the Chicago Metropolitan Assurance Company, 1925-1985
ÒReaders in African American history as well as American business history will find this study interesting, informative, and useful for the insights provided on the makings of a northern black business enterprise.ÓÑJuliet E. K. WalkerExamining the evolution of a prominent Chicago insurance company, the author provides a rare glimpse into the origins and operations of an African American business. The Chicago Metropolitan Assurance Company was founded in 1925 to provide burial insurance to working-class black Chicagoans. Over the next 60 years, however, the company expanded to serve African-Americans throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.Discriminatory lending practices by white-controlled banks often inspired pioneering black businesses such as Chicago Met to raise operating and investment capital through creative meansÑsuch as gambling. These companies were crucial to economic development within black communities. They provided white-collar jobs to men and women otherwise denied access to such opportunities and helped create a black bourgeois class and culture. They exemplified black self-help ideology and nationalist inclinations in black working-class communities of the urban North.
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