Place

Berman's Clothing Store

"I remember here in Chapel Hill, way back. There was a store called Berman's Clothing Store. They sold some of everything...but they catered to Blacks. If you're prejudiced, you better put it in your pocket and not let anybody know you are."

- Doug Clark, Sr.

Sam and Mary Berman, Lithuanian immigrants, opened stores in Chapel Hill and Durham in 1914 and were some of the first permanent Jewish residents in the community. Their store moved locations a few times, but wound up at 119-120 East Franklin Street by the 1940s. When Sam Berman died in 1961, his eulogy remembered, "The little store keeper fellow playing dumb when all the time everybody knew he was knowing as a fox."

Sources: Leonard Rogoff, Homelands: Southern Jewish Identity in Durham-Chapel Hill and North Carolina, and The Daily Tar Heel, March 14, 1944

"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.

Respond