W.E.B. Du Bois and Durham

Did you know that W.E.B. Du Bois was so impressed with booming African American business and commerce in early twentieth century Durham, he wrote an essay about it?

“Du Bois’s essay ‘The Upbuilding of Black Durham'[…]sounds a hopeful note, praising a North Carolina town in which a flourishing black middle class had developed robust manufacturing and service sectors without white interference. Based on his first-hand observations, Du Bois describes a bevy of black-owned businesses including grocery stores, barber shops, drug stores, a bank, ‘a shoe store, a haberdashery, and an undertaking establishment,’ as well as factories that produced ‘mattresses, hosiery, brick, iron articles, and dressed lumber’ (pp.334-335). He praises the industry and thrift of Durham’s African American residents, noting that they own ‘a half million dollars’ worth of property,’ though their ‘pretty and well-equipped homes’ show ‘no evidence of luxury.'”

Read more about what the Harvard-educated African American activist, historian, and sociologist had to say about Durham in Documenting the American South’s monthly highlight.

Think you know your state? Take this quiz N.C.

Here’s a Tar Heel knockoff of a “Va.” quiz offered by puzzlemaster Will Shortz on NPR.

Limit your responses to only “N.C.” words (Northampton County, for example, or Nextel Cup.)

Spoiler alert: Answers immediately below.

1. As a gubernatorial candidate, Bev Perdue lamented that “Wherever I go, people ask me, ‘Can’t we stop the — –?”

2. Birthplace of  football player Julius Peppers.

3. How Cabarrus County bills itself to tourists.

4. State bird.

5. Charlotte-based steel maker.

6. Bait popular with the state’s fresh-water fishermen.

7.  Athletic Association that sponsors basketball’s Final Four.

8. Bank of America headquarters, tallest building in the state, was previously known as the — — Center.

9. The Alford plea, based on a Forsyth County murder case and invoked by such defendants as former House Speaker Jim Black, is closely akin to this more common plea.

10. Yadkin Valley wine growers hope to emulate the success of….


1. “Negative campaign.”

2. Nash County.

3. NASCAR Country.

4. Northern Cardinal.

5. Nucor Corp.

6. Night crawler.

7. National Collegiate.

8. NationsBank Corporate.

9. Nolo contendere (or no contest).

10. Napa, California