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The History of Hayti, The Anchor Of Durham’s African-American Neighborhood

What was once the commercial and social hub of Durham’s African-American community now looks very different. The Hayti neighborhood was initially established in the years following the Civil War around St. Joseph’s Church. Black people from surrounding areas were drawn to Hayti to do their banking and business because of its proximity to Black Wall Street, and many black-owned businesses thrived in Hayti, including the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Host Frank Stasio learns about the history of this area from Aya Shabu, who gives walking tours in Hayti. She is a Durham-based dance artist.

Justin Robinson joins the conversation to talk about the history of the area and a new initiative to reconnect Hayti to downtown Durham. Robinson is a Durham-based artist and a cultural historian.

And Stasio talks to Angela Lee, the executive director of the Hayti Heritage Center, about the cultural significance of Hayti and how she is carrying that forward into the future.

This year Durham is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its corporation. Learn about how the city is commemorating this anniversary here.

Amanda Magnus is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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