Hayti at the Hub

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Celebrate! On Friday, Oct. 16, 6pm to 9pm, the Museum of Durham History and the Hayti Heritage Center are throwing a party, “Hayti at the Hub,” and everyone’s invited.

Stop by the Durham History Hub at 500 W. Main St. to see the latest exhibit in the Durham A-Z series: H is for Hayti, enjoy food truck refreshments from Joe’s Diner, hear live music by JB & Friends and the Hillside Drumline, and join a community discussion led by Andre Vann of the James E. Shepard Memorial Library at NCCU. The event and exhibit are a collaboration between the Museum and the Hayti Heritage Center.

“Bringing a vital part of Durham’s history to life through H is for Hayti is so exciting” said Hayti Heritage Center Executive Director, Angela Lee. “This exhibit will further our efforts to preserve the heritage…embrace the experience!”

For decades, Hayti was the social and cultural center of Durham’s black community and a model for self-sufficient African American communities in the South. The neighborhood formed after the Civil War when freed men and women moved to Durham in search of work and opportunity. They adopted the name Hayti for their new home after the independent black nation of Haiti.

In downtown Durham in the 1890s, Jim Crow laws enforced segregation among shoppers, diners and travelers. But in Hayti’s commercial district, businesses allowed black residents to shop with dignity and support their neighbors. Residents could get nearly anything they needed without having to leave the neighborhood. Schools, a library and a hospital emerged out of Hayti’s strong church and community groups.

The exhibit Durham A-Z: H is for Hayti focuses on the history of the neighborhood, including its vibrant businesses, schools, cultural activities, social institutions and churches. The exhibit also discusses the loss of many of Hayti’s businesses and homes in the late 1950s to urban renewal and the Durham freeway as well as how current residents preserve and carry forward Hayti’s legacy.

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