I couldn’t talk about Raleigh without talking about Durham. Durham is known locally as the Bull City. Looking at the logic I applied to Raleigh, I found that Durham has community characteristics that resemble it’s nickname. These characteristics are not so much in how the city is shaped, but how the city has been shaped by it’s people.
First, the city has a lot of spunk. From the early days of being the Black Wall Street and a tobacco and textile capital, to the current start-up culture brewing downtown, Durham has been a trendsetter and a city of spunk.
Secondly, the city has a lot of fight. For years, especially after neighborhoods were destroyed to build the Durham Freeway, the city has had to fight to maintain a good image. Major crime activity and the image that created loomed over the city for years. Now, Durham is turning around, with neighborhoods all over the city regaining prominence and new companies looking to Durham as the place that the want to start.
Finally, the city has a heart. People wrote Durham off for years. However, it didn’t mean that people that loved the city didn’t stay and make it better. While there’s a lot of attention coming to the start-ups and business opportunities, historians such as John Hope Franklin were able to base their life’s work there and build pillars of history, along with the people of Hayti, who never stopped believing and organizing their communities.
And come to think of it, if you take a look at the map again. There is kind of a bull shape in there. Using the Durham Freeway as the arch of it’s back, RTP as a tail, Downtown as a heart and Duke and NC Central as horns(partially symbolizing brains too) along with Northgate, Ninth Street, Southpoint and South Square as legs, we have a rough bull shape in the geography.
But then again, it’s really what’s inside that makes Durham bullish and ready to seize the day.
Durhamians (I don’t like the other term, it sounds like we are parasites), new, old and somewhere in between. Tell me what you think. Be sure to join me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I’m also going to be in Chapel Hill on April 21st speaking on a panel on the reverse migration of African-Americans. Find out more about where I’m going and speaking this spring.