Durham Community Q&A


What do you know about Durham? For each of the questions below, we have provided an online resource hint and a link to the answer. Find out how much you know about Durham!

  1. According to the 2000 census, what percentage of the population in the city of Durham is:

    a. White
    b. Black
    c. American Indian
    d. Asian
    e. Hispanic (any race)?
    Hint: www.durhamchamber.org/living/popchar.html

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  2. How much did the Hispanic population in Durham County change since 1990? What were the census figures for 1990 and 2000?
    Hint: www.durhamchamber.org/living/popchar.html

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  3. What percentage of persons 25 and over has NOT graduated from high school?
    Hint: www.durhamchamber.org/living/popchar.html

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  4. According to the 2000 census, what is the per capita income in Durham?
    Hint: www.durhamchamber.org/living/popchar.html

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  5. According to the 2000 census, what is the percent of people in North Carolina live below the poverty level?
    Hint: ferret.bls.census.gov/macro/032001/pov/new25_001.htm

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  6. What is the percent of related children ages 5-17 below the poverty level in North Carolina?
    Hint: ferret.bls.census.gov/macro/032001/pov/new25_001.htm

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  7. How did Durham get started?
    Hint: www.preservationdurham.org/Neighborhoods/History1.htm

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  8. What was Durham’s first claim to fame?
    Hint: www.preservationdurham.org/Neighborhoods/History1.htm

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  9. How do you explain neighborhoods like Lakewood where there are huge houses on one street and very small cottages on the next street?
    Hint: www.preservationdurham.org/Neighborhoods/History1.htm

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  10. Why was Parrish Street call the Black Wall Street?
    Hint: www.preservationdurham.org/Neighborhoods/History1.htm

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  11. What were Pin Hookers?
    Hint: www.owdna.org/history.htm

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  12. What was Wallace Wade Stadium before the University bought the land?
    Hint: www.owdna.org/history.htm

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  13. What has been Duke’s involvement with the Walltown community and St. James Family and Life Center?
    Hint: community.duke.edu/mission.cfm

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  14. Where is Walltown in Durham? Where does the name Walltown come from?
    Hint: community.duke.edu/html/walltown.cfm

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  15. Who staffs the George Watts Wellness Center?
    Hint: community.duke.edu/watts_wellness.cfm

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  16. What is the Trinity Heights Neighborhood and where in Durham is it?
    Hint: community.duke.edu/trinity_heights.cfm

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  17. What does Susan Gaylord say about her neighborhood?
    Hint: community.duke.edu/trinity_heights.cfm

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  18. What is the closest point at which the Ellerbe Creek comes to the medical center?
    Hint: www.owdna.org/fosec.htm

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  19. Also in on the Ellerbe Creek page is a description of the house below. What was this house at the corner of Virgie and Green Streets in Durham known for in the past?

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  20. What attracts people to the Fayetteville Street Neighborhood?

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  21. When was the oldest house in Hope Valley built, and what was intent of the developers?

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  22. When did NCC (now known as NCCU) become the first state supported liberal arts college for African American students?

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  23. Who did Susan Denman partner with to assess Latino access to healthcare?

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  24. Who is a former Chair of the Durham County Commissioners who currently is the Director of Community Affairs of Duke Health System?

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  25. What adult mental health services does Durham County provide?

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  26. What industry includes the largest percentage of the workforce in Durham County?

    a. Agriculture
    b. Construction
    c. Finance/Insurance/Real Estate
    d. Government
    e. Manufacturing
    f. Retail Trade
    g. Wholesale Trade
    h. Service
    i. Transportation/Communications/Public Utilities

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  27. The County Health Data Book lists statistics about Asthma hospitalizations and diagnoses. How does Durham compare to NC as a whole? Where do these numbers come from? If you wanted to get involved, how would you?

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  1. White 45.5
    Black 43.8
    American Indian 0.3
    Asian 3.6
    Hispanic (any race) 8.6

  2. 1990: 2,054 1.1%
    2000: 16,012 8.6%

  3. 21.1%

  4. $30,680

  5. 12.1%

  6. 17.9%

  7. Durham began in the 1850s, when Dr. Bartlett Durham sold four acres of land to the North Carolina Railroad Company to build a new station between Hillsborough and Raleigh. A small village soon sprang up around the depot.

    Durham started in the early 1800s, when a group from Durham, England came to America where they could own slaves and begin farming.

    The beginnings of Durham grew out of a large plantation owned by Benjamin Duke in the late 1800s.

    A group of confederate soldiers decided to stay in Durham after the war because it was a good place to grow tobacco.

  8. The tobacco industry and Durham came into its own after the Civil War as demand for smoking tobacco spread nation-wide with returning veterans.

    Trinity College which became Duke University was Durham’s claim to fame.
    Duke’s basketball team has always been it’s claim to fame.

    With the beginnings of Watts Hospital began Durham’s claim to fame as the City of Medicine. It has since grown to a world class medical center.

  9. Residential neighborhoods grew up around business in the middle of town which included elaborate mansions and rows of bungalows for the workers.

  10. Parrish Street downtown was the home of the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company and the Mechanics and Farmers Bank, earning it the name The Black Wall Street. North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company is the nation’s oldest and largest Black life insurance company in the U.S. The Mechanics and Farmers Bank is the first Black-owned bank in the US.

  11. Located near Duke's East Campus and Ninth Street, Old West Durham is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the Bull City. Previously known as Pin Hook, the area was settled before Durham itself.

    Pin Hook began as a tiny settlement that served as a traveler's rest before the railroad town of Durham was established in the early 1850s. Pin Hookers were folks who bought tobacco leaf that went unsold at auction, repackaged the product, and sold it for a tiny profit.

    Jean Anderson provides wonderful accounts of Pin Hook in her outstanding on Durham history... In the early days, the shiftless of society, usually addicted to vices of one sort or another, tended to congregate in Pin Hook, attracting others of their kind.

    The settlement included a lodging house, camping grove, brothels, grog shops, and a well for drinking water for passing travelers. In spite of the dirt and noise caused by the railroad that ran through Pin Hook, people gradually settled near the Hillsborough Road with its easy access to Durham.

    A story in the Hillsborough newspaper in 1871 described the early character of the neighborhood. "There is a place called Pin Hook... and it is remarkable for a race that was run there many years ago by a man and a woman. They wore no clothes and ran for a quart of liquor."

  12. Throughout the 19th century, much of the area around Pin Hook was farmland. According to the Herald-Sun, the Rigsbee family farm stretched 600 acres -- including the Ninth Street area. For one hundred years, the Rigsbees raised tobacco, corn, and sweet potatoes on the hills south of Old West Durham. They kept their pigs down in a ravine. In 1892, the Rigsbees sold a northern section of their land for the construction of Erwin Mills. 33 years later, they sold their holdings for a new university. That land is now called Duke's West Campus. And the ravine where the pigs were kept is now called Wallace Wade Stadium (site of the 1942 Rose Bowl -- moved to Durham due to fears of having large crowds on the west coast after Pearl Harbor). Today, you can still see the small Rigsbee family cemetery -- surrounded by a low, Duke stone wall and the football stadium parking lot.

  13. With more than $400,000 from Duke, an abandoned school in Walltown that used to attract vagrants has been transformed by a local church into the St. James family and Life Center. The building includes a new community center, a charter school, and a children's library, thanks to a partnership that includes the Self-Help Community Development Corporation, The Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties, St. James Baptist Church, Northgate Mall, and Duke. In addition, students from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and Duke tutor at the school and community center

  14. The Walltown neighborhood is one block from Duke University's East Campus and is bounded by Green Street, Broad Street, Buchanan Boulevard, Northgate Mall and Interstate 85.

    A young African-American man named George Wall established the neighborhood in the late 1880s after moving to Durham with his employer, Trinity College (now Duke University), and buying a plot of wooded land just north of the campus. In 1910, the few families who lived there organized Wall Street Baptist Church (now St. John's Missionary Baptist Church). Not long after, the Walltown Elementary School was built. Workers moving into Durham for jobs in the growing tobacco industry provided a ready market for renting the narrow shotgun houses and small residences, a tradition that continued into the 1990s.

  15. The George Watts clinic is administered by the Duke School of Nursing and staffed with a full-time Duke nurse practitioner and a part-time community physician, a school nurse provided through the Health Department, a Duke psychologist, and an office manager from the Durham Public Schools. Other partners include Lincoln Community Health Center, Healthy Durham 2000, the Durham Public Education Network, the Department of Social Services, and the Friends of Watts.

    This elementary school clinic is one of the first of its kind in North Carolina. It provides school-based primary care for students with immediate needs and brings comprehensive health services to children who may not receive regular medical care. In addition, it offers counseling services for students and their families, and evening nutrition and parenting classes. The center serves 560 K-5 students and their families.

    Comprehensive services are billed on a sliding scale so that children can receive care regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. Several area dentists provide free dental care. Referrals and transportation are provided when needed.

    Children's health problems contribute to chronic absenteeism, which in turn adversely affects academic performance. The school's administration is monitoring the relationship of treatment, attendance and end-of-year test scores to track the positive effects of the school-based clinic. Estimates are that 97 percent of students treated in the clinic return to class within one-half hour. Attendance has increased from 88 percent prior to the opening of the clinic to 94.5 percent in the 1998-99 school year, a high rate of attendance compared to other elementary schools in the Durham system.

  16. One of the first planned residential developments in Durham, Trinity Heights includes a six-block area bordered by Broad Street, Markham Avenue, Buchanan Boulevard and Green Street and a portion of Clarendon Street.

  17. Susan Gaylord

    Gaylord and her husband, both Duke University graduates, moved into their Trinity Heights home in 1979. The mother of two children, ages 11 and 13, Gaylord is a faculty member with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill medical school and director of the integrative medicine program.

    "Why do we still live here?"

    "We like being in the city. Ninth Street and Broad Street, that area, is our own inner city—a city within the city of Durham. We feel very connected with a lot of other people in the neighborhood who've been here a long time. We enjoy the atmosphere, but it has its challenges."

    "Crime is, of course, a major concern of ours. Not just crime, of course, but the issue of overall safety. And we're concerned about aesthetics. I think Duke and the neighborhood both have those in common."

    "That's why I think Duke's move to sell its rental housing and to build houses for university faculty and staff on its vacant land is a good move overall. It's a major commitment for Duke to undertake. And it's probably the only way the university can maintain some control over who it sells to. I'll be very interested to see how it turns out."

    "There's also been a major shift in Duke's response to neighborhood concerns about students who live off campus."

    "We've endured students ever since moving here. I think that one of the things students have done in the past is contribute to the deterioration of the environment. As a neighbor who has no control over that, it's very frustrating. And in the past, there was, I feel, a sense that Duke was most concerned with what was going on within its confines."

    "Now, there is a growing sense that Duke has finally heard our cry. That the university no longer believes we're just complaining for the sake of complaint. That this is a quality of life issue. A number of us in this neighborhood are the bulwark for building and maintaining a first-rate community. We're not adversaries. And now the university is finally treating us like collaborators working to create a more pleasant environment for us all to live in."

    "I think that would be a great message to send to students as part of freshmen orientation. To tell them that Duke has neighbors and we need to work together and respect each other to help our community be the best community it can be."

  18. It is closest to the medical center at its headwaters, just across the Durham Freeway at Anderson Street and Hillsborough Road. “From its headwaters near Greystone Baptist on Hillsborough Road,…”

  19. During the Prohibition, this house (at the corner of Virgie and Green) was one of the most popular destinations in all of West Durham. In the back yard were two doors. One was prominent and led nowhere. A second was small and mostly hidden. Visitors would pass through the smaller door to enter a large room filled with floor-to-ceiling cabinets -- each with a small padlock. Inside the private cabinets was a collection of favorite spirits. According to long-time residents, White Lightning was the brew of choice. Consumption only allowed off-site. One resident recalls a scandalous morning in the 1930s when a body was found in the creek across the street. Scared the neighborhood kids half to death. Turns out he was OK -- just an avid consumer of local moonshine. Today, a coalition of supporters is seeking to establish the South Ellerbe Creek Natural Area along the old creek.

  20. The cultural opportunities offered by the nearby college were attractive to residents. The Algonquin Tennis Club, Southeast Durham's most popular social and recreational spot of the 1930s and 1940s, was located nearby in the 1400 block of Fayetteville Street. Hayti was a thriving commercial district, home to many Black-owned businesses.

  21. The Sheperd-Mebane House was built on the Sheperd Farm on Hope Valley Road perhaps as early as the turn of the 19th Century.
    Hope Valley was Durham's first full-fledged country club suburb, developed around an 18-hole golf course in the late 1920s. Traces of the farms that occupied the land in the 19th Century remain around the suburban landscape developed by the Mebane Company to attract the newly successful young professionals that were thriving with Durham's tobacco, textile, and health care industries. The golf course was designed to allow the most houses facing it,

  22. In 1923, the General Assembly of North Carolina appropriated funds for the purchase and maintenance of the school, which thus became a publicly-supported institution as Durham State Normal School. Two years later, the General Assembly redefined the mission of the school, naming it the North Carolina College for Negroes and dedicating it to the offering of liberal arts education and the preparation of teachers and principals of secondary schools. North Carolina College for Negroes (NCC) thus became the nation's first state-supported liberal arts college for African American students.

  23. Denman, who partnered with the Durham County Health Department, Lincoln Community Health Center, El Centro Hispano, Casa Multicultural, Durham Regional and Duke hospitals, and other Durham health and social service agencies, says that it is difficult to determine the exact number of Latinos living in the Durham area. Estimates put the population at about 10,000 to 20,000. However, the facts that Latino public school enrollment tripled, and Latino patient visits to Lincoln Community Health Center more than doubled in three years confirm that their population is growing. And so are their needs.

  24. Mary Anne Black

  25. • Adult Developmental Disabilities
    • Addiction Services
    • CAP/MR
    • Homeless Shelter /PATH
    • Injection Lab Clinic
    • Intensive Stabilization Services
    • MR/MI ( formerly Thomas S )
    • Psychiatric Services
    • Psychotherapy Services
    • Screening and Triage Services
    • Substance Abuse Services

  26. Workforce: Average Weekly Earnings

    Total Workforce: 169,704 at 100.00%

    Retail Trade:
    Wholesale Trade:
    Real Estate (F/I/RE):
    Public Utilities (T/C/PU):

  27. A full chart with all NC counties can be accessed at: http://www.schs.state.nc.us


    AGES 0-14
    AGES 0-14

    Where do these numbers come from? 2002 HOSPITAL DISCHARGE REPORTS

    If you wanted to get involved, how would you?
    Contact the North Carolina Community Health Assessment Initiative (NC-CHAI) and find out how to get involved with your local Healthy Carolinians Task Force (currently Durham Health Partners in Durham County).


  1. The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South, by Osha Gray Davidson, April 1996)

  2. New Hope for Hayti: Heritage unearthed, reborn in former St. Joseph’s church
    PAUL BONNER The Herald-Sun
    Tuesday, March 14, 2000
    Edition: Final Page: 1

  3. ‘The old Watts’ The seeds of Durham's future as the City of Medicine were sown by original community hospital's namesake
    By JIM SHAMP The Herald-Sun
    Tuesday, December 14, 1999
    Final Edition
    DoubleOught Section
    Page 1

  4. Creating Power: The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People
    March/April 2001, Page 4-7, Towerview, Published by the Chronicle Duke University.