EDITORIAL: Building Black Wealth Now and Later

This week, more than 100 African-American New York Life Insurance agents celebrated in the nation’s capital a feat that some believed was impossible six years ago. They achieved the goal of generating $50 billion of life insurance protection among African-Americans. The celebration went far beyond the agents meeting their sales goals, but focused on the larger picture of helping African-Americans build wealth that will support their families and change lives for generations to come.

Credit goes to the late Cirilo McSween, hired by New York Life in 1958. He was the treasurer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the first African-American insurance agent at New York Life. It is his legacy and achievements in Chicago that inspired Eugene Mitchell, New York Life’s African-American Market Manager, to fulfill McSween’s vision of “helping African-Americans live a better life.” Credit also goes to Maggie Anderson, author of “Our Black Year,” the true story of an upper-middle-class black family’s quest to purchase only from Black-owned businesses for one year, and now a lifetime.

The African-American Empowerment Plan focused on getting 200,000 families to understand the value of purchasing $250,000 of life insurance each to help future generations purchase homes, pay college tuition, start or sustain businesses, create jobs and invest in the next generation.

This effort is long overdue in the black community and the true heroes are those black families that believe in investing in themselves and the next generation.

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