Michael Palmer

"Wealth is in relationships. And if you wanted to measure that wealth, it is in the number of people that show up to your funeral. Because if people care enough, they’re gonna take time outta their lives to acknowledge yours."

- Michael Palmer

In his current position as Senior Outreach Coordinator at Self-Help Credit Union, and in past positions as the Assistant Vice President of the Office of Community Affairs at Duke University and as the Deputy County Manager for the Durham County government, Michael Palmer has embodied a career of service to Durham residents. In the future, Mr. Palmer plans to continue mentoring the younger people in his life and acting as a role model for his children and grandchildren.

Michael Palmer - On his family, education, and career

Michael Palmer - On his family, education, and career

As the son of a man in the Navy Michael Palmer grew up all over the East Coast, which helped shape him into the person he is today. While his mother passed away when he was young, his father always stepped up to be the best role model that he could be for his sons. Mr. Palmer talks about living at home in a Black world, but going to school in a white world as he and his brother were put in local Catholic schools growing up. As a student, he was popular, academically driven, and athletic. He speaks fondly of his wife Desiree, meeting her at a party in college and being persistent in his love for her until they were both in the right mindset to get married. After a poor encounter with a racist teacher in school, Mr. Palmer decided to never major in the “soft sciences” and shifted to accounting where answers were straightforward. While he and Desiree resided in Boston during their earlier years, they eventually moved to Durham, North Carolina to start a new life. He talks about working as an auditor, in the county government, and more, meeting leaders along the way who helped empower him. Mr. Palmer considers wealth to be in relationships, appreciating the people in one’s life that make life worth it. He enjoys being the type of father who is not only there for his kids, but for other young people who may need a father figure in their lives. Also nicknamed “2 Pops,” Mr. Palmer has great respect for the work that the Jackson Center is doing and says that it represents a model that is worth replicating.

Find out more
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"

Ms. Esphur Foster

Want to add in?  Have a different view?  What do you think? Want to upload your own photos or documents?

History is not the past.  It’s the sense we make of the past now. Click below to RESPOND—and be part of making history today.