On four fall days back in 2002, volunteers with Preservation Durham captured over 250 photographs of structures in one of the city's oldest African American neighborhoods, East End. Those were still the days of our digital infancy, when camera shops and drugstores would load images from your film onto a CD, and that's exactly where more recent volunteers found these photos in the Open Durham parent organization's records.
Two decades after they were taken, there are three reasons we've decided to turn the uploading of these images into an open call for your participation and a tour on the community archive. First, particularly for a neighborhood of its importance and longevity, Open Durham had regrettably little content about East End. Second, the streets featured here are at the heart of difficult but crucial contemporary conversations about gentrification and displacement, conversations these photographs may help deepen with historical context. Finally, while the brief pages participants will create can only initially scratch the surface of East End history, we know from experience that planting even these incomplete seeds generates opportunities for people to connect, correct, expand, and engage.
Eventually, this tour will give Durhamites a chance to stroll down Dowd and other East End streets as they appeared 20 years ago. It will never be a substitute for the East End neighborhood page - which handles the long history of the community in greater depth and includes several dozen pages for the area that predate this project - but we do intend it to spur the much-needed expansion of that content.
Have 10 minutes to help out? Follow the instructions included below the buildings already added by others, and help us upload this historical inventory!