John Merrick (1859–1919) was an American businessman. Born into slavery in Clinton, North Carolina, Merrick founded various companies in the Raleigh, North Carolina and Durham, North Carolina areas, most notably the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Portions of his wealth were channeled back into the black community through philanthropy. His business acumen and social consciousness made him one of the most influential members of the African-American community in his lifetime.
John Merrick was recognized alongside C.C. Spaulding Sr. and Richard Fitzgerald as Main Honorees by the Sesquicentennial Honors Commission at the Durham 150 Closing Ceremony in Durham, NC on November 2, 2019. The posthumous recognition was bestowed upon the group for their contributions to Durham as innovative leaders who established one of the nation's strongest African American entrepreneurial enclaves.