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Burrell, W. P.
Typed Letter Signed, Office of the Secretary, National Negro Insurance League, East Orange, New Jersey, to A. W. Holmes, President, National Ideal Benefit Society, Richmond, Virginia, circa 1910

Quarto, one page, old folds, in good clean, legible condition.

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A form letter, sent by the National Negro Insurance League, to African American Insurance companies seeking enrollment in their organization.


“Dear Sir:-

      I am sending you by this mail a copy of the Constitution of the National Negro Insurance League.

      This organization is one of the affiliated bodies of the National Negro Business League of which Dr. Booker T. Washington is President, and it is the hope of the organizers that every insurance man in the country will become a member. We must co-operate if we expect to have success. Please let us have your application for membership which will only cost you one dollar. This will enroll you as an active member and will entitle you to the benefit of all investigations and reports made by the organization. Arrangements have already been made for the publication of a weekly column in the Eastern Observer of Montclair, N.J. Prominent white and colored insurance men are now sending in contributions on important subjects.

     These columns will be open to all members and the editor W. P. Burrell, will receive and publish articles. Let us hear from you by return mail. … W.P. Burrell…”


The National Negro Business League (NNBL) was an American organization founded in Boston in 1900 by Booker T. Washington to promote the interests of African-American businesses. The mission and main goal of the National Negro Business League was "to promote the commercial and financial development of the Negro." It was recognized as "composed of negro men and women who have achieved success along business lines". It grew rapidly with 320 chapters in 1905 and more than 600 chapters in 34 states in 1915.


In 1966, the League was renamed and reincorporated in Washington D.C. as the National Business League. It remains in operation.


The National Negro Business League (NNBL) was established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900 by Booker T. Washington. The effort was supported by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.


The organization was formally incorporated in 1901 in New York,  and established 320 chapters across the United States. In May 1913, a respected Black journalist, Ralph Waldo Tyler was elected as the first National Organizer of the NNBL. Tyler's role was to travel throughout the Southern United States and document the state of negro businesses and encourage enrollment in the NNBL.


The League included Negro small- business owners, doctors, farmers, other professionals, craftsmen, etc. Its goal was to allow business to put economic development at the forefront of getting African-American equality in the United States. Business was the main concern, but civil rights came next. In 1905 the Nashville, Tennessee, chapter protested segregation in local transit with a boycott. Booker T. Washington felt that there was a need for African Americans to build an economic network and allow that to be a catalyst for change and social improvement. Also, extant press releases indicate that "the League organized the National Negro Business Service to 'help… the Negro business men of the country solve their merchandising and advertising problems,' promoted advertising in Negro newspapers and magazines, and 'influenced . . . national advertisers to use Negro publications in reaching this importantly valuable group of people with its tremendous purchasing power.'”


After the death of Booker T. Washington in 1915, the League was headed by his successor at Tuskegee, Robert Russa Moton. Albon L. Holsey, an executive at Tuskegee, was executive secretary of the League. Other leaders in 1922-23 were John L. Webb, treasurer (succeeding Charles H. Anderson), and Charles Clinton Spaulding, head of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Durham, North Carolina.


Affiliated professional organizations included: the National Negro Bankers Association, the National Negro Press Association, the National Association of Negro Funeral Directors, the National Negro Bar Association, the National Association of Negro Insurance Men, the National Negro Retail Merchants' Association, the National Association of Negro Real Estate Dealers, and the National Negro Finance Corporation.[5] The National Negro Bankers Association was organized at a meeting of the League in 1906 by Birmingham's William R. Pettiford


The organization inspired Robert R. Church Sr. to open Solvent Savings Bank in Memphis, Tennessee in 1906.