Hayti is home to several historically black churches; the majority of our
interviewees were active members of St. Joseph's A.M.E. Church or White
Rock Baptist Church. Throughout this century, churches have played a
vital role in the black community. Not only are they important spiritual
centers, but they are also important loci for political organization,
education, and community gathering.
The Civil Rights movement has shaped the black community in many ways.
Expressions of resistance have been manifested in political organization,
economic boycotts, and the promotion of black cultural identity. The
interviewees described their experiences with the Civil Rights movement.
All of the interviewees came in contact with the system of segregated
education. This system forced black students to work with second-class
facilities and materials. Despite these drawbacks, many students
encountered dedicated teachers and administrators who promoted their
success and the learning of their history. The 1954 Supreme Court
decision, Brown vs. Board of Education, called for the integration of
public education and prompted a gradual change. The interviewees
described varying experiences with the integration process.
Law and custom in the South dictated the separation of blacks and whites
in public spaces and organizations. The interviewees described their
encounters with segregation.
Memories and narratives of life under slavery endure in the black
community. Some of the interviewees shared family stories of life under
The late 1960's brought a fervor for the reorganization of America's
cities. In Durham, North Carolina, urban renewal razed "run-down"
neighborhoods and built housing projects in their place. With urban
renewal came the construction of the Durham Freeway, which cut through
the heart of Hayti. The Durham Freeway displaced Hayti's businesses,
churches, and homes, leaving a void that some argue has never been
h o m e