Durham. Dr. Moore was the Company's first treasurer and wielded wide influence in the city. He was instrumental in starting other enterprises such as a drug company, Lincoln Hospital and a library. He became president of the Company following Merrick's death in 1919. He devoted full time to working for North Carolina Mutual until his death in 1923.


Charles Clinton Spaulding - The builder. Born in Columbus County, North Carolina, August 1, 1874. He came to Durham at age twenty and attended high school graduating in 1898. He began his career as a part-time agent with the Company and went on to become general manager in less than a year. Spaulding served in various capacities, i.e., as agent, clerk, janitor and general manager. He was named president in 1923, a post he held until his death in 1952. In addition to his career in life insurance, he was widely respected. Mr. Spaulding served on Howard University's board of trustees from 1936 until his death in 1952


Success Story
A short film about the "Mutual" that was a featured trailer in black movie theaters circa 1940. Play Video >