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Durham Potpourri

Materials focusing on life in Durham.


The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South.
Davidson, Osha Gray. 1996.
The story of how Ann Atwater, a poor black community organizer, and C. P. Ellis, a Ku Klux Klan member, became the best of friends.

Brighter Leaves: Celebrating the Arts in Durham, North Carolina.
Edited by a company of friends of Patrick D. Kenan. 2008.
700.922 BRIG

Bull Durham and Beyond: a Touring Guide to City and County.
Flowers, John B. 1976.
917.5656 FLOWERS
A short guide to historic buildings in Durham and Durham County.

Durham: A Bull City Story.
Wise, James E. 2002.
975.656 WISE
An at times irreverent look at Durham’s history.

Durham: A Pictorial History.
Kostyu, Joel A. and Norfolk, Frank A. 1978.
975.6563 KOSTYU

The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory.
Roberts, Claudia P., et al. 1982.
720.975 ROBERTS
Contains histories of Durham neighborhoods as well as profiles of architecturally significant pre-1940 structures within the Durham City limits ca. 1982.

Durham County.
Anderson, Jean Bradley. 2011.
975.6563 ANDERSON
The bible of Durham County history.

Durham in Changing Light.
Zager, John. 2011.
975.6563 ZAGER

Durham, My Home Town.
Lougee, George. 1990.
975.656 LOUGEE
A collection of newspaper columns that appeared in the Durham Morning Herald.

Durham, North Carolina: a Postcard History.
Massengill, Stephen E. 1997.

Durham’s Hayti.
Vann, Andre and Jones, Beverly Washington. 1999.
975.6563 VANN
Photographs with captions depicting various facets of history of Durham’s Hayti neighborhood.

Durham Tales: The Morris Street Maple, the Plastic Cow, the Durham Day that was and More.
Wise, Jim. 2008.
975.6563 WISE

How Times Do Change: A Series of Sketches of Durham and Her Citizens.
Dixon, Wyatt. 1987.
975.6563 D
A collection of newspaper columns that appeared in the Durham Sun.

Our Separate Ways: Women and the Black Freedom Movement in Durham, North Carolina.
Greene, Christina. 2005.
323.119 GREENE
A good history of the movement in general as well as women’s role in it.

The Story of Durham: City of the New South.
Boyd, William Kenneth. 1925.
975.6 BOYD

Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South.
Brown, Leslie. 2008.
305.896 BROWN

The Way We Were: Remembering Durham.
Webb, Mena. 2003.
975.6563 WEBB
Newspaper columns and personal reminiscences of Durham.

Growing Up in Durham

Artelia: Portrait of an American Matriarch.
Edwards, Joyce Marsh Perry. 2012.

Black Business in the New South: A Social History of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Weare, Walter B. 1993.
368.32 WEARE

Heaven for Beginners: Recollections of a Southern Town.
Holloway, Betsy. 1986.
Betsy Holloway lived near Duke’s East campus and describes growing up in Durham in the 1950s.

I Walked the Sloping Hills: A Memoir by Walter Matthew Brown. Brown, Walter Matthew. 2010.

Mebane, Mary E. 1981.
975.656 M
Mary Mebane writes about growing up in rural Durham County in the 1940s and 1950s. She compares the rural African-American culture with that of the urban, university community near NCCU.

A Palette, Not a Portrait: Stories From the Life of Nathan Garrett.
Garrett, Nathan. 2010.

Proud Shoes: The Story of a Family.
Murray, Pauli. 1978.
Pauli Murray, lawyer and first African American woman to become an Episcopal priest, grew up in Durham 1915-1925. This book tells the story of her and her family. The first chapters of Song in a Weary Throat (B MURRAY) provide additional glimpses into Murray’s family and childhood in Durham.

The Provincials: a Personal History of Jews in the South.
Evans, Eli. 2005.
975.004 EVANS
The son of former mayor E. J. Evans devotes several chapters to the history of the Jewish community in Durham.

Unfinished Heaven.
Holloway, Betsy. 1994.
373.756 HOLLOWAY
Continues Betsy Holloway’s story, concentrating on Carr Junior High and Durham High.

The Way We Lived: Durham 1900-1920.
Leyburn, James G. 1989.
975.656 LEYBURN
The son of the minister of the First Presbyterian Church describes life in Durham, 1900-1920.

Famous Families/Business

Bold Entrepreneur: The Life of James B. Duke.
Durden, Robert F.  2003.

Bull Durham Business Bonanza, 1866-1940.
Roberts, B. W. C. and Snow L., Durham, N.C. 2002.
338.476 ROBERTS
A history of Bull Durham tobacco.

Dukes of Durham, 1865-1929.
Durden, Robert F. 1975.
929.2 DUKE
Tells the story of Washington Duke and his three sons, Brodie, Ben, and James (“Buck”).

Durham and Her People: Combining History and Who’s Who in Durham of 1949 and 1950.
Dula, W.C. 1951.
920 DURH
A little history and a lot of information about the business community at the time.

Favored by Fortune: George W. Watts & the Hills of Durham.
Covington, Howard E. Jr. 2004.

Jule Carr: General without an Army. Webb, Mena. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.
A well-researched, well-written biography of one of Durham’s most prominent late 19th-early20th-century citizens.

Piedmont Plantation: The Benneham-Cameron Family and Lands in North Carolina.
Anderson, Jean Bradley. 1985.
About the families who owned and worked the Stagville and Fairntosh plantations.


Durham Official Visitors Guide.
Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. Annual publication.
917.5656 DURH
Current edition may also be obtained from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Insiders’ Guide to the Triangle.
Herget, J. Barlow.
917.56 HERGET

Fiction Set in Durham

Cannon, Taffy.
Convictions: A Novel of the Sixties, 1985.
Set at Duke.

Edgerton, Clyde
Raney, 1985.
Walking Across Egypt, 1987.
Floatplane Notebooks, 1988.
Edgerton grew up in the Bethesda area of Durham County.

Ehle, John
Move Over Mountain, 1957.
Chronicles a black family’s successful struggle to rise into the middle class.

FitzSimmons, Foster
Bright Leaf, 1948.
The main characters of the novel are based on the Duke family.

Kremen, Barbara H.
Tree Trove, 1985.
Two children experience a series of strange experiences that take them inside the world of the flora and fauna that inhabit Forest Hills Park.

McKay, Amanda.
Death is Academic, 1976.
Death on the Eno, 1981.
Amanda Smith has used Duke and the countryside near her home as setting for these mysteries.

Parker, Gwendolyn M.
These Same Long Bones, 1994.
Set in Hayti in the late 1940s.

Patton, Frances Gray.
Good Morning Miss Dove, 1954.
The setting for this charming book is Watts Street School. You will enjoy her short stories, too.

Rogers, Gloree.
Love, or a Reasonable Facsimile, 1989.
About a young African-American woman growing up with multiple handicaps. Winner of the 1988 Carolina Wren—Obsidian II Minority Book Award.

Seeman, Ernest.
American Gold, 1978.
This novel is set in Durham around the turn of the century.

Sharp, Paula.
The Woman Who Was Not All There, 1988.
A wise and witty single mother raises her children in a working class neighborhood during the 1960s.

Slaughter, Jane M.
Espy and the Catnappers, 1975.
A delightful children’s book about a cat with unusual powers.


River Writing: An Eno Journal.
Applewhite, James. 1988.

Audiovisual Materials

Negro Durham Marches On.
VIDEO 975.6563 NEGR
Videotape from 16mm film of Hayti business ca. 1950 produced by the Durham Business and Professional Chain.

An Unlikely Friendship.
VIDEO 305.8 U
Story of civil rights activist Ann Atwater and Klan member C. P. Ellis, who, while working together to improve Durham’s schools, came to be friends. As a result, Ellis renounced his Klan affiliation.

Updated October 1, 2013.