The Life and Legacy of Floyd B. McKissick Sr.

In what would have been the year of his 100th birthday, the Museum of Durham History is exploring the lasting impact of one of Durham’s most influential figures, Floyd B. McKissick Sr. The exhibit will examine McKissick Sr.’s work in desegregating local schools, universities (particularly UNC Law School), organizations, and businesses, an initiative that was carried forward by his children Floyd Jr., Jocelyn, Andree, and Charmaine. Other highlights will include his leadership in the national Civil Rights Movement and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and his role as the Founder and Developer of Soul City. McKissick was a pivotal figure in the fight for equality for African Americans in Durham and across the country, and his impact continues to shape history and inspire change today.

Community Partnerships

As part of its unique “Museum Beyond Walls” vision of bringing history to the community, the Museum is presenting the exhibit at three meaningful Durham locations, each with a distinct theme and design.

  • The North Carolina Central University Turner Law Building explores McKissick Sr.’s Civil Rights advocacy and legal career. (On display through Spring 2023)
  • The Museum of Durham History shares McKissick Sr.’s life and accomplishments, the controversy surrounding Soul City, and life growing up as a McKissick in the L is for Legacy kids exhibit. (On display through Summer 2023)
  • The Hayti Heritage Center takes an in-depth look into McKissick Sr.’s Black Power ideology as the movement emerged following the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (On display through Spring 2023)

“This is a special exhibit for our family and for Durham. I feel it is important people understand the many facets of my father’s life, and to discuss them in further detail at these three venues gives a deeper insight of his varied accomplishments and who he really was,” said his daughter and family archivist, Dr. Charmaine McKissick-Melton

Hayti Heritage Center is located at 804 Old Fayetteville Street, Durham 27701. Refer to their website for hours of operation. The building has plenty of parking and is ADA-accessible. 

The NCCU Turner Law Building is located at 640 Nelson Street, Durham 27707. Refer to their website for directions and hours of operations. Due to the location on Central’s campus, call the Law Building prior to your visit for advice on parking. 

Opening Events

  • November 4th-6th Satellite Exhibit Opening at the NCCU Turner Law Building: The unveiling of this satellite display will take place the same weekend as NC Central’s Homecoming. Use the above link to locate the display in the law school building.
  • November 18th Main Exhibit Opening at the Museum of Durham History: For November’s Third Friday art crawl, the Museum will host an opening reception for the main exhibit. There will be light refreshments, musical entertainment, and a short speech from the exhibit curators, Michelle Needham and Sharon Barry. 
  • Date TBD for the Satellite Exhibit Opening at the Hayti Heritage Center

Share Your Story

As part of the exhibit, the Museum would like to hear from community members about their memories, perspectives, and experiences related to the story of Floyd B. McKissick Sr. and the themes of each location. Visitors are welcome to stop by the Museum at 500 W. Main Street in Durham to visit the Story Room and share their own stories, which will be featured on the Museum’s website along with a trove of photos, images, and interesting facts about the exhibit. If you want to contribute to our McKissick oral history collection, but are unable to make it to the Museum in-person, check out our virtual Story Kiosk right here on our website. Give us a call at (919)246-9993, ext. 2, for any assistance in contributing your story! 


The Life and Legacy of Floyd B. McKissick Sr. is sponsored by Fidelity Investments and Duke Health, and is presented in partnership with North Carolina Central University and the Hayti Heritage Center. Interested in contributing to future programming at the Museum of Durham History? Visit this link to learn about the different levels of sponsorship for The Life and Legacy of Floyd B. McKissick Sr. and other upcoming exhibits. 

Curation Team

The exhibit is curated by the Museum’s Director of Educational Programs and Exhibits, Michelle Needham and Community Curator, Sharon Barry. The creative design was part of Needham’s vision to explore different perspectives around the content. “Floyd McKissick Sr. has many milestones, achievements, and stories we want to share, and each has its own value and meaning to the community. To incorporate as many of these elements as possible, we want to present the exhibit through different lenses and work with our community partners to make it engaging, accessible, and relatable for all of our visitors,” Needham said of the concept.