Explore Historic Parrish Street with "Main Street, Carolina"



About Parrish Street

At the beginning of the 20th century, in the midst of a largely white-owned business district in Durham, North Carolina, black-owned financial enterprises flourished and earned Parrish Street the moniker “Black Wall Street.” The success of these businesses gave Durham a national reputation as the “Capital of the Black Middle Class.” Their legacy continues in many important Durham institutions still today. And the entrepreneurial spirit of the Black Wall Street pioneers is inspiring a whole new generation of business owners on Parrish Street.

About the Website

This site has been designed to help you explore Parrish Street and learn about its dynamic past. 

To get started, click the 'Map' tab in the navigation bar at the top of the screen.  You'll see a current map view of downtown Durham that contains several markers along Parrish Street.  You'll also see the option of selecting one or more historical Sanborn maps to overlay the current map.  When multiple maps are selected, the transparency bar underneath each map can be moved to fade the various maps in and out and compare Durham's footprint over the years. 

Click on the map markers for short descriptions and thumbnail pictures of that location.  For more information about a specific marker, click the 'more information' link displayed.  This will provide a more detailed description, additional photos, and in some cases audio and video files. 

When you are clicking through the markers, remember that the large red pins represent historically significant buildings, and the small blue pins represent underlying historical themes.  If you'd prefer to browse this site's content without the map interface, click the 'Markers' tab along the navigational bar for a complete list of markers.

If you're a teacher, click the 'curriculum' tab.  There you will find an overview of and link to 8th grade lesson plans about Parrish Street, aligned to the NCSCOS.   By clicking the link, you can access the entire curriculum as a PDF document. 

About Main Street, Carolina

Main Street, Carolina
is a user-friendly, highly customizable and adaptable, open source digital history toolkit designed to allow a wide range of local organizations in North Carolina—public libraries, schools, museums, preservation and local history societies, tourism and heritage offices, among them—to preserve, document, interpret, display, and share the history of their downtowns, the places that have helped to give each town or city its character and identity over the past century. For more information, go to http://mainstreet.lib.unc.edu/.

Project Credits


  • Community Adviser: City of Durham Office of Economic and Workforce Development on behalf of the Parrish Street Project; Reginald Jones, Economic Development Coordinator, Parrish Street & Special Initiatives (www.parrishstreet.org)
  • Scholarly Adviser: Dr. Robert Allen
  • Main Street, Carolina Project Manager: Dr. Pamella Lach
  • Team Manager: Lindsay Moriarty
  • Team: Alex Beaton, Mike Nutt, and Neale Stokes
  • Curriculum Developer: Christie Hinson