8. African Society for Mutual Relief — 42 Baxter Street, Five Points Area

The African Society for Mutual Relief functioned as an all-encompassing safety net, offering health insurance, a form of life insurance, and assistance in paying for burial costs–in return for dues. It functioned as a school, a meetinghouse and a stop on the Underground Railroad. Formed in 1808, the organization moved to 42 Baxter Street in 1820, thanks to the generosity of former Haitian slave Juliet Toussaint. A New York state government building currently occupies the original location of the Society.