Here are seven things you probably didn't know were connected to slavery
Updated 9:08 PM ET, Sun July 19, 2020
(CNN)As protesters across the United States continue calling for an end to police brutality and racial injustice, organizations are coming to terms with their racist histories.
Throughout the South, monuments and flags celebrating the Confederacy are being taken down. Companies like Mars and Quaker Oats are planning to change or retire racist brand characters like Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima. And popular music groups such as Lady Antebellum and The Dixie Chicks -- now Lady A and The Chicks -- have changed their names.
But in a country where enslaved Black people were so essential in its rise to global power, it's impossible to stamp out every link to its painful history. Slavery has marked everything from the US Capitol to the alcohol Americans consume.
Here are seven institutions that many people may not know are linked to slavery:
New York Life Insurance Company
One of the largest life insurance companies in the US has admitted that their predecessor company insured the lives of enslaved people for their owners.
In 2001 New York Life provided the New York Public Library its archival records containing insurance policies sold to slave owners.
"Our predecessor company, Nautilus Insurance Company, sold policies on the lives of enslaved persons between 1846-1848," the company said on its website. "We have been open and transparent about this brief and regrettable period of our history, with the Nautilus sale of slave policies covered in news accounts and books dating back to 1895."
Nautilus insured more than 500 people "either identified as enslaved persons or from the records are likely to have been enslaved" and paid the claims of 15 of those who died, according New York Life.
"We have made clear through our words and our actions for many years that our predecessor company's involvement with slavery is a stain on our history that we can never forget. We are committed to fostering a greater understanding of slavery in America and supporting the Black community," New York Life said on its website.
A company spokesperson told CNN that while New York Life cannot change its history, its long-standing recognition of that history has helped shape its commitment to the Black community.
Amid racial injustice protests across the country, the hashtag #CancelYale began trending in June. It began with a bulletin on 4chan -- the online message board that frequently features extremist content -- according to the Yale Daily News. It then gained steam after Jesse Kelly, host of the nationally syndicated show "I'm Right with Jesse Kelly," tweeted that Yale University was named after slave trader Elihu Yale.
"I call on @Yale to change it's name immediately and strip the name of Yale from every building, piece of paper, and merchandise. Otherwise, they hate black people. #CancelYale," Kelly's tweet read.
While the motivation behind the hashtag may have been to troll liberals and cancel culture, there is some truth behind Yale's namesake. Elihu Yale was a slave trader who profited from the sale of human lives. The school's president told the Yale Daily News in June that there has been no consideration in changing the school's name.
Yale has also launched the Yale Slavery and Abolition Portal to help researchers and students "find primary sources related to slavery, abolition and resistance."
Yale University turned down CNN requests for comment.
Yale has also addressed a building named after a leader who supported slavery. In 2017, after months of campus protests, the school changed the name of one of its undergraduate residential colleges to Grace Hopper College from Calhoun College, named after John C. Calhoun, a white supremacist who called slavery a "positive good."
Many US universities also have ties to slavery. Harvard and Princeton had presidents who owned enslaved people. At public universities like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, enslaved people worked on campus or helped build campuses. Some schools, like Georgetown University, sold enslaved people to pay off debts and keep the school running.
CSX Transportation owns a railroad that was built by enslaved people.
The Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad in Virginia -- acquired by CSX in 2003 -- owned and hired enslaved Black people from 1834, when it was chartered, until the end of the Civil War in 1865, according to The Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
"The company shares the nation's deep remorse for the shameful institution of slavery and racial discrimination that has occurred in the country," Cindy Schild, a CSX spokeswoman, told CNN in an email. "CSX opposes any form of discrimination and is committed to raising awareness regarding racial