Maybe North Carolina’s largest and most popular metropolitan area, after Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Raleigh-Durham has a untold story that has similarities but is also different from the rest of North Carolina.
After slavery ended, many black families relocated into the Raleigh-Durham area, mostly due to the work and opportunities in the nearby tobacco fields, which helped give the nickname of Bull City to the city of Durham.
As the black community was growing, neighborhoods like Hargett Street of Raleigh or Parrish Street, also known as Black Wall Street, of Durham became the heart and soul of the black population.
Today, much has change from gentrification to people in general as the old black communities have declined, disappeared or moved into other sections of the city.
Raleigh Ghetto Story
In a city with over 400,000 people, the black population only makes up 30% of the communities in Raleigh.
The streets and urban communities of the Raleigh ghetto are mostly in East Raleigh or the Southeast section, along streets like Poole Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Sanderford Road, Cross Link Road or Raleigh Blvd.
The original African-American community was in the areas of Raleigh’s two historical black colleges, Shaw University and Saint Augustine’s University, one being around Lenoir Street and the other being around Oakwood Avenue and Raleigh Boulevard.
Currently, the Raleigh ghetto that sits between Raleigh Boulevard and Raleigh’s downtown district is becoming gentrified and rebuilding between New Bern and Martin Luther King Blvd. is change the makeup of the once historic community.
In the city of Durham, the Hayti community once served as the main black community of Durham with Parrish Street, also known as Black Wall Street was the business district of the neighborhood.
Today, Fayetteville Street has very little reminisces of the old days of Hayti, as urban renewal around the 1960s with the construction of the Fayette Place housing projects and the Durham Freeway destroyed the majority of the neighborhood.
The community would later expand into East Durham and the South Side, while other historic communities like the West End along Morehead Avenue or Walltown off of Club Boulevard were still intact, even though parts of the West End suffered urban renewal also.
While old neighborhoods like Few Gardens have been rebuilt, there are still a number of areas on all sides of Durham.
The South Side or Southeast Durham, mostly around Fayetteville Street and S. Alston Avenue, has neighborhoods like McDougald Terrace, aka Da Mac, Cornwallis Road, and parts of Hope Valley.
East Durham, even though parts like Few Gardens and Edgemont have been gentrified, has most of its community from Angier Avenue to pass Holloway Street.
North Durham, with exception to the Old Farm community of off of Roxboro Road, is mainly in the Braggtown section of Durham, home to the Braggtown Projects, Bluefield, and Kerrwood.
The West Side of the city consists of areas like Morreene Road and Crest Street or the historic black community of the West End around Morehead Ave.
The West End, which is one of the Durham’s original black communities, dates back to the city’s early days while having similar result as the Hayti community with the building of the Durham Freeway.
With multiple universities in the area like Duke, UNC or NC State, the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan provides opportunities and is steadily growing, but the future of some of the city’s urban communities is uncertain.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.