Thursday, June 6, 2013

Durham’s Historic Parrish Street Forum Hosts Black History Presentation June 20

Education has always played an important role in Durham's history. It's no different in Durham's African-American community.

Dr. Aaron Moore is hailed as Durham’s first black physician and one of the original founders of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. However, he was also a strong education advocate who made a great impact on Durham’s public education system and beyond.

Residents are invited to learn more about this pillar of Durham's black community at a free presentation that will uncover the critical role that Dr. Moore played in the education of blacks, not only in Durham, but throughout North Carolina.

Hosted by the Historic Parrish Street Forum, this free event will be held on Thursday June 20, 2013, at 7 p.m. at the Historic Parrish Street Forum, located at 108 W. Parrish Street in downtown Durham.

The presentation will be given by Joanne Abel, adult programming and humanities librarian with the Durham County Library. Abel will share her research on Dr. Moore’s work to improve education policies, the training of students, and the employment of black teachers.

Abel notes that Dr. Moore took decisive action in 1915 to inspect black schools. “Dr. Moore raised money to hire a statewide inspector of black schools who would be truly independent, because he was paid by the black community,” Abel said. “This inspector visited 35 counties and found the schools in Durham County to be among the worst. This finding was a catalyst for the actions Dr. Moore would then lead to improve black schools throughout the South.”

Abel will also discuss Dr. Moore’s advocacy for the employment of black teachers through the Jeanes Foundation – an organization founded to train black teachers and place them in schools in the South. These teachers worked to upgrade those schools and provide vocational training for black students.

This event is sponsored by the Parrish Street Project, an initiative of the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Parrish Street Advocacy Group, to spur economic development and commemorate the history of Durham’s Black Wall Street.

For more information contact Nia Richardson, economic development specialist with the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, by email at  or by calling (919) 560-4965, ext. 15216.

About Joanne Abel
Joanne Abel is the adult programming and humanities librarian with the Durham County Library. She earned her bachelor’s of science degree in Education from Georgia Southern College, her master’s degree in Library Science from North Carolina Central University, and her Master of Art in Liberal Studies from Duke University. Her final project at Duke was on Durham County’s African-American Schools and the Jeanes Supervising Teachers from 1900-1930. This project was made into a Durham County Library web page called The Women Who Ran the Schools. To learn more, click here.

About the Parrish Street Project
The Parrish Street Project is an initiative of the Durham City Council to commemorate the nationally significant history of Parrish Street, also known as “Black Wall Street,” and spur economic revitalization for this downtown Durham corridor. This initiative is being coordinated by the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Parrish Street Advocacy Group, and a group of Durham leaders, activists, businesses, and residents representing some of the most influential organizations and interests in the Bull City. Together they are engaged in a mission to attract new investment and pursue national heritage area status from the United States Congress. To learn more, click here.

About the Office of Economic & Workforce Development
Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development helps ensure that Durham has a strong and diverse economy by increasing the city’s tax base through several revitalization initiatives, including new development efforts in the central city area. The department also plans and promotes cultural awareness and events, identifies and recruits target industries as well as assesses and trains Durham residents to fill new jobs. For more information, visit the website, “like” on Facebook, or “follow” on Twitter.

Learn more about the city where great things happen.

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