“Just a Little Insurance”

Working Outside of Durham’s Black Businesses

Working outside of black neighborhoods also took courage. 

Most of the policyholders and patrons of Black Wall Street did not work there, nor in the black business district of Hayti. They worked at great risk on the other side of the veil—in white Durham. They labored for low wages in white households and in tobacco fields and factories.

Yet, to succeed, Durham’s black middle class and their businesses relied on the dollars and support of their poor and working-class neighbors. 

For workers like Dora Scott Miller, a bank loan meant a lifeline during crisis, and a life insurance policy meant “peace of mind” that they would be able to die in dignity.

No benefits, nothing but just a little insurance when you was deceased.

Dora Scott Miller, employee, American Tobacco Company