Category Archives: Culture & The Arts

Snow Building Exhibit Opening

Opening event for our newest exhibit on the historic Snow Building. Complimentary refreshments and entertainment during December’s Third Friday!

One of the finest Art Deco buildings in North Carolina, the Snow Building of West Main Street, Durham had its distinctive beginning in 1930 at the hands of a woman. Mrs. Anna Exum Snow commissioned the building in the 1920s, a mere few years after women in North Carolina were given the right to vote. This sweeping social change was just the beginning of Durham’s transformation, and the iconic Snow Building became a stalwart witness to this city’s evolution.

...[READ MORE]   Source: Durham History Hub

75th anniversary of gathering at NCCU to discuss issues facing black citizens during 1940’s

Friday, October 20 will mark the 75th anniversary of a landmark gathering of Negro academicians, journalists, and activists on the campus of North Carolina College at Durham.  This gathering tackled several looming civil rights issues facing black citizens during the World War II era.

The following article by the late Dr. Ray Gavins of Duke University first appeared in the monthly column in the News and Observer and also in the Triangle Downtowner. It was originally posted on our site in November, 2013. 

Following the Southern Conference on Race Relations, held at Durham’s North Carolina College (NCC) on October 20, 1942, a subcommittee issued on December15 “A Basis for Inter-Racial Cooperation and Development in the South: A Statement by Southern Negroes.”  Touted as the Durham Manifesto, it was a catalyst of the postwar civil rights movement in our state and the South.

The conference broadcast heightening racial injustice and black-white conflict during the war, and needed reform.  Its chairman, editor-publisher P. B. Young of the Norfolk Journal and Guide; secretary-treasurer, professor Luther P. Jackson of Virginia State College; and director, professor Gordon B. Hancock of Virginia Union University, were respected race moderates and its main sponsors.  They sent invitations to seventy-five influential blacks living and working in the South, including W. E. B. Du Bois of Atlanta University.  Fifty-seven attended, five of them women.  Twenty-one supporters wrote letters or telegrams.  Moderates, many affiliated with the Atlanta-based Commission on Interracial Cooperation or state chapters, were common among the conference’s ministers; college and university presidents, deans, and faculty; parochial and public school principals and teachers; businesspeople; newspapermen; physicians; labor union officials; social workers; New Orleans Urban League and Southern Negro Youth Congress representatives.

Among the eleven North Carolinians participating were presidents James E. Shepard of NCC, H.L. McCrorey of Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte H. Brown of Palmer Memorial Institute, and C. C. Spaulding of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.  Defending the decision to omit northern black participation, Hancock, in a Statement of Purpose, declared “the Southern Negro is today speaking for himself. . . .  We are hoping in this way to challenge the constructive cooperation of that element of the white South who express themselves as desirous of a New Deal for Negroes.”  Groups then scrutinized seven issues: political and civil rights; industry and labor; service occupations; education; agriculture; armed forces; social welfare and health.  When proceedings ended, Benjamin E. Mays, president of Morehouse College, recommended writing a statement “commensurate with the possibilities of the occasion.”  Accordingly, the body chose a sub-editorial committee, chaired by sociologist Charles S. Johnson of Fisk University, to write it.

The finished document judiciously stated blacks’ opposition to Jim Crow, plus their civic  priorities, and challenged moderate and liberal whites to join them in pursuing equal citizenship and justice for all.  It announced: “We are fundamentally opposed to the principle and practice of compulsory segregation in our American society, whether of races or classes or creeds, however, we regard it as both sensible and timely to address . . . current problems of racial discrimination and neglect.”  Its key demands included the right to vote; abolition of the poll tax, white primary, harassment of voters, and police abuses; a Federal antilynching law; Negro jury and government representation; fair employment of Negro police officers, defense workers, and workers’ right of collective bargaining; Social Security benefits for service and farm occupations; equalization of    teachers’ salaries, school facilities, and higher education opportunities; ending the segregated U.S. Military; and publicly-funded hospitals’ inclusion of Negro patients.  “The correction of these problems is not only a moral matter,” it concluded, “but a practical necessity in winning the war and in winning the peace.”

The statement drew extensive comment, the bulk of it favorable.  “We commend to both whites and Negroes for careful consideration the Durham manifesto,” the Newport News Daily Press commented, typifying the response of many white newspapers.  “It contains little that is not fundamentally sound–things which American citizens have a right to expect.”  Echoing a general sentiment in the black press, the Houston Informer editorialized that “the conference statement is a historical achievement . . . a charter of Negro rights which all Negroes in the South can adhere to.”  Yet the Durham Carolina Times was critical: “About the only purpose it can serve is to give Negro intellectuals in the South an opportunity to show off by appearing profound . . .  They no more have the leadership of the mass of Negroes in the South than if they didn’t exist.”  Even so, NAACP head Walter F. White endorsed the manifesto, as did Du Bois, who judged that “on the whole the Durham program is a pretty good document. . . .  I would not be unwilling to sign it.”

The manifesto is hardly remembered.  But it initiated all-white and interracial conferences that, by 1944, formed the Southern Regional Council, which became a crucial vehicle for black-white conciliation, voting rights, school desegregation, and other reforms.  It  also paved the way for the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs, North Carolina Committee on Negro Affairs, and North Carolina State Conference of NAACP Branches’ organizing and protests, which reflected the “core of black activism in the South through the 1950s.”

Below, please find other references to this gathering, which is often called, The Durham Manifesto.

UNC  Library Essay on the Durham Manifesto

http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/ncm/index.php/2010/10/01/this_month_oct_1942/

Official Report from the Oct. 20, 1942 Gathering

https://archive.org/details/southernconferen00sout

Obituary for Duke Historian, Ray Gavins (photo courtesy of Duke Today)

https://today.duke.edu/2016/05/gavinsobit

...[READ MORE]   Source: Durham History Hub

New exhibit highlights Durham entrepreneur Nello Teer Sr.– opening event Sept. 15th

Many in Durham have heard the Teer name, but few know the backstory of the family or company it founded. A crippling injury, Jim Crow denouncement, Blue Ridge Parkway contribution, even RDU rattlesnakes — these are just a few of the details found in a tale that spans more than a century and extends to countries around the world. The Museum of Durham History tells that story in its newest exhibit, DON’T QUIT: The Nello Teer, Sr. Story, set to open September 15th at the Museum, 500 W. Main St., and run through December 15th.

The exhibit will launch with a public reception from 6:00pm to 8:30pm on the 15th, coinciding with the Museum’s regular involvement in Durham’s Third Fridays. Complimentary light refreshments and beverages will be available, and jazz guitarist Ashesh Chatterjee will perform under the gazebo. Robb Teer, Nello Sr.’s grandson, will be on hand to sign copies of his book Courage Ever – An American Success Story – Nello L. Teer, Sr. & His Company.

Museum Board member Renee Snyderman is curator for the exhibit, which features vintage images and lively text describing an enterprise that began with a mule team and a wagon and grew into one of the world’s largest construction companies.

“This is a real bootstrap American story,” said the Museum’s Interim Executive Director Patrick Mucklow. “The exhibit lends a uniquely Durham perspective to some of the major events of the 20th century.”

...[READ MORE]   Source: Durham History Hub

A Message from the MoDH

Human history is more than a lifeless list of dates and events. It is the story of people. The Museum of Durham History uses such stories to foster curiosity, encourage further inquiry and promote an understanding about diverse perspectives about the Durham community.

To be responsible, a museum must include ugly chapters of the narrative because these, too, are part of our overall heritage. Slavery was just such a chapter, and we see its lasting effects in the divisiveness that continues to plague America with feelings fueled by symbolic reminders such as monuments, flags and offensive words.

The statue in front of Durham’s old courthouse commemorated Confederate soldiers who’d died in the Civil War. The statue was erected in 1924 and sponsored by the local United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter who may have felt the 1923 Unity monument erected at the Bennett Place surrender site had received inordinate attention. But the courthouse statue, toppled last week, was a reminder of bigotry and oppression, a lightning rod for destructive behavior that has no place in a vibrant, forward-looking Durham.

The museum’s goal is to help Durham learn from its history, not repeat it. We promote a culture of inclusiveness in our telling of Durham’s stories and strongly condemn hate-filled rhetoric and actions whose aim is to denigrate and incite.  A war-weary Abraham Lincoln said it best in his second inaugural address when he urged our nation “with malice toward none, with charity for all … to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

 

OUR MISSION:

The Museum of Durham History is a 21st-century museum that uses stories about people, places and things to foster curiosity, encourage further inquiry, and promote an understanding of diverse perspectives about the Durham community and its history. The museum is putting its mission into action through a personal approach to history that sets this museum apart: an innovative, community model that engages with history through stories—the personal memories, experiences and family lore of our shared heritage.

THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES GUIDE THE MUSEUM’S DAY-TO-DAY FUNCTIONING:

Relevance
We believe that history is relevant to understanding Durham today.

Inclusiveness
The museum documents and shares all of Durham’s stories, particularly those that traditionally have not been made a part of the historical record.

Inquiry
We confront difficult issues, encourage questions, and listen and learn from each other.

Innovation
We take risks and experiment; success and failure are opportunities for learning.

Trustworthiness
The museum continually works to earn the trust of its community, partners and supporters.

...[READ MORE]   Source: Durham History Hub

The Listening- Coming Soon!

The Museum of Durham History has developed partnerships with North Carolina Central University and Hayti Heritage Center to develop a traveling exhibit to open in 2018 that will document hip-hop in Durham. This traveling exhibit will highlight Durham’s participation/engagement with all five elements of the culture. This includes celebrating local graffiti artist, DJ’s, B-Boys/B-Girls, Producer’s, Rappers, and Durham based Hip-Hop Scholars.

Late 90’s: Grand Opening of MADD WAXX, a Black owned record store in Durham

Late 90’s: Grand Opening of MADD WAXX, a Black owned record store in Durham

When consumers typically think of hip-hop and cities who have made historical contributions to the culture, major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston are primarily at the forefront of the conversation. Although small in size in comparison to major cities, Durham has crafted and created hip-hop spaces throughout the city, which has allowed the culture to thrive across the four elements (MC’ing, DJ’ing, B-Boy/B-Girl, and Graffiti).

FLYERS from the early-mid 80's from Funky 4 disco crew (ANT DJ MAJIK RUSH)

FLYERS from the early-mid 80’s from Funky 4 disco crew (ANT DJ MAJIK RUSH)

...[READ MORE]   Source: Durham History Hub
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