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Historical Marker Commemorates Durham's 'Black Wall Street'

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DURHAM, N.C. — At the turn of the 20th Century, Durham's Mangum and Parrish streets were the place to be if you were black and an entrepreneur.

The location was considered by many as the black business mecca of the South.

Over time, that prosperity disappeared. City leaders hope the unveiling of a state historical marker that bears the name "Black Wall Street" will bring hope for the future.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell provided opening remarks at the ceremony that took place at the corner of Parrish and Mangum streets Thursday morning.

The area featured several successful black-owned financial institutions in the early 1900s, including Mechanics & Farmers Bank and North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance.

Black entrepreneurship has a long history in Durham, drawing praise from Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois.

DuBois came to Durham for a visit, during which time he said race relations in the city were even more impressive than they were in Atlanta at that time. He also credited the support of whites in the area as part of the reason for Durham's economic success.

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