Photo Credit: Colin Rowley
How To Spend 48 Hours In Black Owned Durham, NC
North Carolina is steeped in Black history, culture and excellence, and Durham has a high concentration of Black- owned businesses to patronize.
According to Discover Durham, there is “a strong history of diversity and entrepreneurial prowess.” The city’s West Parrish Street was known as Black Wall Street, home to a series of thriving Black-owned establishments dating back to the early 1900s. That entrepreneurial spirit endures to this day, and Durham is home to over 200 Black-owned businesses.
When some hear ‘Black Wall Street’, they think of the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Black businesses were burned to the ground on May 31, 1921. But, Discover Durham points out, “what you might not have read in your school textbooks was the thrilling narrative of Durham’s unapologetic position as a successful urban epicenter at the turn of the century.” It went on to be what Tulsa’s Black Wall Street was before it was destroyed.
Planning a weekend to Durham soon? Here’s just a fraction of Black-owned businesses to support.
1. Day 1- Morning
If your accommodation style leans more towards bed and breakfast, stay at charming Morehead Manor, a Colonial Revival-style home.
It has five comfortable guest rooms, as well as a garden and a carriage house.
Enjoy a full, complimentary breakfast each morning, as well as delicious desserts and beverages.
Once you’re downtown, get your caffeine fix at Beyu Caffè with its Bohemian, friendly vibe. The original location is on Main Street, but there are three others. One is at Boxyard RTP, which has multiple vendors, and two are at Duke University.
If you’re at Boxyard, swing over to Wonderpuff for some cotton candy. And yes, that’s Black-owned, too!
For brunch, head over to Dame’s Chicken and Waffles on Foster Street. They offer many delicious meals other than what you see in the name.
Once you’ve gotten that good southern eating out of the way, how about a walking tour courtesy of Whistle Stop Tours?
One of the three tours available is Hayti to Haiti: a walking tour of Durham’s Hayti neighborhood, which lasts 75 minutes.
Whistle Stop Tours was founded by Aya Shabu, a choreographer and teacher who aims to further the public’s education on “North Carolina’s slave past and African- American achievement.”
For dinner, check out Saltbox Seafood Joint, founded by Chef Ricky Moore. If you’re looking for an eatery that is unpretentious and has delicious seafood, this is a great choice.
Zweli’s offers tasty Zimbabwean fare, for meat lovers, vegans and vegetarians.
Close out your first day in Durham with a red velvet cupcake or other treat from Favor Desserts.
Round up your friends for a night at The Slush. Try your hand at karaoke, boozy bingo and trivia, while imbibing a variety of adult beverages.
If you don’t drink alcohol, you can get the virgin versions of the popular slushies.
4. Day 2- Morning
Your stay in Durham may be coming to an end soon, but you can still pack a lot more into 24 hours.
True Flavors Diner has delicious options for breakfast, brunch and lunch.
Since you did all that walking as part of the Whistle Stop Tours yesterday, balance it out with something low-key.
Head over to Rofhiwa Bookstore, an independent, Black and queer-owned shop. Its objective is to “reflect the expansiveness of the black imagination.”
Read up on the culture while sipping a coffee, which you can purchase on site.
Did you know that North Carolina Central University (NCCU) was the first publicly funded, African-American liberal arts school in the United States? It’s worth a visit.
According to Discover Durham, “the permanent collection includes work from the 19th and 20th centuries, including pieces by Henry Ossawa Tanner and Jacob Lawrence. Five special exhibits come through each year and include other notable and historic artwork, as well as annual showcases of art created by NCCU and Durham Public Schools students.”
Hungry? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how delicious vegan meals can be. Pure Soul is entirely plant based, locally sourced and proudly Black-owned.
Looking for a unique spin on the standard open-air bus tour? Check out Bull City Laughs, specializing in telling history with a twist of humor.
Round off your afternoon with a trip to the Selfie Symposium for some great photo opportunities that’ll help you remember your Durham adventures for years to come.
Looking to support a Black-owned wine shop before you go?
Check out Melanated Wine, founded by LaShonda Modest, who aims to “uncork the culture” and make wine more accessible to communities of color.
The shop hosts wine tasting events as well as wine-centric trivia. Be sure to make reservations as they are required.
We’re not sure if you’ve ever heard of a Puerto Rican soul food restaurant, but Boricua Soul is exactly that.
Collard greens? Tostones? Empandas? Mac n’ Cheese? Yes, indeed. There’s all that and more.
You can dine at the American Tobacco location, or patronize one of the Boricua Soul food trucks.