Insurance ‘to protect their most precious commodity’

“In Richmond, Va., an enterprising New York Life agent sold more than 30 policies in a single day in February 1846. Soon, advertisements began appearing in newspapers from Wilmington, N.C., to Louisville as the New York-based company encouraged Southerners to buy insurance to protect their most precious commodity: their slaves….

“Policy No. 1150 covered Anthony, who labored amid the whirling blades of a sawmill in North Carolina….”

“Insurance Policies on Slaves: New York Life’s Complicated Past” by Rachel L. Swarns in the New York Times (Dec. 18)