Preservation Durham Civil Rights Legacy walking tour
Preservation Durham Civil Rights Legacy walking tourSubmitted by Andrew Edmonds on Sat, 01/28/2012 - 11:18am
Preservation Durham offers free walking tours, leaving from the Farmers' Market on Foster Street, on Saturdays at 10am from April through November.
On the 2nd Saturday of each month a tour guide presents the Civil Rights Legacy walking tour. This tour was first offered on November 17, 2002 and since then thousands of Durhamites and visitors alike have learned about the history of civil rights in Durham.
The tour gives voice to the rich stories of people, who lived through these tumultuous times. The tour experience include excerpts from:
-oral history interviews with local citizens,
-articles in newspapers and other print material of the time, and the
-retrospective reflections from a 2002 conference sponsored by Preservation Durham.
Including different perspectives aims to dispel stereotypes. In addition, Preservation Durham invites your comments to this ongoing dialogue about race relations in Durham.
During the 1950s, through the 1970s, Durham witnessed
-Negotiations behind the scenes, and
In Durham, four waves of protest activities stand out:
when seven Negroes sat at a whites-only table at the Royal Ice Cream Parlor. They were arrested for trespassing.
when Durham students flocked downtown to sit-in at lunch counters, one week after the sit-ins in Greensboro.
during three days of mass demonstrations, protesters crowded downtown - marching, picketing, and boycotting the businesses and restaurants that were still segregated.
when the assassination of Martin Luther King set off three different responses in Durham:
1- Arson, police patrols and curfews.
2- A silent vigil by students at Duke University, and
3- the Black Solidarity Committee’s Boycott of downtown businesses, for seven months, from July to February, the selective buying boycott resulted in business losses of nearly a million dollars in sales. The Black community was steadfastly organized for change.
The story of Durham’s schools spans the entire period, with court-ordered desegregation in 1970 and a community forum the next summer.
The tour concludes with the bittersweet memories of Durham participants.
Durham’s story is dynamic -- considerably different from the deep South and even unique within North Carolina.
The following Open Durham entries reflect stops along the tour route, or are locations within Durham referred to by the Preservation Durham tour guide.
The first public high school in the city, this building was altered significantly to become Durham's City Hall in the 1920s, and then again to become a home for the Durham Arts Council in the 1980s.
The "Durham Auditorium" was the grandest theater in the age of downtown theaters, transitioning from live performances / to moving pictures early on. Spared the wrecking ball in the 1960s, it is the only downtown theater that survives - as a center for independent film, live performance, and movie festivals.
The northeast corner of Main and Corcoran Street has seen its share of building drama. For much of the 20th century, it was the location of one of the buildings on my Top Five list of How-Could-They-Have-Torn-That-Down buidings in Durham: the Geer building.