Envisioning a Durham for All: Perspectives on Living, Working and Voting in Durham as a Working Class Person of Color


In 1912 civil rights leader W.E.B, Dubois characterized Durham as a role model for progress both in terms of African American economic development, and relations between African American and white residents. In spite of white resistance, generations of political struggle on the part of African-Americans (as well as local and immigrant allies) has ensured that Durham maintains a reputation as one of the most progressive cities on a myriad of civil rights issues in the American South. However, targeted urban renewal, discriminatory policing and immigration enforcement, rising rent and stagnant wages are among measures that are making Durham an increasingly hostile environment for people of color, immigrants, and working class residents. The following is a summary of nine interviews, in which working class people of color shared their experiences living, working and participating in politics in Durham in 2017. In stories about the economy, housing, education, sanctuary and democracy, these interviews highlight the changes Durham needs to make in order to be a city that is truly progressive and welcoming to all.