Before the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 required white restaurants and businesses to open to Black patrons, Black residents served themselves, whether in Durham’s bustling Black business districts or in the Black-owned shops, restaurants, hotel, movie theatre, and pool hall on the west end of Rosemary and Franklin streets in Chapel Hill and along Merritt Mill in Carrboro. In the mid-2000s, development took down much of what remained of what is still proudly known as The Midway.
Learn more about Black entrepreneurship by searching for Black business, African American business, and Black owned business but don’t forget place names like Mason and Nick’s Grill or the Hollywood Theatre. Expand your search to include Durham, foodways, and labor. You may be interested in the video essay, On and Off the Midway, and in the GIS Dynamic Map of Historic Black Businesses where you can see the historic economy at work—and respond with more information, materials, or questions. And don’t forget current businesses with long ties to Northside residents and traditions--like Mama Dip’s restaurant, Knotts and Jones Funeral Homes, and William “Smitty” Smith Masonry.
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
Ms. Esphur FosterWant 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