Books About Durham

Best of enemies: : Race and Redemption in the New South, by Osha Gray Davidson. A portrait of a relationship that defied all odds in 1960s North Carolina: how C.P. Ellis (a poor white member of the KKK) and Ann Atwater (a poor black civil rights activist) went from being each other's worst, most hostile enemies to forming an incredible, long-lasting friendship.

Durham: A Bull City Story (NC) (Making of America), by Jim Wise. With over 100 illustrations, this vivid narrative offers a wealth of fascinating stories and intriguing facts.

Better Together: A Model University-Community Partnership for Urban Youth, by Barbara Jentleson. "Provides a comprehensive account of how one major research university has attempted to change its relationship with its surrounding community...well organized with useful insights and resources.'' --Teachers College Record

27 Views of Durham, The Bull City in Prose & Poetry, with an introduction by Steve Schewel. Features 27 writers, who in poetry, essays, short stories, and book excerpts focus on the town of Durham, famous for Duke University, tobacco, and Southern cuisine... offers readers a broad and varied picture of life past and present in Durham.

Durham County: A History of Durham County, North Carolina, by Jean Bradley Anderson. This is the history of Washington Duke and two of his sons, Benjamin Newton Duke and James Buchanan Duke... three men who were at the center of the economic and philanthropic activities which made the Dukes of Durham one of America's famous families.

Durham, North Carolina (Images of America), by Stephen E. Massengill. Explore images that capture Durham in its heyday, when it was one of the fastest-growing municipalities in North Carolina.

Durham's Hayti (Black America), by  Andre D. Vann and Beverly Washington Jones: Authors Vann & Washington Jones have compiled an extraordinary collection of photographs, matched with thorough research, that bring this historic community to life.

Durham Tales: The Morris Street Maple, the Plastic Cow, the Durham Day that Was & More (American Chronicles), by Jim Wise.  Journalist and local historian Wise relates how Bull Durham smoking tobacco put Durham, NC on the map; how a plastic cow and an oversized flag cut the city council down to size; and how it felt to travel back in time at the Duke Homestead

Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family (Black Women Writers Series), by Pauli Murray. A significant contribution to our understanding of the black experience in America. . . . Fascinating.' -- Publishers Weekly. Also see recent notable books about Murray: Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray by Rosalind Rosenberg and The Firebrand and the First Lady by Patricia Bell-Scott, and Weary Throat, by Pauli Murray.

Our Separate Ways: Women and the Black Freedom Movement in Durham, North Carolina, by Christina Greene. "A valuable treatment of women's participation in the black freedom movement. . . . [Greene] sheds new light on how African American communities effectively challenged segregation and racial injustice." — American Historical Review

The Secret Game: A Wartime Story of Courage, Change, and Basketball's Lost Triumph, by Scott Ellsworth.  Based on years of research, The Secret Game is a story of courage and determination, and of an incredible, long-buried moment in the nation's sporting past.

Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison explained that she chose to open her 1977 novel Song of Solomon with a "North Carolina Mutual Life insurance agent" because "the insurance company is . . . a well-known black-owned company dependent upon black clients" (p. 3, p. xiii).

Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South (The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture), by Leslie Brown. “A well-researched, textured, and eloquent community study that highlights the forms of cooperation and conflict between white and black Durhamites and within Durham's black community."—Journal of Social History​​​​​​​