Durham Potpourri: A Selected Reading List
Durham County. Anderson, Jean Bradley. Durham, NC: Duke University Press,2011.
The bible of Durham County history.
The Story of Durham: City of the New South. Boyd, William Kenneth. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1925.
Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South. Brown, Leslie. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2008.
The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South. Davidson, Osha Gray. New York: Scribner, 1996.
The story of how Ann Atwater, a poor black community organizer, and C. P. Ellis, a Ku Klux Klan member, became the best of friends.
How Times Do Change: a Series of Sketches of Durham and Her Citizens. Dixon, Wyatt. Durham, NC: Central Carolina Publishing, Inc., 1987.
A collection of newspaper columns that appeared in the Durham Sun.
Bull Durham and Beyond: a Touring Guide to City and County. Flowers, John B. Durham, NC: Durham Bicentennial Commission, 1976.
A short guide to historic buildings in Durham and Durham County.
Our Separate Ways: Women and the Black Freedom Movement in Durham, North Carolina. Greene, Christina. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
A good history of the movement in general as well as women’s role in it.
Durham: a Pictorial History. Kostyu, Joel A. and Frank A. Norfolk, VA: Donning, 1978.
Durham: My Home Town. Lougee, George. Carolina Academic Press, 1990.
A collection of newspaper columns that appeared in the Durham Morning Herald.
The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory. Roberts, Claudia P., et al. Durham, NC: City of Durham, 1982.
Contains histories of Durham neighborhoods as well as profiles of architecturally significant pre-1940 structures within the Durham City limits ca. 1982.
Durham’s Hayti. Vann, Andre, and Beverly Washington Jones. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press, 1999.
Photographs with captions depicting various facets of history of Durham’s Hayti neighborhood.
The Way We Were: Remembering Durham. Webb, Mena. Durham, NC : Historic Preservation Society of Durham, 2003.
Newspaper columns and personal reminiscences of Durham.
Durham: A Bull City Story. Wise, James E. Charleston, SC : Arcadia, c2002.
An at times irreverent look at Durham’s history.
Brighter Leaves: Celebrating the Arts in Durham, North Carolina. Edited by a company of friends of Patrick D. Kenan. Durham, NC: Historic Preservation Society of Durham, 2008.
Durham Tales: The Morris Street Maple, the Plastic Cow, the Durham Day that was and More. Wise, Jim. Charleston: SC: History Press, 2008.
Growing Up in Durham
The Provincials: a Personal History of Jews in the South. Evans, Eli. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. Previously published New York: Atheneum, 1997.
The son of former mayor E. J. Evans devotes several chapters to the history of the Jewish community in Durham.
Heaven for Beginners: Recollections of a Southern Town. Holloway, Betsy. Orlando, FL: Persimmon Press, 1986.
Betsy Holloway lived near Duke’s East campus and describes growing up in Durham in the 1950s.
Unfinished Heaven. Holloway, Betsy. Orlando, FL: Persimmon Press, 1994.
Continues Betsy Holloway’s story, concentrating on Carr Junior High and Durham High.
The Way We Lived—Durham 1900-1920. Leyburn, James G. Elliston, VA: Northcross House, 1989.
The son of the minister of the First Presbyterian Church describes life in Durham, 1900-1920.
Mary. Mebane, Mary E. New York: Viking Press, 1981.
Mary Mebane writes about growing up in rural Durham County in the 1940s and 1950s. She compares the rural African-American culture with that of the urban, university community near NCCU.
Proud Shoes: The Story of a Family. Murray, Pauli. New York: Harper and Row, 1978.
Pauli Murray, lawyer and first African American woman to become an Episcopal priest, grew up in Durham 1915-1925. This book tells the story of her and her family. The first chapters of Song in a Weary Throat (B Murray) provide additional glimpses into Murray’s family and childhood in Durham.
Piedmont Plantation: The Benneham-Cameron Family and Lands in North Carolina. Anderson, Jean Bradley. Durham, NC: Historic Preservation Society of Durham, 1985.
About the families who owned and worked the Stagville and Fairntosh plantations.
Durham and Her People: Combining History and Who’s Who in Durham of 1949 and 1950. Dula, W.C. Durham, NC: Citizen Press, 1951.
A little history and a lot of information about the business community at the time.
Favored by Fortune: George W. Watts & the Hills of Durham. Covington, Howard E. Jr.. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
Bold Entrepreneur: The Life of James B. Duke. Durden, Robert F. Durham, NC : Carolina Academic Press, 2003.
Dukes of Durham, 1865-1929. Durden, Robert F. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1975.
Tells the story of Washington Duke and his three sons, Brodie, Ben, and James (“Buck”).
Bull Durham Business Bonanza, 1866-1940. Roberts, B. W. C. and Snow L., Durham, N.C : Genuine Durham Press, 2002.
A history of Bull Durham tobacco.
Jule Carr: General without an Army. Webb, Mena. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.
A well-researched, well-written biography of one of Durham’s most prominent late 19th-early20th-century citizens.
Durham Official Visitors Guide.
Current version may also be obtained from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Insider’s Guide to the Triangle. Herget, J. Barlow.
Fiction Set in Durham
Cannon, Taffy. Convictions: A Novel of the Sixties, 1985.
Set at Duke.
Edgerton, Clyde. Raney, 1985. Walking Across Egypt, 1987. Floatplane Notebooks, 1988.
Edgerton grew up in the Bethesda area of Durham County.
Ehle, John. Move Over Mountain, 1957.
Chronicles a black family’s successful struggle to rise into the middle class.
FitzSimmons, Foster. Bright Leaf, 1948.
The main characters of the novel are based on the Duke family.
Kremen, Barbara H. Tree Trove, 1985.
Two children experience a series of strange experiences that take them inside the world of the flora and fauna that inhabit Forest Hills Park.
McKay, Amanda. Death is Academic, 1976. Death on the Eno, 1981.
Amanda Smith has used Duke and the countryside near her home as setting for these mysteries.
Parker, Gwendolyn M. These Same Long Bones, 1994.
Set in Hayti in the late 1940s.
Patton, Frances Gray. Good Morning Miss Dove, 1954.
The setting for this charming book is Watts Street School. You will enjoy her short stories, too.
Rogers, Gloree. Love, or a Reasonable Facsimile, 1989.
About a young African American woman growing up with multiple handicaps. Winner of the 1988 Carolina Wren—Obsidian II Minority Book Award.
Seeman, Ernest. American Gold, 1978.
This novel is set in Durham around the turn of the century.
Sharp, Paula. The Woman Who Was Not All There, 1988.
A wise and witty single mother raises her children in a working class neighborhood during the 1960s.
Slaughter, Jane M. Espy and the Catnappers, 1975.
A delightful children’s book about a cat with unusual powers.
River Writing: an Eno Journal. Applewhite, James. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.
VIDEO 791.435 B
Popular baseball movie set in Durham.
VIDEO 975.6563 D
Videotape of 16mm film made by H. Lee Waters depicting people and scenes in Durham.
Ghosts in the Ballpark.
VIDEO 796.357 G
Documentary video about the historic Durham Athletic Park.
Negro Durham Marches On.
VIDEO 975.6563 N
Videotape from 16mm film of Hayti business ca. 1950 produced by the Durham Business and Professional Chain.
New Hope Creek.
VIDEO 917.56565 N
Video produced by the Triangle Land Conservation to encourage the preservation of New Hope Creek.
Pride of Durham.
VIDEO 975.6563 P
Videotape of centennial film made in 1981.
An Unlikely Friendship.
VIDEO 305.8 U
Story of civil rights activist Ann Atwater and Klan member C. P. Ellis, who, while working together to improve Durham’s schools, came to be friends. As a result, Ellis renounced his Klan affiliation.