6 African-American Institutions That Have Lasted Over Time

April 18, 2011  |  

In this age of abbreviated attention spans, instant obsolescence, digital romance, and satellite telephones, there are still some things that deserve to be tucked away in a category of old favorites — things that have the patina of age that are as beloved now as they were years ago. These favorite “things” (social organizations, businesses, institutions, etc.) have persisted over the years because we turn to them again and again as they continue to satisfy us, renew us, or simply “take us back” to places we want to go.  Here are a few of our oldest and favorite things:

E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Co.

In a sense, John T. Ward started his moving business in the 1840s—by transporting slaves, according to one writer. Four decades later, in 1881, with a team of horses, a wagon and two helpers, John and his son, William, officially established the Ward Transfer Line, a moving business in Columbus, OH. Eight years later, another Ward son, Edgar Earl, took control of the company, renaming it E.E. Ward Transfer and Storage Company. In 1921, the company finally stopped using horses and turned to motorized equipment.

The company is no longer under the control of the Ward family. In 2001, Eldon Ward, the last Ward family member to own the business, sold it to Brian Brooks and Otto Beatty III. The company, which employs up to 50 people at peak moving times of the year, provides moving and storage services for households and businesses, including international and corporate relocations.  Today, the 130-year-old company is recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as one of the oldest black-owned business in the nation.

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