But E.E. Ward Moving & Storage's crowning achievement is that it has remained the oldest continuously operating black-owned business in the United States, a distinction recognized by the Department of Commerce and mentioned in the Congressional Record.
The company, which started off with just two horses and a wagon, has endured and evolved over the decades. Today, E.E. Ward operates a fleet of about a dozen long haul trucks and two warehouses in Columbus and Charlotte, North Carolina. It is also an agent for the moving company North American Van Lines
"From the early days of E.E. Ward's ownership and management to now, the long legacy of the company and the goodwill it has created within the community is what has sustained it for this long and warranted it to be kept alive," said Brian Brooks, who now co-owns the company with his wife Dominique.
Two horses and a wagon
E.E. Ward's legacy traces back to the 1840s, when John T. Ward served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. He used his horses and wagon to help slaves escape to freedom through a network of hiding places and safe houses.
During the Civil War, Ward scored government contracts to haul supplies and equipment for the US Army. His son, William Ward, eventually took an interest in the business and learned the ropes. In 1881, the two launched the Ward Transfer Line. In 1899, af