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Spaulding, Asa Timothy

by William S. Powell, 1994

22 July 1902–4 Sept. 1990

Asa Timothy Spaulding, NC Mutual Insurance, from  Dan K. Moore Governors Papers, NC Mutual Press Secretary. Item N_98_5_178, General Negative Collection, State Archives of North Carolina. Asa Timothy Spaulding, insurance company executive, was born in Columbus County, the son of Armstead and Annie Belle Lowery Spaulding. He attended the National Training School of Howard University, was graduated magna cum laude from New York University in 1930, and received an M.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1932. Having joined the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham in 1924, Spaulding served as an actuary from 1933 to 1958, but at different periods he was assistant secretary of the company, 1935 to 1948; a director beginning in 1938; and president from 1959 until his retirement in 1968. In addition, he held related positions with the Winston Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Dunbar Life Insurance Company, the Mutual Savings and Loan Association, and Realty Services, Inc.; he was a director of the Mechanics and Farmers Bank.

At various times Spaulding produced a weekly television program, "Your Community," and was program adviser for the Durham Broadcasting Enterprises. In 1956 he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the inaugural of the president of Liberia and of the national delegation to the UNESCO General Conference in New Delhi, India. He served as vice-chairman of the North Carolina advisory committee to the Commission on Civil Rights (1959–64) and as a member of the steering committee of the Urban Coalition, of the national advisory council of the Airline Passengers Association (beginning 1972), and of the President's Commission on Income Maintenance Programs (1968–70); he was active in numerous other state and national bodies.

Photograph of Dr. Asa T. Spaulding addressing meeting of St. Joseph's AME Church, Durham, NC on Brown v. Board of Education, May 23, 1954.  Item N_99_3_34, General Negative Collection, State Archives of North Carolina.       Following his retirement in 1968 as president of the world's largest black-owned insurance company, Spaulding established a consulting firm that advised numerous businesses across the nation. In 1971 he delivered the annual Business Leadership Lecture at the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration, which was published as Opening Pandora's Box: A Management Dilemma. During his career he contributed to Best's Insurance News, Black Business Digest, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Spaulding received numerous awards including honorary degrees from Shaw University, North Carolina College, Morgan State College, The University of North Carolina, Duke University, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and Howard University. A Baptist, he married Elna Bridgeforth in 1933, and they were the parents of three sons and a daughter: Asa Timothy, Patricia Ann (Mrs. Oscar J. Moore), Aaron Lowery, and Kenneth Bridgeforth.


Ebony Success Library, vol. 1 (1973).

Raleigh News and Observer, 6, 9 Sept. 1990.

Asa T. Spaulding, A Brief History of the Civil Rights Movement Since 1900 (1969).

Walter Weare, "Charles Clinton Spaulding: Middle-Class Leadership in the Age of Segregation," in John Hope Franklin and August Meier, eds., Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century (1982).

Who's Who in America (1980).

Additional Resources:

Guide to the Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, 1909-1997 and undated, bulk 1935-1983. Rubenstein Library, Duke University Libraries. (accessed April 3, 2014).

Oral History Interviews of Asa T. Spaulding, April 1979. Documenting the American South, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed April 3, 2014).

Womble, Bill. "Asa Spaulding: Heads Mutual Life." New & Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 6, 1965. [From the vertical files of the Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina.]

"1st Negro to Get Honor at Duke." News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 15, 1969. [From the vertical files of the Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina.] 

"North Carolina Mutual President Asa Spaulding Meets with John F. Kennedy."  Durham County Courthouse Art Wall. (accessed April 3, 2014). [Image attributed to the Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, Rubenstein Library, Duke University.]

Image Credits:

"Asa Timothy Spaulding, NC Mutual Insurance." Photograph. Dan K. Moore Governors Papers, NC Mutual Press Secretary. Item N_98_5_178, General Negative Collection, State Archives of North Carolina. 

"Dr. Asa T. Spaulding addresses meeting St Joseph's AME Church re. Brown vs Bd of Education, Durham, NC, 23 May 1954." Photograph. May 23, 1954. tem N_99_3_34, General Negative Collection, State Archives of North Carolina.  


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