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.