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Sheet Music - Page one, In Old Bull Durham Tow; Page two, Night of Nights

Negro Extension

These documents present a picture of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of black county extension agents  in Durham County in the 1930s and 40s.  The purpose of the North Carolina cooperative extension program was to give instruction and practical demonstrations in agriculture and home economics.  Black agents implemented programs such as the 1940 “Live-at-Home” program that encouraged better management of “time, labor, and material resources.”  They started programs for youth such at 5-H, and worked to improve conditions for tenant farmers. They and other community members participated in the ongoing struggle for better pay for the agents and better services for their constituents.

Estelle Nixon, Negro Home Agent

Letter of Application

July 1934 Letter to Newsom

Letter to McKimmon

Letter to Lowe

1940 Workplan

Food and Nutrition Program for Women 1940

Nixon Scorecard

Community Meetings Letter

Thomas Hamme, Negro County Agent

1933 Report

1940 Work Plan

Spaulding Letter regarding Hamme

Letter from Hamme to Newsom

Hamme Scorecard

Miscellaneous Documents

1933 Letter from the Independent Voters League

Response to Letter from the Independent Voters League

1941 Letter to General Assembly - Letter from Commissioner Carver regarding success of program

Newsom Honored at a Dinner

News Articles

Negro Farm Life School Eliminated by Budget Cut

Tenants Live in Hovels in Rural Durham; The Durham Sun; March 6, 1934

Program for 1938 was Concentrated on Five Problems; 1939

Majority County's Farmers Tenants or Sharecroppers; The Durham Sun; January 28, 1939

Great Strides are Registered in Rural Work; The Durham Sun; February 1, 1939

5-H - Negro Youths Extend 4-H Work in County by Organizing Groups Known as 5-H Clubs; The Durham Sun; February 19, 1940

Agent Attacking Problems in 1940: Aims at Tenant Farm, Single Cash Crop and Non-Diversification; The Durham Sun; March 5, 1940

Entrants Will Meet Wednesday: Around 125 Already Have Filed Blanks for Competition; The Durham Sun; March 14, 1940

Negro Farm Agent Quits; The Durham Sun; January 24, 1941


In 1909 North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now NC State University) signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture to work cooperatively on demonstration work, the first such agreement in the nation.  These documents present a vivid picture of the work of Durham’s cooperative extension service during Mr. Newsom’s tenure.  Highlights include the “Food and Feed” program, which encouraged Durham County farm families, as part of the war effort, to produce enough food to feed their family and their livestock, and “Better Homes Week,” which promoted home upkeep, since “tumble-down homes usually represent tumble-down character.”  The firing of a county agricultural extension agent results in a scathing letter in the Durham Morning Herald.


4-H 1940 Pamphlet - 4H Objectives and how to reach them, Some state goals for 1941 and suggestions as to how you and your club can help to reach them

Kiwanis 4-H 1940 - Kiwanis International Program of the Agricultural Committee March 20, 1941

4-H Program - 14th Annual Girls and Boys Club Achievement Day, May 25, 1938, included the 4H Field Song

1940s Plans

Farm Scorecard

Home Scorecard

Homemaker's Project

April 1936 Report

May 1936 Report

June 1936 Report

Annual Husbands' Night Valentine Party 1940

1941 Food and Feed Program for National Defense

Food and Feed Letter

Food and Feed Postcard

Miscellaneous Documents

1935 Letter to the Farmers of Durham

1940 George Watts Hill Letter

Guernsey Program

Better Homes Week - The County Commissioners of Durham County call upon the citizenship of the County to enter into the spirit of "Better Homes Week." Tumble-down premises usually spell tumble-down character.

News Articles

A Champion from Carolina Tells 'Em How

County Administration Has Been Working With and for Farmers for Nearly 30 Years

Durham Farm Women Lead Way

County Agent Lambasts Action of County Board in Leaving Farm Office; January 1934

Letter Box; Durham Morning Herald; January 31, 1934

New Farm Agent Greeted at Meeting County Board; The Durham Sun; February 5, 1934

Home Demonstration Work in Durham Wins High Praise; The Durham Sun; July 27, 1934

$37,304 Worth of Farm Produce Sold at Exchange Here in 1937; January 4, 1938

Miss Bryan Resigns as Home Demontration Worker Here; The Durham Sun; January 4, 1938

Miss Rose Ellwood Bryan; January 6, 1938

Home Demonstration Work Started in Durham in 1915; April 24,1938

Superintendent of Health Links Disease and Insects; The Durham Herald; April 24, 1938

County Home

These documents demonstrate the marked contrast in services for the poor, infirm, and mentally ill today and in the 1930s and 40s.  Especially interesting is the letter from prisoners housed at the County Work House, who are complaining to the state superintendent of Welfare about the adverse conditions they are experiencing.

Durham County Work House Evaluation; August 25, 1938

County Home Summary; 1938

Letter from Prisoners at the Durham County Home to the Supt. of State Welfare Department; April 16, 1939

Durham County Home Schedule of Days Work for Supt.; May 19, 1939

Durham County Home, Infirmary and Work House Inspection Summary; May 1, 1940

Report of Sanitary Inspection of the Durham County Home; July 12, 1940

Durham County Home State Fair Prize Awards

News Articles

13,269 Quarts Put Up Durham Garden Season

Board Asks Estimates for New Ward at County Home; The Durham Herald; April, 8, 1936

Board Splits Three to Two on Selection; The Durham Sun; December 15, 1937

Board to Consider County Home Head; The Durham Herald; April 4, 1937

County Buys Registered Jack as Step in Livestock Program

County Home Here is Being Made One of Best in State; The Durham Sun; August 27, 1938

Two County Home Officials Will be Named Defendants; August 24, 1939

County Lives at Home; The Durham Sun; October 30, 1941

The Durham County Home; State Progress; April 9, 1937

Farm on Eno River Will be Rented by County From State; The Durham Herald; October 24, 1941

Food for the Winter

For the Record; The Durham Herald; March 15, 1939

State Funds Being Sought for Infirmary; The Durham Sun; November 20, 1940

Goodbye Poorhouse!; The Durham Sun; December 3, 1936

Health Officer Places Aproval on County Home; The Durham Sun; March 31, 1938

County Home Now is Raising 40 Per Cent of Food Needs; The Durham Sun; October 30, 1941

County Home Improvements Moving Forward Steadily; The Durham Sun; September 9, 1939

County Authorizes Offer of $300 for State Prison Farm; The Durham Sun; October 3, 1939

Plans are Drawn for Additions; The Durham Sun; March 12, 1940

Quarters of County's Insane

Repairing of Old Deranged Ward Put Off; The Durham Sun; March 7, 1938

Seek Additional Food for County; The Durham Herald; September 12, 1935

County Has No Worry About Wood Supply; Herald-Sun; March 29, 1942

Workshop at County Home is Destroyed by Night Blaze; The Durham Herald; December 8, 1939

Welfare Department

These documents, like those in the “County Home” section, demonstrate the marked contrast in services for the poor, infirm, and mentally ill today and in the 1930s and 40s.  Lots of facts and figures will be useful to researchers exploring Durham’s social service work during the period.

Board of Charities and Public Welfare Running Report; December 1930

Board of Charities and Public Welfare Running Report; June 1931

Financial Report of the Board of Charities and Public Welfare; April 1931

Durham County Welfare Report; March 1944

List of Duties and Powers of the Welfare Department; August 22, 1932

Weekly Welfare Budget Allowance Examples

Report of School Attendance Work Done by Board of Charities and Public Welfare; February 1931

Running report of the Welfare Department; March 1934

Welfare Department Monthly Report; May 1938

Money Spent on Recomendation of Welfare Department

Running Report of Board of Charities and Public Welfare; September 1932

Types of Work Done for the Welfare Department

Watts Hospital Charity Work Report, 1929

News Articles

Durham's Only Policewoman, Katherine Williams Obituary; February 13, 1935

Church People Asked to Give Food and Jobs; The Durham Sun; January 17, 1936

Distribution to Get Under Way Monday; The Durham Sun; January 18, 1936

Durham Must Meet Civic Crisis Today; The Durham Herald; January 19, 1936

Security Program Will Cost County $56,548 Each Year; April 11, 1937

More Space for Handling Social Disease Needed; May 5, 1937

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