Supporters of Durham 150: Issue #18

Welcome to the Supporters of Durham 150 newsletter, designed to keep those interested in Durham’s sesquicentennial updated on all the planning activities surrounding the yearlong commemoration.

A Full Moon and a Self Portrait

Since our last email, two new exciting Durham 150-tied projects were announced, setting the stage for November to be one of the most packed months of the sesquicentennial year.

Over a decade ago, “Durham: A Self-Portrait” premiered on November 16 at the historic Carolina Theatre, and on November 16, 2019, it will return to the same venue to tell the stories of our distinct community again. This documentary film and educational media project premiered to community acclaim in 2007, prompting a review by the Indy that said, “The enthusiasm with which Durhamites are receiving Channing’s film is indicative of the city’s proud, diverse and sometimes combustible history.” Indeed. This film documents the rise of Durham, that historic “Secret Game,” and a thriving Black Wall Street, in addition to moments of transformation — from the birth of the tobacco, textile, and African American insurance and banking industries that defined the place for a century. In recognition of Durham 150, the filmmakers produced an updated version of their film featuring a new “Ten Years After” epilogue that speaks to today’s Durham. They ask: Are we still a “Tale of Two Cities,” and does Durham’s history still matter? The premiere at Carolina Theatre is a Durham 150 Signature Event. A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Museum of Durham History.

On another note, the moon will quite literally descend upon downtown Durham’s CCB Plaza from October 31-November 3. This free, four-day community event presents Museum of the Moon, a mesmerizing and world-renowned touring installation by U.K. artist Luke Jerram. Science and art will coalesce in celebration of Durham’s 150th Anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The exploration of history, innovation and entrepreneurship themes make this the perfect event for our sesquicentennial.

The Bull Moon Rising opening will begin at 6 p.m. on October 31 with Illumination of the Moon, hosted by Vivica C. Coxx, Stormie Daie and Naomi Dix, followed by a reading of “Goodnight Moon” by Mayor Steve Schewel, a Paperhand Puppets’ Halloween-themed performance, and the Durham Medical Orchestra’s Brass group performance.

We encourage everyone who comes to the Closing Ceremony on November 2 to stroll through CCB Plaza on your way to DPAC before the show begins at 7:30 p.m. What an evening celebrating Durham’s past, present and future!

Tickets on Sale to the Durham 150 Closing Ceremony on November 2

If you held off buying tickets to the Durham 150 Closing Ceremony until it was a little closer, note that we are less than a month out!  Great seats are still available to the culminating event of our yearlong sesquicentennial that will take place on November 2 at DPAC … but not for long. Tickets are currently available for either $15 or $30 (plus taxes and fees) at or in-person at DPAC’s box office. Don’t delay or you may miss this spectacular performance of live music, live actors, and historic video recreations of pivotal moments in Durham’s history.

Upcoming Durham 150 Events

There are a host of significant events coming up for people of all ages and walks of life. Many are free and designed to help us all learn more about Durham’s past, present, and future. Find a searchable listing of all events here.

Latinos in Durham: A Short Story of An Invisible but Vibrant Force
Durham 150 Grantee
October 10, 2019
6:30 pm
El Centro Hispano
2000 Chapel Hill Rd. #26a, Durham, NC 27707

NCCU Department of Theatre Presents: Best of Enemies
October 11, 12, and 13
Various times
FREE and Open to the Public
Farrison-Newton Communications Building
501 E. Lawson St., Durham, NC 27707

Artist Soapbox: Durham 150 Artist Spotlight
Durham 150 Grantee
October 14, October 21
Listen to the Podcast on

Celebrate Durham Black Business Success
Durham 150 Grantee
October 12, 2019
Noon-7 p.m.
Phoenix Event Center
810 Fayetteville St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27707

2nd Annual Festival of Nations, Hosted by Sister Cities of Durham
Durham 150 Grantee
October 12, 2019
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission is $5. Children under 12 are free
Duke Homestead State Historic Site
2828 Duke Homestead Rd., Durham, NC 27705

The Young Entrepreneurs’ Expo 2019
October 12, 2019
2-5 p.m.
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St., Durham, NC 27701

A Muslim Scene: Film, Taste, Style of Muslims in Durham
Durham 150 Grantee
October 13, 2019
2-5 p.m.
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris St., Durham, NC 27701

Dance Durham Dance
Durham 150 Grantee
October 18, 2019
6 p.m.-12 a.m.
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St., Durham, NC 27701

5th Annual Ms. Full-Figured North Carolina Pageant
October 19, 2019
6 p.m.
Catch The Fire
2304 Page Rd., Durham, NC 27703

Baseball For All: A Concert for a Field of Dreams Presented By Durham Medical Orchestra Foundation
Durham 150 Grantee
October 20, 2019
3 p.m.
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St., Durham, NC 27701

Leap of Faith: A Tribute to Durham Then and Now
Durham 150 Grantee
October 20, 2019
4 p.m.
Durham Friends Meeting House
404 Alexander Ave., Durham, NC 27705

October 27, 2019
2 p.m.
Hillside High School
3727 Fayetteville Rd., Durham, NC 27707

Bull Moon Rising
October 31 – November 3, 2019
CCB Plaza, Downtown
201 Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701

Historical Note

Speaking of space, a distinctive figure we’ll soon honor at the Durham 150 Closing Ceremony on November 2 certainly knew how to make incredible use of it … both literally and figuratively. Richard G. M. Wescott was a natural scientist and founder of the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science. Science and technology were ascendant in the early 1960s with the dawning of the Space Age, and a new future was in the making for the Durham Children’s Museum when Wescott joined the staff. Under his direction, it became the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science.

Trained as a commercial artist, Wescott and some helpers built a “Pre-History Trail” with 20 life-size models of dinosaurs in the woods off Murray Avenue. Those friends included late Louis Purnell at the National Air & Space Museum and Michael Collins, an Apollo 11 crew member. Those influences spurred the development of one of the finest collections of space memorabilia in the country, featuring an exhibit that contained a representation of the Apollo 11 flight, one of only four Lunar Landing Modules, and a one-of-a-kind walkthrough of the entire process of launching a rocket — designed specifically for blind visitors. The museum also grew a significant collection of live animals, as we now know. After beginning as a volunteer and then becoming a curator, Wescott became the museum director in 1971. The rest was history.

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