The News and Observer

By Laura Brache

July 2, 2021

More than 60 years since the development of the Durham Freeway, a possible new beginning is on the horizon for Hayti, the Black community disrupted by the urban renewal projects starting in the late 1950s.

Henry McKoy, a professor and director of entrepreneurship at the N.C. Central University School of Business, wants to help bring about that new beginning. He led a presentation on June 17 at Provident1819, a Black-centric coworking space in downtown Durham, just a few blocks from the district formerly known as Black Wall Street. The event kicked off the Hayti Heritage Center’s Juneteenth celebration.

“Hayti is an incredible legacy that we want to bring back,” McKoy said.

Under McKoy’s leadership, Hayti Reborn is the latest effort to revitalize the district. This time, though, the goal is ensuring that any redevelopment involves the input of Hayti community members, young and old.

Hayti was a prominent African-American business district in Durham during the segregation era. Hundreds of businesses thrived and thousands of Black Americans lived in Hayti until integration and the development of the Durham Freeway.