Jacksonville in Duval County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Florida's First African-American Insurance Company
The Afro-American Insurance Company, formerly the Afro-American Industrial and Benefits Association, was founded in 1901 to provide affordable health insurance and death benefits to the state's African-Americans. Founded by the Reverend E.J. Gregg, E.W. Latson, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, A.W. Price, Dr. Arthur W. Smith, J.F. Valentine, and the Reverend J. Melton Waldron, the Afro's first office at 14 Ocean Street was destroyed by the great Jacksonville Fire two months after it opened on May 3, 1901. It then moved to 621 Florida Avenue, the home of treasurer and future president, Abraham Lincoln
Lewis (1865-1947). From their next home office at 105 E. Union Street, the company wrote millions of dollars of insurance policies and started district offices in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. Lewis formed the African-American Pension Bureau and in 1935, land was purchased on Amelia Island for the black resort called American Beach. On April 22, 1956, the company dedicated its new, million-dollar building at Ocean and Union Street. After over 80 years of serving black southerners, the company closed on July 17, 1987.
Erected 2001 by A. L. Lewis Historical Society and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-436.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1805.
Location. 30° 19.92′ N, 81° 39.285′ W. Marker is in Jacksonville, Florida, in Duval County. Marker is on E Union Street near Ocean Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 E Union Street, Jacksonville FL 32202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Camp Site of the Forty-Ninth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1914 United Confederate Veterans Reunion (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Monument to Women of the Southern Confederacy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Seminole War Blockhouse Site (approx. ¼ mile away); Jacksonville Young Mens Christian Association (approx. ¼ mile away); King’s Road Meets Apalache TrailJacksonville Public Library (approx. 0.3 miles away); Old Jacksonville Free Public Library (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jacksonville.
Regarding Florida's First African-American Insurance Company. The Afro-American Life Insurance Company was a historic business based in Jacksonville, Florida. It was founded in 1901 by Abraham Lincoln Lewis and his business associates. Up until the creation of this insurance company, black Americans found it difficult to purchase life insurance, which was unaffordable to most blacks at the time. The insurance company also served as a financial institution as well. The company is responsible for the creation of American Beach in Nassau County, Florida.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2017. It was originally submitted on September 19, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 734 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 19, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.