African-American History

Pauli Murray marker sits at Carroll and West Chapel Hill Streets in Durham.
Jeanette Stokes

An official state historic marker now sits in the West-End neighborhood of Durham celebrating the life of human rights leader Pauli Murray.

Black Soldiers In The Civil War

Jun 14, 2011

Visualize a Civil War soldier and a sepia colored picture of a white man likely comes to mind. But thousands of African Americans in North Carolina served in the Union Army during the Civil War. They trained in the town of New Bern after its fall in March 1962.

The owners of a historic house in eastern North Carolina are donating it for use as an African-American history museum. The Picot-Armistead-Pettiford House has stood in the small town of Plymouth for nearly 200 years. Local folklore links the house to the Underground Railroad before the Civil War despite Census data that shows the tenants were white and owned slaves. Willie Drye is the leader of a downtown development committee in Plymouth. He says free African-Americans bought the house at auction after the war.

Fifty years ago, on Feb. 1, four black college students sat down at a whites-only Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. The "Greensboro Four," along with friends and supporters, returned to the counter every day for six months until the lunch counter was desegregated.

Their determination to resist Jim Crow laws inspired thousands of peaceful sit-ins and helped to end official segregation in the South. On Monday, in the same building that once housed the Woolworth's store, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum opens.

In the late 1800s, North Carolina's favorite mountain retreat was home to a progressive African-American community that founded the Young Men's Institute. It remains the country's oldest free-standing African-American community center.

Pages