What’s in a name? Durham’s Hayti

“The first documented use of the name Hayti in Durham is found in a deed of 1877 in which a lot was sold ‘near the town of Durham in the settlement of colored people in the South East end of the corporation of said town known as of Hayti.’

“The origin of the name in this context is a mystery. Conjecture has attributed it to whites as a name for any black settlement, and to blacks as an expression of their admiration of and hope of emulating the independent island nation.

“The use of the term as a convention of mapmakers for any predominantly black community was current as early as 1867. A map of New Bern and vicinity in that year identified the black settlement across the Trent River from the town proper as Hayti, even though it had a name, James City.”

— From “Durham County: A History of Durham County, North Carolina” (1990) by Jean Bradley Anderson

2 thoughts on “What’s in a name? Durham’s Hayti”

  1. Our ancestral church was called ‘Hayti’. There are graves dating back to the 1700’s. The church was located near the Mason Dixon line in Maryland, just across the line from southeastern York Co. In Penna. It served the Black community in the area.

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