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The Black Star Line was incorporated 102 years ago today

Black Star Line Stock certificate
Black Star Line Stock certificate

Today June 27, 2015 2021 marks 96 102 years since the incorporation of the Black Star Line by Marcus Garvey and members of the UNIA. The Black Star Line was incorporated in Delaware on June 27, 1919.

Date of incorporation

Screenshot of the Black Star Line corporate status from the Delaware Secretary of State website.
Screenshot of the Black Star Line corporate status from the Delaware Secretary of State website.

The initial authorized capital of the Black Star Line was $500,000. The initial shares were only 100,000 selling for $5 each. In six months the Market Capitalization of the Black Star Line was increased to $10,000,000 at a Board of Directors meeting held on November 14, 1919.

The first directors of the Black Star Line were Marcus Garvey, Edgar M. Grey, Richard E. Warner, George Tobias, Jeremiah Certain, Henrietta Vinton Davis, and Janie Jenkins.

The Officers of the corporation elected at the first Directors meeting were:

  • President — Marcus Garvey
  • First Vice Preseident — Jeremiah Certain
  • Second Vice President Henrietta Vinton Davis
  • Treasurer — George Tobias
  • Secretary — Richard E. Warner
  • Assistant Secretary — Edgar M. Grey
  • Assistant Treasurer — Janie Jenkins
UNIA International Organizer, Black Star Line Director and BSL Second Vice President The Honorable Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis.
UNIA International Organizer, Black Star Line Director and BSL Second Vice President The Honorable Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis.

The Black Star Line is more than just a commercial venture In addition to it being a model for teaching Black children the details of corporations and how they operate from a Black perspective, the BSL possibly is not only the first members owned corporation but also an early example of an employee owned corporation. The directors and officers were required to be members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, an organization founded by Marcus Garvey. Additionally, any member of the UNIA could be employed in the Black Star Line. As this potentially provided employment for UNIA members it had an economic benefit in that it was sustainable through membership fees from members who were both employees of the corporation and its shareholders. It was the UNIA policy to control the corporation to help the UNIA Parent Body carry out its objectives.

By Nnamdi Azikiwe

The Mhotep Corporation uses its Keyamsha The Awakening brand to heighten perceptions and expand awareness. By producing content that engages, entertains and educates we create value for value relationships with our audience for mutual benefit. Mhotep is derived from the name of the architect and builder of the first pyramid in Kemet, so-called ancient Egypt. I formed the Mhotep Corporation in 2003 to produce and distribute 3D animation videos based on traditional African stories. Since then it has evolved to being a media production company including books. In a previous life I worked as a systems analyst developing solutions for government and multinational organizations. Born and educated in Washington, D.C. I have traveled to several places including Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria (several times), Ethiopia (several times), Benin, Togo, and South Africa. I am married with three children.

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