Supporters of Durham 150: March Issue

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 event.

Save the Date: The Durham 150 Opening Celebration Presented by Aetna

We can’t celebrate Durham’s birthday without you! Check out the Facebook event that’s now live for more details, mark that you’re attending and share it with your friends to help us spread the word. We look forward to seeing everyone turn out for a fun-filled event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the American Tobacco Campus on Saturday, April 13.

Recap: THE BEST OF ENEMIES Durham Special Screening

What an amazing event for Durham last week! The sold-out screenings at the Carolina Theatre and Griffith Film Theatre at Duke were incredible moments and signature events of our yearlong sesquicentennial celebration. At the March 19th premiere at the Carolina Theatre, the Atwater and Ellis families reunited, Taraji P. Henson walked the red carpet, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II helped introduce the film, and community members came together to celebrate and learn from the story of school integration in Durham. Almost 50 media members attended, including both local outlets as well as national ones like NBC Nightly News.

Many thanks, again, to the Best of Enemies Premiere Committee chaired by Dr. Benjamin Reese Jr. and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and to The Forest at Duke, sponsor of the VIP Reception and transportation for Durham Public School students to an earlier screening that day. For those that missed the advance screenings, I hope you can see the film when it debuts nationally in theaters on April 5. In the meantime, check out Taraji’s answer about what Ann Atwater means to Durham and a one-minute highlight reel of the activities that evening.

Donate to Durham 150 to Celebrate our City’s Birthday

We doubt anyone reading this will be around for another 150 years, but this beautiful, boundless community will be. Much of our early fundraising efforts over the past few months have focused on major donors. Tomorrow, we’re launching a call across social networks to inspire followers and proud Durhamites to celebrate a century and a half of the Bull City. We’re encouraging folks to become one of 1,500 people who give $15 to the Durham 150 commemoration before April 10, the City’s actual anniversary date. We’ll take donations of any size, but 1,500 people giving $15 or more will enable us to continue to coordinate programming and celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime anniversary.

All donors will receive a code to collect a Durham 150 logo magnet at the Durham 150 Opening Celebration Presented by Aetna or to pick up at the Museum of Durham History throughout the year. We hope that you share news of your #15forDurham150 across social networks and tell your friends and family. If you aren’t on social media, you can give directly to Durham 150 at the Museum of Durham History’s website. We’re grateful for your support in making this Bull City birthday the best one yet.

Taking a Moment to Thank our Sponsors

In the last newsletter, we thanked the City of Durham, Durham County and Aetna for their support of Durham 150 and the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, Rotary Clubs of Durham and Wexford Science + Tech for sponsoring our grants program.

This week, we’d like to thank the Museum of Durham History Exhibit Sponsors that are already on board: The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and The Jenny Semans Koortbojian Trust. For their support, the Museum will be able to host dynamic, diverse exhibits observing pivotal stories, people and places from our 150-year history. Exhibits already planned include ‘150 Faces of Durham,’ ‘Made in Durham,’ ‘Lost to the Loop,’ Bull City Swing Out,’ and the ‘S.E. Rochelle.’ Stay tuned for more details about the exhibits!

We also have multiple sponsors on board that are graciously supporting the Museum of Durham History Vision Project. We thank the BIN Charitable Foundation; as well as Kuhn Advisors, Inc. and Mark & Cindy KuhnHem + Spire; and Guy and Mindy Solie who donated in honor of Bob Ashley.

The Museum of Durham History has an important role to play in the sesquicentennial, leading the effort to plan programs and exhibits that are interactive, engaging and inclusive. During this year, planning will also be underway to expand the museum as a more significant and permanent home for Durham’s unfolding history and community story. One of the legacy projects of Durham 150 will become the launch for the new Museum of Durham History identified through community conversations, architectural design, and capital campaign planning.

We look forward to introducing you to more of Durham 150’s generous sponsors in the weeks to come.

Join Us at a Public Event to Learn More About Durham 150

We will be out in the community to spread the message about Durham 150 and to encourage involvement. More information is below on an event when we’ll be providing information about the project and how to lend support.

  • March 28 – 5:30-6:30 p.m.
    Join us at Stanford L. Warren Library to learn more about the Durham 150 project to brainstorm about event activation and project ideas, and to learn more about available grants.
    1201 Fayetteville Street
    Durham, NC 27707
    * Please RSVP to attend the above event by sending an email to

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 listing of all events here.

The Annual Black History: Artists’ Perspectives Exhibition 2019
Now Through April 30
St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27701
M-F 10am-5pm, Sa 10am-3pm

“Portraits of Durham” Exhibit at the Durham Arts Council

Now Through May 2
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris St, Durham, NC 27701
March 15th Reception: 6pm
Gallery Hours: 9am-9pm M-Sa, 1pm-6pm Sun

Neighborhoods Hike
March 30, 2019
Across from White Star Laundry
Ninth and Green Streets, Durham, NC 27705

Turning the Page: Durham’s Reading History
April 1-June 30
Southwest Regional Library
3605 Shannon Rd. Durham, NC 27707
Exhibit Open During Library Hours

Durham 150 Opening Celebration Presented by Aetna

Saturday, April 13
American Tobacco Campus
318 Blackwell St, Durham, NC 27701

Historical Note

March is recognized across the country as Women’s History Month. It’s an understatement that no newsletter would be long enough to recognize the women who’ve helped make Durham thrive. The Sesquicentennial Honors Commission made their recommendations to City Council the changemakers in Durham’s history who should be officially uplifted this anniversary year. We wanted to recognize the women of their list here:

  • Louisa Whitted Burton – one of the first African-American women in North Carolina to have authority as Hillside’s de facto Assistant Principal, is a role model for all children.
  • Lucinda McCauley Harris – brought over 5,000 students to Durham from across the United States and foreign countries to receive their education.
  • Ann Atwater – co-chair of the Save Our Schools 10-day charette featured in “The Best of Enemies” that brought school integration to Durham, she dedicated her life to community organizing and promoting civil rights in Durham.
  • Connie Moses – a fierce champion for the arts in Durham, she is credited with being the tour de force behind rescuing The Carolina Theatre from demolition and formed the Carolina Cinema Corporation.
  • Tana Hoffman-Ramirez – worked for almost two decades as a passionate feminist advocate for Latina women’s rights in Durham at El Centro Hispano.
  • Dr. Pauli Murray – sat in the whites-only section of front of a bus, years before Rosa Parks; sat at segregated lunch counters in Washington, D.C. years before Greensboro; crafted a legal strategy and helped write Brown vs. Board of Education; coined the term “Jane Crow;” and co-founded the National Organization for Women, fighting injustice throughout her life
  • Viola Turner – took charge of North Carolina Mutual’s portfolio of mortgages and government bonds, successfully investing in stocks and contributing to the company’s financial success throughout the 1940s.
  • Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans – directed most of her energy and philanthropy toward arts and cultural programs and became one of the first two women to serve on City Council and went on to serve as Durham’s first female mayor pro tempore.
  • Sharon Elliott-Bynum – a nurse, education, consultant and community advocate for the healthcare for all; her work at CAARE has been recognized at the highest level of federal public health.
  • Hildegarde Ryals – dedicated her life to protecting Durham’s natural and cultural resources, focusing on preserving historic sites, defending local watershed and controlling the spread of suburban sprawl.

The fruits of the entrepreneurial spirit that women built are everywhere in the Bull City, making it one of the few places in 2017 where women earned more money than men on average. Women make up the majority of Durham’s City Council and Board of County Commissioners today. Yes, it is Women’s History Month, but we’re proud to be a part of a community that celebrates and uplifts women all year long.

You can find the Honors Commission’s report to City Council here.

Do you have a friend, family member or colleague who would be interested in receiving these Durham 150 newsletters? Let them know they can subscribe to updates on Durham 150 here.


Shelly Green & Patrick Mucklow
Co-Chairs, Durham 150

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