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as a means to ensure no one would become impoverished. They served as a primary weapon of resistance. These societies were the central mechanism for collecting and disbursing shared pool of wealth.
Unfortunately, In Georgia, laws were passed to mandate the level of reserves that all insurance companies had to maintain and this was a major problem for many of these black burial associations.
A church benevolent society unable to meet the $5000 reserve sought out Alonzo Herndon, a successful barber and a former slave, to buy them out. Herndon owned three very successful barber shops and he made a fortune from this trade which he invested heavily in real estate. His success in barbering was spectacular, he acquired more than 100 houses,
His arrangement with the Church's benevolent society led Herndon to becoming the most successful black businessmen, the first black millionaire in the country and the founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company; Today, Atlanta Life has assets of over $200 million and operates in 17 states. The Atlanta Life Insurance Company is the largest black-owned stockholder insurance company in America.
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