The Demise
African-Americans began settling on the southwest edge of Durham, North Carolina, shortly after the Civil War. The community came to be known as "Hayti," a name whites commonly used for black settlements (Anderson 155). Originally simply a labor pool for Durham's tobacco warehouses, Hayti soon began to prosper. In 1911, when Booker T. Washington visited Hayti, he found "a city of Negro enterprises" whose citizens were "shining examples of what a colored man may become" (58). Hayti was home to North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, Lincoln Hospital, and after 1910, North Carolina College for Negroes, later North Carolina Central University. For African-Americans travelling through the Jim Crow South, Hayti was a valued stopping place. Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway performed there. Hayti also had a home-grown music scene in the Piedmont Blues, nurtured by native sons like Blind Boy Fuller and Bull City Red. But Hayti's value to African-Americans lay as much in its very existence as in its entrepreneurs and musicians. In the days of segregation, Hayti was a place where African-Americans could eat in restaurants, practice their trades, and call each other "Mr." and "Mrs."-where they could stop being "colored," and simply be people.
Background Info
Hayti People
Historical Sites