206 West Parrish Street 

In the early 1900s, a number of professional practices were located here, including physicians, attorneys and dentists. There was also a barbershop located downstairs.

John Merrick, circa 1910. Courtesy North Carolina Collection, Durham County Library.

"Over the course of the early 20th century, 206 W. Parrish was office to physician Charles H. Shepard, Willian G. Pearson, the Young-Sumner Press and more of the Durham Reformer newspapers publishing offices.  Besides William Allen's barber shop, the space also served as a meeting place for many clubs and societies, like the Knights of Gideon, Lady Knights of King David, and Juvenile of Royal Knights of King David.


"John Merrick, founder of NC Mutual life, also started the Royal Knights of King David Society, a fraternal insurance society.  The King David Society was one of the largest and most influential of these societies, and even had sub-societies for women, the Lady Knights, and for youth, the Juvenile of Royal Knights of King David. These women and youth sub groups met at 206 W. Parrish St.  Pearson was in charge of The Royal Knights (after John Merrick), and then served as President of Bankers Fire Insurance Company. He also started the Southern Fidelity and Surety Company." Walter Weare, Black Business in the New South.