The Bull City has always had a way of making headlines. Starting with the tobacco empire then onto Black Wall Street, major strides in the the Civil Rights Movement, greivously misreported crime, the downtown renaissance and :::POOF::: next thing you know Durham's the Tech Hub and foodiest city of the South. The underdog had come out on top and the former neighsayers flooded in for the jobs, entertainment and eats. Classic heartwarming story, right?
Durham. It's complicated.
In the age of mass digital media, content has become king and the internet is awash in a deluge of puff pieces. At the same time an international publication deemed Durham "the hippest city in the South," the gauntlet had been dropped IRL (in real life) in the most heated Mayorial race in the Bull City's history with the issues of racial equity, gentrification and affordaBULL housing at the forefront.
Durham. It's a tale of two cities.
A city known for it's rich history, grit and unapologetically BULLish ways is being reduced to listicles and highlight reels online. While the same estalishments garner recycled accolades, the number of minority businesses in center center dropped to the single digits. There's one black owned building on Black Wall Street in 2018.
While the Bull City can escape the clutches of foreign content farms, it hasn't been able to escape the clutches of transplanted exploitation creating homegrown content farms that make gains off of unpaid contributors. If exposure paid the bills Durham wouldn't have an unbudging, high level of poverty.
Durham. It's not going anywhere.
Fortunately, Durham's been authentic before authentic was a buzzword and, as a whole, it seems the locals aren't interested in progress exclusively for progress's sake. The locals aren't interested in being puff piece fodder. They're interested in making a future where everyone has equitable access to real, lasting success. The untapped talent of the Bull City has been overlooked far too long. It's not about speaking up for the voiceless. It's about passing the mic.
Durham. It's not interested in lip service.
An echelon of change agents have come to the forefront using the Bull City classics for success - art, education, grit, grind and community. When you cut through the haze of the hype you'll discover one such change agent humBULLy clearing the path for those to come and digging in his heels against the ravaging of the Bull.
Meet Durham Native, artist, public servant, disruptor and non-profit professional Derrick Beasley.
Digging into Durham’s history you’ll quickly come across a man named William Thomas Blackwell. W.T. Blackwell was an intense man[*]. So much so that 5 minutes into reading about him has you wondering why there hasn’t been a major motion picture about his life starring Daniel Day-Lewis or perhaps Joaquin Phoenix.
The stress he brought to the world is palpable in even the driest of history books and you’re left trying to unwind on his behalf long after you’ve put the book down. To say that Blackwell was focused on being the most successful in the tobacco industry would be a horrific and grievous understatement.
Many have recalled in books and oral history that rather than sleep Blackwell would pace the streets counting all the tobaccoo packages littering the thoroughfares and factoring how many were his brand and how many were their competitors’. Needless to say, if the ratio wasn’t to his liking the next morning’s meetings were nothing short of pure hell for all those in his employ.
Blackwell was successful at what he did. The global remnants of Bull Durham ads and the casualties of lung and throat cancer by way of tobacco are the lasting evidence of his marketing genius.
Ever been to a city that’s proud of its bricks? Throughout Durham, you’ll come across bricks with an intriguing design. To newcomers, they’re interesting and artsy. To locals, and those who’ve been here a minute, they’re a major pride point. If you’ve walked on these you’ve officially stood where history was made. These are Fitzgerald bricks.
Richard Burton Fitzgerald. Know that name for it is one of the most important in both black history and Durham’s history.
R.B. Fitzgerald was born free in Delaware in 1843 to Thomas and Sarah Fitzgerald[*]. Richard's middle name Burton was Sarah's maden name. In 1869, after the Civil War ended, and the same year Durham was officially incorporated as a city, R.B. moved to North Carolina and built a brick empire with his brother Robert as Durham grew, brick by brick. It was actually Robert who had the brick business ideal and talked R.B. into coming to Durham.
11/20/2018 0 Comments
On November 20th, 1910 the world got a bit brighter with the arrival of Anna Pauline Murray.
At the age of 13, she became an orphan. Her mother Agnes Murray passed away in 1914, when Pauli was four, due to a cerebral hemorrhage. In 1923 her father, William Murray, was killed by a guard at Crownsville Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for long-term effects of typhoid fever.
This would be the beginning of Pauli turning tragedy, challenges and difficulties into triumphs that, over time, made her one of the most legendary, inspiring and transformational human beings in modern time.
After the passing of her father, Pauli, who still went by Anna at that time, moved to Durham, North Carolina to live with her aunt Pauline Fitzgerald and her grandparents Robert and Cornelia Fitzgerald. Yes, those Fitzgeralds - the Fitzgerald family of brick business and Black Wall Street. Her grandfather Robert was actually the brother who had the idea for the brick business that ended up garnering his brother Richard Burton Fitzgerald the acclaim, success and money.
Did you feel that?
Something incrediBULL just happened right here in Durham, North Carolina. Today a little girl and her family opened up a book. Not just any book. She opened up the 1 millionth book that Book Harvest has put in a child’s hands.
1 million books given to children in a powerful impact statement and it all started with a community of friends, a dream of getting books to children and a bit of space in a garage.
Today’s press release shared how it all began. “I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined this day,” shared Book Harvest Founder and Executive Director Ginger Young. The organization began with a simple idea that Young shared with friends in 2011: as their children outgrew their books, they could bring them to her and she would make sure they got to new homes with children who would love them as much as their own children had. Young knew that book ownership was key to academic success for children, and she also knew that many children right in her own backyard didn’t have the overflowing home libraries that her own children had been privileged to grow up with.”
Book Harvest Communications and Events Manager Daniele Berman shared with us, “Ginger Young founded Book Harvest in her garage in 2011, and since then, our programs have been fueled by donations from people right here in our community -- with books going out and coming in from all over the state, but the majority right here in our hub of Durham.”