How Black History Month Puts a Spotlight on RS Thomas
As we mark Black History Month and celebrate the achievements of African Americans throughout history, it is also important to acknowledge one of the difficult aspects of that history: slave insurance. Slave insurance was a contract between policyholders and insurers during the three decades before the Civil War in which they promised payment upon the death of an enslaved person. This practice reveals how slaveholders sought to exploit capitalism for profit off African American enslavement. In this blog, we’ll examine those policies and their implications on our society today.
RS Thomas Training Associates is an African-American-owned business serving the community for over 40 years. This month, we take a moment to recognize their success and pay tribute to their legacy of resilience in the face of adversity.
Moreover, we will look at slave insurance policies and discuss how they have shaped our society today. We will also explore how RS Thomas Training Associates has remained successful despite its long history as a black-owned business. With Black History Month coming up, it’s important to acknowledge these stories of perseverance and celebrate the achievements of African Americans throughout history.
Slave Insurance and its Implications on American history
Slave insurance was a contract between slaveholders and insurers during the three decades before the Civil War in which they promised payment upon the death of an enslaved person. This practice reveals how slaveholders sought to exploit capitalism for profit off African American enslavement.
The Virginia Life Insurance Company and Baltimore Life Insurance Company of Maryland provided policies to slaveholders concerned about the potential fatalities of enslaved people engaged in various occupations. These included people involved in vital tasks such as blacksmithing, carpentry, or household duties. Additionally, those people were doing hazardous labour in factories, mines, railroads, and steamboats. Policies could be purchased to cover the costs of replacing a deceased enslaved person. These policies provided coverage for financial losses incurred due to the accidental death or illness of an enslaved individual. Most policies tended to be concentrated in urban areas, with few plantation owners seeking policies on their field hands.
Moreover, life insurance policies for enslaved people were often expensive and difficult to acquire. For example, companies frequently charged higher premiums for enslaved people than for white people – sometimes as much as double the cost – and typically imposed more stringent health and occupation requirements when considering an application from a person of colour. Furthermore, these policies were also used by enslavers to secure loans or purchase goods, as they could use the policy as collateral.
How Slaveholders Sought to Exploit Capitalism for Profit off African American Enslavement?
Slaveholders sought to exploit capitalism for profit from African American enslavement through slave insurance policies. They often charged premiums on black lives at twice the value of those on white lives and regularly reviewed the policies for changes in health or occupation. For example, Baltimore’s life did not insure enslaved people beyond two-thirds of their total value and prohibited more than one policy on a single person.
Almost 60 per cent of the company’s policies between 1854 and 1860 covered slaves, with many of those policies being sold out of a Richmond office, which opened in 1854. It appears that slaveholders had a sophisticated understanding of how to capitalize on capitalism, utilizing it as means of generating revenue from the enslavement of African Americans.
The Implications Slave Insurance has on Our Society Today
The practice of slave insurance is an important reminder that we must recognize and remember the dark history of slavery in America, even if much time has passed since then. It also serves as an example of how institutions can abet immoral practices for personal economic gain. It also reveals how power imbalance among race and social status can be perpetuated.
Although it is no longer a practice today, it is essential to acknowledge how it has impacted our society and how its presence affects us even now. It is significant to understand our past to move forward and create a more equitable future for all people.
Why it is Important to Acknowledge this Difficult Aspect of Our History during Black History Month?
Acknowledging this difficult aspect of history serves as a reminder that power imbalance among race and social status can still be perpetuated even in modern times. We must remember these injustices to move forward towards creating an equitable future for everyone, regardless of race or social status. For over four decades, RS Thomas Training Associates has earned a stellar reputation for excellence in the insurance and financial services industries. Our commitment to quality training that inspires positive transformation within businesses is one way we aim to create an even brighter future. Together we can make sure that everyone, regardless of their background, is given the same opportunities to thrive in life.
The practice of slave insurance, which was rampant in America during the nineteenth century, is an essential reminder of the dark history of African American enslavement. Greedy slaveholders took advantage of capitalism, profiting off the lives of enslaved people by charging double for black people’s policies compared to that of white individuals. This premium was constantly reviewed as their health or occupation changed over time. This exploitative practice reveals the power imbalance between race and social status that can be perpetuated even in modern times, which is why it is important to acknowledge this difficult aspect of our history during Black History Month.
When it comes to insurance, you want to ensure that you protect the people and things you care about most. Contact us today for more information about insurance and other policies available. Let’s make a better tomorrow together.