A Brief Look at Durham’s Black Wall Street and Its History

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At Provident1898, we’re inspired by the economic vitality and spirit of Durham’s Black Wall Street. We, too, want to cultivate a community of diverse entrepreneurs and provide the tools, resources, and space they need to help Black-owned businesses flourish, and we’re inviting you to be part of this community.

Black Wall Street, Provident1898

You may or may not be familiar with Black Wall Street, but today, we’ll take a brief look at the history of this important area.

During the late 19th and early 20th century, Black Wall Street in Durham, North Carolina was a thriving commercial area of various Black-owned businesses, including NC Mutual Life—the largest and oldest Black-owned insurance company in the country—and Mechanics and Farmers Bank. Additionally, barbers, tailors, drugstore owners, and many more were located in this area, on four blocks of Parrish Street. These businesses thrived during the Reconstruction era despite Jim Crow laws.

Over the years, Black Wall Street expanded, and the nearby population grew, leading Durham to become known as the capital of the Black middle class in America. By the time the Civil Rights Movement came around in the 1960s, however, Black Wall Street was past its prime, as urban sprawl and desegregation made it difficult for Black entrepreneurs to compete with white entrepreneurs in the area. Still, its robust economy and strong community is notable even today.

We hope to create the new Black Wall Street where entrepreneurs like you can find the support they need. Contact us today to learn more.