Former Maryland Slave Insurers Records Released

This is going to be a gem for a lot of genealogists...

From the Baltimore Sun:

Insurance companies doing business in Maryland will have to disclose their
histories of slavery-related insurance before 1865, under a bill signed into law
this week.

Similar initiatives have become law in California, Illinois and Iowa, and
advocates say the mandatory disclosures will add to public knowledge of the
slave-era economy in Maryland.

"As a genealogist and someone interested in my own history, this allows me
to look at records that perhaps are not public records and that are held by
insurance companies," said Sen.
A. Gladden
, a Baltimore Democrat who sponsored the bill unanimously passed
by the General Assembly this year.

Gladden said the bill is an initiative of students at the University of
Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, where the published reports will be stored.

Under the bill, insurance companies will have to submit by 2011 a
report documenting each "slaveholder insurance policy" they issued in Maryland
before 1865.

Such policies in slave states like Maryland insured slaveholders against a
slave's death or injury. The insurance of slaves "was hugely profitable,"
Gladden said. "The [law students] saw this as an academic exercise looking at
the economic implications of slavery."

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