Life and legacy of John Henry Merrick, founder of NC Mutual and a leader of Black Wall Street

John Henry Merrick was working at W.G. Otey’s barbershop in the late 1800s, serving some of the most prominent men in Raleigh, North Carolina, when an undisclosed misunderstanding with Otey got him fired.

Otey was a prominent black entrepreneur whose barbershop was located inside what was then the finest hotel in Raleigh, The Yarborough.

Merrick was born into slavery, and worked his way up from brickyards to shining shoes to the barber business…