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The original item was published from 2/7/2022 5:59:00 PM to 2/22/2022 11:16:17 AM.

News Flash

City of Durham News

Posted on: February 7, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Exploring Black History in Durham and Beyond

Durham's first Black mayor Chester Luther Jenkins and first Black female Mayor Elaine O'Neal

February is Black History Month—an opportunity to remember and celebrate the challenges and contributions of Black Americans in our organization, community, and country.

The brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month was originally a week-long celebration of the achievements of Black Americans that started in 1926. Although Black History is American History, Black History Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions that Black Americans have made to society. Learn more about the beginnings of Black History Month in a background piece from NPR.

Below are many ways to explore and recognize the impact of Black Americans in the Bull City and beyond:

2 or so mins:  

  • Learn about Black history by watching a mini documentary hosted by renowned historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. 
  • Learn about the history of Durham Parks and Recreation in a blog post featuring Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival, W.D. Hill Recreation Center, and more.

15 mins: 

 20 mins or so:  

  • Listen to this history of the blues to learn about how Black Americans have shaped the musical landscape in the US.  

30 mins:  

an hour or more:  

a few hours:  

For a full list of Black History Month events in the Triangle, check out WRAL’s Black History Month Guide. 

During February, we will share photos from the City's archives highlighting the contributions of Black Americans in City government:

Durham's first Black mayor Chester Luther Jenkins and first Black female Mayor Elaine O'Neal

Durham's First Black Mayor

From 1989 to 1991, Chester Luther Jenkins served as the first Black mayor of Durham after having previously served on the Durham City Council for eight years. Thirty years later on December 6, 2021, Durham native Elaine O’Neal was sworn in and now serves as the first Black female mayor of Durham.

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