The Afro-American Insurance Company Building was constructed c. 1909 by William W. Smith, an African American architect and builder from Charlotte, North Carolina. It housed the local office of the Afro-American Insurance Company.
This company, with offices in several southeastern states, was one of several insurance companies owned and operated by African Americans. The Rock Hill building was evidence of the growing market for business and professional services for the emerging African American middle class.
The building has housed a number of black-owned businesses including a restaurant, grocery stores, and seafood shops in addition to the insurance office.
The building shares a number of common design elements with other buildings that William Smith designed and built including a formal composition, strong use of corbelling, and a mixture of different colors of brick.