Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part I: Introductory
 Part II: Growth of Negro business...
 Part III: Influences of discrimination...
 Part IV: Styles of life and their...
 Part V: Facet in social change
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Group Title: urban Negro in the South /
Title: The Urban Negro in the South /
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098527/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Urban Negro in the South /
Physical Description: 272 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Carter, Wilmoth Annette, 1916-
Publisher: Vantage Press
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: c1961
Edition: 1st ed..
Subject: African Americans -- North Carolina -- Raleigh   ( lcsh )
African American businesspeople   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 269-272).
Statement of Responsibility: by Wilmoth A. Carter.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098527
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 07861452


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
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    Table of Contents
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    Part I: Introductory
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Full Text


The Urban Negro
in The South





All rights reserved, including the right of
reproduction in whole or in part in any form

Copyright, 1961, by Wilmoth A. Carter

Published by Vantage Press, Inc.
120 West 31st Street, New York 1, N. Y.

Manufactured in the United States of America

THE volume which you are about to read represents the results
of research undertaken to satisfy requirements at the graduate
school level at the University of Chicago. Subsumed originally
under the title "Negro Main Street of a Contemporary Urban
Community," the specifics of the study remain unaltered but are
here presented in line with the broad scope of currently empha-
sized social phenomena within the southern part of the United
The ideas here assembled have grown out of a keen interest
in, questful understanding of, and much sought after explana-
tions for the diverse and differentiated urban behavior patterns. /
Where these have revolved around racial or ethnic groups
observation, both structured and unstnlctured, has usually given
evidence of variant forms of behavior within the city, and hence
suggested lines of inquiry for community study. Although addi-
tional lines of inquiry have been suggested by the student sit-in
movement and its counterpart, the freedom rides, the time
sequence involved in their development places them outside the
confines of the present study. However, because their apparent
impact upon the forces here analyzed is of immediate concern,
brief consideration is given of them in Appendix One.
Acknowledgments must here be made to those persons in the
Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago under
whose guidance the study was pursued; to those authors whose
ideas the writer may have unconsciously incorporated into her
own; to those publishers now inoperative from whom source
materials may have been selected, as well as those who have
permitted use of certain quoted materials; and to the many per-
sons interviewed in order to ascertain verifiable data for the
original study. Gratitude must be expressed to Shaw University,
the Department of Schools and Colleges of the American Baptist
Convention, my father, sisters and brother without whose in-
valuable assistance publication of the findings contained herein
would have been impossible.
Shaw University
Raleigh, North Carolina
October, 1961


Part I Introductory

1. Theoretical Orientation and Methodological
Considerations 9

Part II Growth of Negro Business Under the
Impact of Urbanization

21 Community Characteristics Within a Region-State
Pattern 27

3. Negro Main Street As A Portrait of the Natural History
of Negro Business 41

Part III Influences of Discrimination on
Consumers' Use of Space

4. The Negro Main Street As a Symbol of Discrimination 85

5. Negro Main Street As an Index of Customer Behavior 123

6. Negro Main Street and Usage in Relation to Spatial
Arrangements 142

Part IV St'les of Life and Their Reflections
in Group Formation, Action and Thought


7. Persons, Places and Interests As Symbols of Main Street
Group Behavior 167

S. Solidarity and Race-Consciousness WVithin the Main
Street Complex 186

9. Racial Ideologies Evidenced Tlu-ough the Negro Main
Street 213

Part V Facets in Social Change

10. Main Street Changes As Reflections of Social Change 229

11. Summary and Conclusions 244

Appendix One-Together They Sit 252

Appendix Two 256

Bibliography 269



Chapter 1


hPERHAPs one of the most illuminating statements ever made about
the status of the Southern city is given by E. W. Parks. Says he,
"Every possible forecast implies that the continued growth of the
city, with a concomitant advance of industrialism, will tend to
standardize our cities and make them more completely like all
other American cities. But at present they remain a group apart."'
More than two decades have passed since this statement was
made, during which time the Southern city has undergone num-
erous changes, but still maintains a high degree of individuality
which merits investigation. Among the factors that keep the
Southern city in "a group apart" is its low percentage of varying
ethnic groups and its high percentage of two predominantly ra-
cial groups. Because a city is both a physical mechanism and a
population aggregate, possessing reciprocal relationships between
the physical and human elements," the human and spatial pat-
terns of living within such an unwalled cormnunity are of signifi-
cance in studying American culture.
., Numerous studies have called attention to significant features
of ethnic and racial groups within the United States, but there is
Sa dearth of scientific knowledge regarding such groups inside
Sthe Southern city. As a unit of investigation the Southern city has
been one of the neglected aspects of inquiries concerned with
urban society. The present stud), proposes to help fill this gap
through an investigative approach that provides basis for a de-
Sscriptive analysis of the behavior of a racial group in a commu-
nity that forms part of the urban South. Accepting the view that
racial and nationality bonds tend to subgroup a city's population
into various economic areas and to furtheF subgroup into social
divisions within the economic areas,3 the Negro Main Street of
a contemporary community offers a valuable framework for the
'Edd Winfield Parks, "Southern Towns and Cities," W. T. Couch (ed.)
Culture in the South, (Chapel Hill: University of N. C. Press, 1934), p. 518.
2R. D. McKenzie, The Mctropolitan Community, (New York: McCraw
Hill Book Co., 1933), p. 213.

analysis of a segment of urban behavior. The.major.J .pothesis
posited by this study is as follows: Main Streets assume theirr
character under the impact of urbanizing forces linked with so-
cial systems in which certain culturally-dominant values help
mold the behavior of persons identified therewith. Where the
identifying persons are racial groups and the culturally-dominant
values racially oriented, the nature of relationships between ra-
cial groups finds overt expression in the construction of specific
media through which to channel the group behavior. Special in-
stitutions and services become part of the media constructed to
serve this end, and their functions form the integrative elements
in the structuring of such media. Thus, the Negro Main Street
becomes a constructed medium that symbolizes specific values,
k maintains specific institutions and services, and aids the identifi-
\ cation of patterns of behavior arising out of a racially-oriented
The central problem of this investigation is to determine the
nature of functions of the Negro Mlain Street in relation to domin-
ant social values that form a nucleus for specific types of social
behavior in the contemporary urban community. It is proposed
to delineate the characteristic functions of the Negro Main Street
by tracing the history of Negro business in the community of
Raleigh, North Carolina; by studying the nature of Negro busi-
ness and services under the impact of discrimination; by exam-
ining the formal and informal group characterizations that ema-
nate from Negro Main Street participation; and by analyzing
change in the Negro business world within the context of gen-
eral social change. Guided thus by the previously-designated
hypothesis relative to the origin and nature of the Negro Main
Street, and the problem of determining what the functions of the
street are, the study is organized into the following parts: 1)
Growth of Negro business under the impact of urbanization;
2) The influence of discrimination upon consumers' use of space;
3) Styles of life and their reflections in group formation, action
and thought; 4) Facets in social change.
kOrganization of the data of this study into the preceding cate-
gories tends to help structure specific findings and generalizations
resting upon the following premise: accompanying the urbaniza-
tion processes have been changes in the nature of racial accom-
3 R. D. McKenzie, The Neighborhood: A Study of Local Life in the City
of Columlns, Ohio (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1923).

ment are nowhere more evident than in the economic sphere
where patterns of consumption have been conditioned by meas-
ures of discrimination. It follows therefore that, if racial adjust-
ment involves usage of discriminatory policies and practices, then
any racial group of consumers will find means of expressing this
in areas most pertinent to its way of life.
A series of questions is posited by the approach to the prob-
lem around which this study centers. Those of primary signif-
cance are: 1) What has been the impact of urbanization upon the\
development of the Negro Main Street? 2) What factors have
influenced the evolution of the street? 3) How has discrimina-
tion affected the formation and functioning of the street? 4) What
patterns of consumption are manifest in the institutions and serv-
ices located on the street? 5) How has spatiality influenced the
character and use of the street? 6) By what means are special
types of groups caught up in the web of Negro Main Street ac-
tivities? 7) What effect has the Negro Main Street produced upon
intra-group attitudes and cohesiveness? S) What racial ideologies
have developed in relation to the Negro Main Street and how
have these been modified through time? 9) What social signifi-
cance attaches to changes taking place in the street?
This study aims to provide a framework within which to seek
answers to the preceding questions. The specific assumptions on
which the questions are based can be stated respectively thus:
1) Urban phenomena assume their characterizations from spe-
cific combinations of interacting forces within the urban environ-
ment. 2) Differentiation of urban areas into segmentalized sub-
areas is functionally related to the indigenous development of
the specific areas involved. 3) A society based upon superordi-
nate-subordinate relations tends to develop social mechanisms
through which to maintain such relation. Where the superordi-
nate-subordinate interests are directed toward the control of rela-
tions between racial groups, the mechanisms of control are de-
signed accordingly. Discrimination is one of the controls used in
the economic sphere of relations between races. 4) An interde-
pendence exists between the social characteristics of consumers,
items of consumption, from whom consumption goods are secured,
and the conditions under which consumption takes place. 5) Con-
sumption on the Negro Mlain Street. whether influenced by custom,

law, or preference, occurs within a racial context. Within this con-
text institutionalized services of a bi-racial nature have formed a di-
chotomy with a well ordered pattern of relationships that indicates:
what the Negro can consume from whites vs. what he must con-
sume from Negroes; types of institutions in which he can consume
from whites vs. those in which he must consume from Negroes; con-
ditions under which he can consume from whites vs. those under
which he must consume from Negroes. 6) Formal and informal
associations form an integral part of urban life. Insofar as the
associational life revolves around some particular urban phenom-
enon the associations develop a unique connection therewith.
7) In the process of adjusting to a changing social environment
individualized segments of the group tend to focus their attitudes
and aspirations upon a common goal. Striving toward achieve-
ment of the goal, whether consciously or unconsciously moti-
vated, tends to unify the otherwise diverse individualized atti-
tudes of sub-groups. The overt manifestation of this is seen in
things individual group members say and do. 8) Changes in the
nature of occupational alignments of particular groups evoke
changes in status and bear a significant relationship to changes in
the thought patterns of a community. The reciprocal relation
between what people say and \what they do tends to aid in the
formation of ideas for developing lines of action within the exist-
ing social structure. 9) Social and cultural phenomena do not
exist in a vacuum but are interrelated with other forces in a
society. Thus, change in a specific phenomenon produces some
effect upon the generic social structure and becomes a facet in
whatever broader changes are occurring at the time.
[No sociological research bearing directly upon the problem of
this study has come to the attention of the writer, but several
studies point up suggestive and implied ideas therefore. Among
the most significant of these is The Ghctto by the late Louis Wirth.
The ghetto, medieval and modern, is found to be an institution
-a cultural conmunity-developed and perpetuated by the tradi-
tions, habits, and customs of an ethnic group, the Jew. As a form
of accommodation between groups it tends to become a symbol
of subjugation, indicative of the role and status of the Jevw within
an urban center. The internal structure of the modern ghetto,
typified in the Jewish community of Chicago, exemplifies the
means by which a subordinate group functioning in a limited
inner world adjusts to a larger outer world. The nature of oc-

cupational groups and extent of division of labor within the
structure of the ghetto manifest themselves in a "Main Street"
complex or business center with its cluster of institutions that
cater to the needs of the group \within. Specific types of institu-
tions organized around religious precepts, ritual, customs, dietary
laws, and communal life functions tend to crystallize into social,
psychological, and situational forms that give the ghetto its
character. When these factors are viewed within the context of
the urban economy, the ghetto becomes a significant social phe-
nomenon demonstrative of the growth of a natural social area
through which an ethnic group is able to participate in the life of
a complex urban center, but at the same time to remain distinct and
C parate.
Another sociological study with implications for the present
ne is Albert Blumenthal's Small-Town Stuff. Unlike the pre-
ceding study which gives a descriptive analysis of the community
as a changing institution, Small-Town Stuff portrays a changing
culture in which community life centers around intimate personal
relationships. The community studied is called "Mineville," and
several ethnic groups contribute to its culture heritage, but no
group has numbers sufficient enough for it to develop a segre-
gated area. Thus ethnic traits tend to become diffused or sub-
merged and personal traits and relations take precedence over
others within the culture. Nlineville's main street occupies an
important place in the persistence of the community, for its
businesses form the centers through which activities and rela-
tionships of the total community are molded, dispensed, and
controlled. Since all Nlineville activities rest upon personal bases
-whether pertaining to formal group life, informal, attitudes,
roles, statuses, customs, institutions, or just the daily routine of
living-business centers with their operators and clientele be-
come the media of exchange for the interlocking social relation-
ships of the community. Even where social change is effected
through new media or changing relationships the very nature and
direction of the change rest upon personal factors. It is this type
of "small-town stuff" which is often transplanted in contemporary
urban communities.
Not only the nature, but also the intensity, of personal rela-
tionships form the nucleus of behavior observed in still another
study of an urbanized ethnic group. William Foote Whyte's
Street Corner Society shows how personal relationships based

upon a system of reciprocal obligations operate in structuring
group and organizational features of the community called
"Cornerville." \VWhile informal groups form and function through
certain corners on specific streets of Corner-ille, their intra- and
inter-group relationships extend through the total community
structure. The characteristic institutions of Cornerville-corner
gangs, racket, police, and political organizations-all have their
bases in personal relationships. A high rate of interaction between
persons forming the membership of these institutions tends to
furnish the motivating force around which institutional and group
activities are organized. Analysis of the intensity of personal re-
lationships is beyond the scope of the present study, but types
and functions of groups identified with tle community have some
comparative value.
.Another study of comparative value for the present one is
Drake and Cayton's Black Metropolis, an investigation regarding
Negro participation in the life of a Midwest metropolis. Since
race relations tend to condition the nature and degree of Negro
participation in Mlidwest metropolitan activities, they tend also
to serve as pillars in the structuring of a Negro world inside the
broader Midwest world. Evolution and perpetuation of the Negro
world have been through a color line drawn by usage rather than
law. The internal structure of the Negro community, shaped
predominantly by residential segregation and occupational dis-
crimination, maintains a set of institutions similar to those of other
communities in form but different in content. While custom makes
a line of demarcation between social worlds of Negroes and whites,
vested interests of Negro businessmen, politicians, civic leaders
and preachers tend to support the maintenance and continued
existence of such. Just as the most overt expression of a coloi
line in the Midwest metropolis is the establishment of a Negro
community, so the most evident form assumed by the color line
is the existence of a business center with main- and side-street
institutions that cater to a Negro clientele. Key institutions of the
Negro community-newspapers, the policy racket, and business
enterprises-all reflect the system of the race relations and per-
form racial functions for the Negro. The Negro community of the
metropolis, therefore, becomes one of the forces of social control
that reinforces the color line drawn between social worlds. As\
race contact, economic necessity, and political expediency effect
shifts in the color line the community becomes also a medium

the Northern metropolis, have their counterparts in the Southern
metropolis, hence their significance for the present study.
Of general relevance to any study of the American Negro and
his distinct economy is E. Franklin Frazier's Black Bourgeoisie, a
sociological analysis of the behavior, attitudes, and values of the
middle-class Negro. The "black bourgeoisie," rooted in what the
author designates as a "world of reality," is shown as having
objective existence in economic conditions in which occupational
differentiation has given rise to a class of white-collar workers
marginal to both the Negro world and the white world. While
education is the principal force shaping the ideals and values of
the black bourgeoisie, faith in the power of Negro business to
remove racial stigma and solve economic problems of the Negro
has helped envelop the Negro in a world of unreality. This
factor, coupled with racial discrimination and segregation, has
created an isolated social world of make-believe, in which the
black bourgeoisie strives for social status, personal gratification,
and escape from the contempt of whites. Resultant frustrations,
insecurities, and inferiority-feelings are the prevailing traits of
bourgeoisie personalities functioning within such a framework.
Since one of the business interests dominating the economy of
the American Negro has centered around the practice of med-
icine, Dietrich Reitzes' Negroes and Medicine is also pertinent
here. Negroes and Medicine shows rather concretely that patterns
of medical care as provided by and for Negroes differ from
community to community, with patterns in southern communities
more nearly resembling each other than those in other com-
munities. In the Southern community, where segregation in med-
icine is practically complete, some of the key factors influencing
the pattern of medical care include the self-segregation of the
Negro physicians; attitudes of older Negro general practitioners
toward the younger Negro specialists; variations by social class in
conceptions Negroes hold of the Negro physician; and the general
pattern of race relations prevailing in the community.
Without direct pertinence to the problem under analysis in the
present study, but with sufficient indirect implications to be men-
tioned here are the following studies: Harvey Zorbaugh's Gold
Coast and the Slum, and Caroline Ware's Greenwich Village
1920-1930. Both involve divergent ethnic groups liing sym-
biotically in given localities within two of America's largest cities.

Neither of the localities is thought of as a community, but each
possesses a number of distinct characteristics arising out of adap-
tations to changing urban environments. Neither can these
studies be taken as analytical explanations of behavior patterns
of designated ethnic groups, but rather as descriptions of areas
that abound in heterogeneity, contrasts, and extremes. One of the
primary forces in establishing the contrasts and extremes is the
fact that resident groups of the areas comprise varying propor-
tions of native and foreign population elements, of conventional
and bohemian behavior, of vice and respectability, of poverty and
wealth, of organization and disorganization. The selective rel-
evance of this to the present study is the fact that within such a
locality framework as the preceding there tends to develop a
rialto through which specific occupations and businesses give
expression to dominant culture values of particular ethnic groups.
Two other studies that have taken indirect notice of the trade
centers of racial and ethnic groups in urban metropolises are:
Vui's "Chinatowns" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation), and Harry
Walker's "Changes In Race Accommodation In A Southern Com-
munity" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation). \Wu found that the
development of a central trade area in Chinatown, a segregated
community within the metropolis, tends to make life social for
the Chinese rather than just symbiotic. Institutions characteristic
of Chinatown, such as laundries, restaurants and novelty shops,
tend to form a nucleus for the two circumferences that make the
functioning of Chinatown similar to a metropolitan center and
its hinterland. As a local trade area Chinatown performs numer-
ous informal as well as formal functions. As an organized com-
munity it is a function of ways of earning a living in urban
America, where occupational competition between whites and
Chinese forced the latter to enter "parasitic types of business"
with the character of luxuries. Since there's no competition in the
exchange of luxuries, these have become firmly entrenched and
identifying marks of Chinatown.
',Changes In Race Accommodation In A Southern Community"
an yzes race relations in Durham, North Carolina, from the
standpoint of community organization. Early structuring of
Negro-white relationships in this industrialized community in-
volved personal relationships in which each individual Negro
was dependent upon an individual white person; more recent
structuring shows movement toward more impersonal Negro-

white relationships. One of the principal factors in the shift
toward the impersonality of relationships has been the growth
of a rather self-contained Negro community in which Negro
business has become well established, Negro leadership has be-
come the adjuster of race relations, and high degrees of race
consciousness and racial solidarity have become evident. Because
of the interconnections of established business enterprises of this
tobacco-industry community and the capital-city community of
Raleigh, the Walker study is particularly pertinent to the present
o e.
LThe Negro Main Street appears first and foremost as an eco-
nc ic matrix-shopping or service center-and an ecological area.
But it is functionally a cultural area and social center as well, and
acts as a psychological link in the racial bonds chained to the
culture. It seems reasonable to take cognizance of the following
related articles: "City Shoppers and Urban Identification: Ob-
servations On The Social Psychology Of City Life," Gregory P.
Stone, American Journal of Sociology, LX (July, 1954) and
"Beale Street, A Study In Ecological Succession," Robert W.
O'Brien, Sociology and Social Rcsearch, XXVI (May-June, 1942).
The former attempts to show, through data collected on shop-
ping from consumer-infornants in the northwest of Chicago, how
individuals select, evaluate, and identify with stores they pa-
tronize, and hence become bound to the larger community. The
latter article indicates the value of changes in the use of a street
-by years, by days of the week. by day and night-to the study
of a community./\Whether considered as a street of shoppers and
consumers or as an area invaded by specific types of people and
enterprises, ecological processes have been at work in helping
establish a Main Street for the Negro community.
Fictional materials cannot be said to qualify as authentic data
for research projects. However, three works should be alluded
to here because of their emphasis upon nominal items somewhat
akin to those of the present study. One of these, Sinclair Lewis'
Main Street, lays stress upon the traits and habits of singular
personalities of Gopher Prairie with the ultimate effect of show-
ing the universality and typicality of standardized small-town
behavior. Ann Petry's The Street revolves around fictional char-
acters but is a vivid portrayal of 116th Street as a Negro main
stem of New York City and is nonetheless realistic. The street
as depicted becomes desolate in winter from frozen debris and

icy winds; is transformed into an outdoor living-room and bed-
room in summer; is crowded with groups of men from morning
until night depending upon their employment or non-employ-
ment statuses; and its key institution, "The Junto," serves as a
social club for both men and women. Such implicit behavioral
characteristics could thus convert any street into a virtual Main
Street. Still a third fictional work is William Gardner's South
Street, a story of three personalities but also a depiction of Phila- /
delphia's Negro Mecca, the uniqueness of which resides in the
closing of stores and clubs and roping-off of its area for an
annual three-day celebration called "Spring Festival." Dancing,
singing, eating, drinking, parading, speech-making, and meetings
form the nucleus of behavior during the festival period. The story
of South Street, however, abounds in numerous personality
types with key functions in the Negro community. Because race
tensions are reflected in characteristics of the street and activities
of its clients, South Street becomes a mirror for viewing race
relations in urban America.
In the preceding studies and works one notes that ethnic and
racial groups in America tend to adjust to the urban web of life
by means of group-oriented devices and techniques. The specific
forms of adjustment have been by-products of the culture her-
itage and experiences of the particular group concerned. The
nature and degree of interaction between in- and out-groups
have resulted in the establishment of separate ethnic or racial
social worlds in urban communities and/or social values ex-
pressed in variegated institutions and customs. Even where
emphasis has been on personalities, rather than groups, acting
along individual lines they have moved within some group frame-
work. Both symbiotic and social relationships are evidenced in
the methods of accommodation developed by and between
groups and persons, varying according to the nature and degree
of interaction. Thus, while personal relationships make up the
consistent elements of behavior in some communities and natural
social areas, impersonal relationships characterize others. Forms
of adjustment to urban situations, motivational forces in adjust-
ment, and the expressed and symbolic features of these are more
readily understood through the culture compulsives, values, and
interests of the group caught up in the adjustment processes.
Trying to understand the behavior of ethnic and racial groups
of urban America in the light of the foregoing factors becomes

therefore a significant objective of the sociologist. Analyzing
Negro Main Street behavior is an attempt to supplement such
understanding, for the street-ethnically or racially delineated
-turns out to be not just structural but functional, not static but
a living thing.

LThe Present Stud '

Data used as substantiating evidence for the Negro Main
Street study as portrayed in the subsequent pages of this docu-
ment were collected inl the community of Raleigh, North Carolina,
and focused upon the functional use of East Hargett Street.
As a research laboratory several factors are of interest about the
city itself. Holding the title of state capital, it occupies a stra-
tegic geographical position, for it is located near the center of
the state. Its areal limits cover 15.3 square miles, served by a
network of state and federal highways and some 100 trucking
lines. Its trade-center function attests to its dominance as a
metropolis, for it is used by populations of the surrounding seven
small towns and numerous rural areas; within a 100-mile radius
of the city resides 30% of the combined populations of Virginia,
North Carolina, and South Carolina. Raleigh's function as a
governmental center did not devolve upon it merely by usage,
for it was created by legislative act and set in a forest as "the
city of oaks" in 1792. Her status as an educational center is
linked with the six colleges, three business schools, and three
special schools established in the city. Her bi-racial population,
numbering 65,679 in 1950 but an estimated 86,000 in 195S, is
72% native white, 27.2% Negro, and 0.9% foreign-born white.
The city's cross-section population has made her more like North
C rolina as a whole than any other city within the state.
SIt is within the structure of this urban community of the South,
this trade-governmental-educational center, that the Negro Main
Street phenomena are observed. Using the characteristics of the
Southern city as given by Demerath and Cilmore Raleigh is
typically Southern. They point out the following features as
characteristics of the Southern city: '

4 Nicholas J. Demerath and Harlan W. Gilmore. "The Ecology Of
Southern Cities," Rupert B. Vance and Nicholas J. Demerath (eds.),
The Urban South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1954),
p. 136.


It is a small city; a retail trade and market center serving a lim-
ited agricultural area; an educational center, government seat,
factory town, or mining town.
It has a bi-racial population. The two races live in separate
social worlds.
The central business section is the dominant core around which
residential areas are arranged.
No "one and only" ecological pattern exists.
It performs "general urban functions" for both rural and urban
residents, and "local urban functions" for the city's residents and
its daily commuters, both sets of functions standing in mutual

Like many of the urban communities already mentioned
Raleigh too consists of two separate social worlds-a Negro world
and a white world. A part of the separation that distinguishes
between the Negro and white worlds assumes the form of a
Negro business world, confined in part to the street designated
as the Negro Main Street lying close to the center of the city.
Socially this world caters to the population that resides within
the boundaries of a visible and an invisible Negro world. Negro)
Main Street is generic, universal, and typical in American culture.
However, its differentiating characteristics vary from city to city.
It often assumes the characteristics of an Auburn Avenue or
Decatur Street as in Atlanta-Auburn being known for its first-
class Negro bank, leading Negro daily newspaper office and
fashionable night clubs, while Decatur is described by many
as a street of "telephone-pole philosophers," "wine bibbers," and
"fun seekers." The Negro Main Street sometimes becomes re-
nowned because of its originality, as did New Orleans' Basin
Street which "gave birth to the blues." It may be frequented by
both Negroes and whites who vary their usage of the street by
time of day and place, as in the case of Memphis' Beale Street,
or it may be as crowded and devoid of white customers as
Chicago's 47th Street. It may change from an area of desolation
in winter to one of out-door living rooms in summer, as does
New York's 116th Street, or even close all businesses to celebrate
"Spring Festival" as does Philadelphia's South Street. It may be
as small as the Negro area of "Southerntown," as limited in
business as Charlotte's East Second Street, or as inclusive as
Norfolk's Church Street. Whatever its individual characteristics
regardless of regional location, Negro Main Street has become

an institution within American culture. The specific Raleigh street
observed, East Hargett, extends from Fayetteville (chief thor-
oughfare for the entire city) to Blount Street where natural and
cultural boundaries set limits. McKenzie's insight into the de-
velopment of metropolitan communities indicates that "the
evolution of economic organization from village and town to
metropolitan economy is but the extension and specialization of
centralization of each of the dominant interests of life." 5 The
Negro Main Street can be seen as a product of this kind of cen-
tralization and specialization. Centralized by location, specialized
by structure, as well as function, and generalized by type, it
represents an extension of dominant interests prompted by cul-
tural values. Discovering the functions performed by the Negro
Main Street of the contemporary urban community of the pre-
ceding type has induced the general orientation of this study.
As originally stated, the community in which Negro-Main-
Street behavior is analyzed is not only urban but metropolitan
and Southern. It is therefore necessary to indicate the definitive
context within which the Negro Main Street concept is used.
(As used in this study the Negro Main Street is defined as the
principal sphere within which business activities are undertaken by
and for Negroes. Business activities are taken in the broad sense
to cover the exchange of goods and services. Thus, personal
services, professional services, insurance and real estate are cate-
gorized along with retail stores.
Metropolis is used within the framework of definitions set by
the United States Bureau of Census. The Census defines a stand-
ard metropolitan area as a county or group of contiguous counties
which contains at least one city of 50,000 inhabitants or more.
The county or counties must also possess certain characteristics
that conform to the criteria for being essentially metropolitan in
character and socially and economically integrated with the
central city. The central city and metropolis thus becomes the
large city, as well as the one that performs the function of in-
tegrating contiguous territory. Two groups of metropolises are
therefore noted: the city of 50,000-100,000 and the city of 100,000
and over.
The South is used here within the framework of Odum's
5 R. D. McKenzie, "The Scope of Human Ecology," E. W. Burgess
(ed.). The Urban Community (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1926), p. 177.

Southern Regions. Odum classified states according to their pos-
session of homogeneity in natural, artificial, technological, human,
and institutional resources. He thus distinguished between two
Souths, a Southeast and a Southwest. The eleven states of the
Southeast include Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia,
Florida, and Louisiana. It is this South of which the city of Raleigh
is a part as discussed in this study.
Community is used here in the generally accepted sense of
embodying a local area in which an association of persons and
groups live together and influence one another.
Much of the material collected for this study is from primary
sources. Personal documents, an unpublished autobiography,
interviews, and minutes of meetings of the city council were
relied upon for supportive evidence about the history of many
Negro Main Street phenomena. Secondary sources, such as
compilations of city ordinances, private, public and local laws,
city directories, industrial surveys, and monographs of the city
planning division have furnished data regarding types, location,
and changes in business enterprises.
Demographic materials embracing characteristics of the pop-
ulation and trends in urbanization have been compiled from data
published under auspices of the United States Bureau of Census.
Statistical support for many of the qualitative aspects of the
study has been secured through sampling devices. Since Raleigh
has no official wards or census tracts, the most authentic count
of population aggregates is by means of block statistics issued
by the Housing Division of the United States Bureau of Census.
Using block data, out of 16,166 occupied dwelling units in
Raleigh in 1950, 4,069 were occupied by nonwhites and dis-
tributed over 271 blocks. When additions are made for new
residential areas developed and incorporated within the city
since 1950 the number of nonwhite dwellings increases to 4,350,
distributed over 2S6 blocks. Blocks were thus divided into heavy,
medium, and light categories and a random sample of blocks
and dwellings taken in such manner as to provide a sample of
350 nonwhite dwellings. Nonwhites who were non-Negro were
rejected. Three hundred and fifty household heads were then
interviewed with a schedule, a copy of which is found in the
appendix. Of the 350, 116 turned out to be males and 234 females
ranging in age from 18 to 75 and over. Additional information

came from 96 other interviewees, 28 of whom are Negro Mainam
Street operators of business with 57.3 percent of the 96 consisting
of males of middle age and over. While 68 of the 96 were depth
interviews, those held with the 28 operators of business were
limited to securing information about specified items pertaining
to the business operated. Thus, a total of 446 interviews, involv-
ing young adults, middle-aged and elderly residents provided
the basic data for the study. This phase of the study covered a
period of approximately four months, Nlav-August, 195S, the
writer's role as interviewer and observer being aided by residence
and participation in the life of the city.
To help interpret the findings of this study in the light of the
functional attributes of the Negro Main Street, it is necessary
to get a glimpse at the street's influencing community not only
at the local level but also at the state and regional level, and this
the ensuing chapter attempts to do.



Chapter 2


THE community of Raleigh reflects in its make-up and develop-
ment many urbanizing features of the Southeastern region of
which it is a part. Especially significant in the urbanizing traits
of the South have been the slow growth of the urban population,
the large number of small cities, and the complete lack of cities
ranking among the nation or world's largest.
It was a full century after the first census of the United States
was taken before the South had more than 10 percent of her
population residing in cities. When in 1890 the population of the
United States was 35.1 percent urban, the South was only 13.2 per-
cent. Continued slow growth brought the population of the South-
east to a 29.8 percent urban status by 1930, with a less than one-
third urban population in 1940.1 Possessing a high land-man ratio,
(the South has lagged in urbanization with respect to both number
.and size of cities, but has maintained its urbanwise growth. In
/the 1930-40 decade, when there was a decided decrease in urban
areas of the United States, there was continued urban increase
in the South. Between 1940 and 1950 the increase in number of
urban places was most evident in states that have long been
arpong the most rural of the nation, as table 1 indicates.
(Urbanity is relatively homogeneous within the Southeast, for
it ranges from 65.5 in Florida to 27.9 in Mississippi. Only two
states, Florida and Louisiana, were more than 50 percent urban
and only one, Mississippi, less than 30 percent urban in 1950,
the range in urbanity for the eleven Southeastern states being
31.6 percent.
/Of similar import in the Southeast is the large number of small
urban places and the small number of large urban places. Out
of 892 urban places in the Southeast in 1950, that is, places of
2,500 and over, 679 or 76.12 percent were in the 2,500-10,000
category; 213 or 23.88 percent were in the 10,000-and-over
category, the distribution of this 213 being as follows: 20 or
9.39 percent in the 100,000-and-over group, an equal number
1 Rupert B. Vance, All These People (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 1945), p. 20.

and percent in the 50,000-100,000 group, more than twice that
number, 49 or 23 percent, in the 25,000-50,000 group, and 124
or 58.2 percent in the 10,000-25,000 group. Even with the largest
concentration of urban places at the bottom, between 1940 and
1950 there was a 5.9% decrease in number of places 2,500-5,000,


Number and Percentage Increase of Urban Places
of the Southeast, by States,
1950 and 1940
State Number of Urban Places Increase Percentage
1950 1940 In Number Increase
Alabama 85 74 11 14.86
Arkansas 64 62 2 3.22
Florida 98 92 6 6.52
Georgia 106 99 7 7.07
Kentucky 74 63 6 8.82
Louisiana 72 66 6 9.09
Mississippi 54 53 1 1.89
North Carolina 107 88 19 21.59
South Carolina 83 60 23 38.30
Tennessee 71 64 7 10.94
Virginia 78 61 17 27.87
Totals 892 787 105
Source: United States Bureau of the Census, United States Census of
Population: 19,50, Vol. 1, "Number of Inhabitants," Chap. 1, U.S.
Summary, Tables 16 and 24.
while the number of places 50,000-100,000 remained stationary
and the increase in places 100,000 and over made an equal
distribution between places of 50,000-100,000 and places of
100,000 and over.
In 1850 there were no cities of 50,000 in the South, and in
1860, when New Orleans was the only metropolis in the South,
there were no towns of as many as 10,000 people in North
Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, or Texas. By 1900 there
were three cities of 100,000 and over in the South and by 1950
fourteen of the fifty largest cities of the United States were in
the South.
North Carolina is typically Southeastern. Her reflections of

the preceding urbanizing characteristics can be noted in her
having only one of the 106 cities of the nation with population
100,000 and over; five of the nation's cities of 50,000-100,000, and
hence six of the 168 standard metropolitan areas of the nation.
The bulk of her 33.7 percent urban population is distributed over
107 urban places and highly concentrated in the most medium-
sized places, as shown in table 2.

Distribution of Urban Population of North Carolina
By Number and Size of Places, 19.50
Number of Percent of
Places Places Population Total
100,000 & Over 1 1:34,042 10.02
50,000-100,000 5 352,190 26.:34
25,000-50,000 5 175,876 1:3.15
10,000-25,000 20 :31S,7S2 2:3.84
5,000-10,000 27 181,15S 13.55
2,500-5,000 49 174,91S 13.0S
Totals 107 1,:3:36,966 99.9S
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Census, of Population: 1950. Vol. I,
"Number of Inhabitants," Chapter 1: U. S. Summary, Table 16.
One writer has indicated that the South is evolving into a
region of metropolitan communities or areas of metropolitan
culture, which are possibly the only distinct social, cultural, and
economic units in the southern economy." Among the factors
contributing to this metropolitan growth are expansion in in-
dustry, trade, banking facilities, increase in service occupations,
and attractions of physical attributes of the area." Concentration
of these urban functions in Southern metropolises has forced
many of the Southern cities into positions of dominance, the
functional relationship of a central city and its hinterland con-
stituting the significant aspect of metropolitanization. The im-
portance of this factor is stressed by Gras who defines the metro-
politan economy as an "organization of producers and consumers
mutually dependent for goods and services. wherein their wants
are supplied by a system of exchange concentrated in a large
Walter J. Matherly, "Emergence of the Metropolitan Community in the
South," Social Forces, Vol. XIV (March, 1936), p. 235.
3 Ibid., pp. 314-32-5.

city which is the focus of local trade and the center through
which normal economic relations with the outside are established
and maintained." McKenzie further establishes the functional
nature of the metropolis by describing it as a constellation of
centers, the hinterland of the central city being bound to it by
economic ties rather than by mass participation in the local
institutions or life of the city.5 Whether resulting from general
economic, governmental, military, or other functions the inter-
dependence of central city and hinterland in the South has cre-
ated a number of widely dispersed centers of dominance. Of
29 such centers in the South in 1950, centers with population
100,000 and over, 9 were in the southwestern states of Texas and
/Mthough the South is becoming increasingly more metropol-
itan in make-up, its centers of dominance are functionally differ-
ent one from the other. Differentiation of southern urban centers
tends to be based upon what Demerath and Gilmore have
designated as "general urban" and "headquarters" functions. The
dominant ones of these urban functions in the South include
merchandising, education, transportation, and government, along
with numerous mutually dependent "local urban" functions."
Functional uniformity in the urban South exists in the dominance
of one function, the servicing of an agricultural hinterland, and
diversification by means of shipping, retail shopping, wholesaling,
professionalized and skilled service concentration-all contrib-
uting to the culturally distinct metropolitanism of the South and
producing profound interdependence of central city and satel-
(Accompanying urbanization trends in the South, as in other
regions, have been changes in the occupational structure)As the
South moved from a 15.0 percent urban population in 1900 to
47.1 percent urban (by new definition) in 1950, a concomitant
decrease occurred in the proportion of workers engaged in agri-
culture, forestry and fishing-from 61.6 in 1900 to 21.3 in 1950;

N. S. B. Gras, An Introduction to Economic History (New York:
Harper and Brothers, 1922), p. 186.
5 R. D. McKenzie, Metropolitan Community (New York: McGraw Hill
Book Co., 1933), pp. 70-71.
6 Nicholas J. Demerath and Harlan W. Gilmore, "The Ecology of
Southern Cities," Rupert B. Vance (ed.) The Urban South (Chapel Hill:
The University of North Carolina Press, 1954), p. 136-7.

an increase in trade, service, and other industries-trom 27.9 in
1900 to 61.1 in 1950; and an increase in manufacturing-from
10.5 in 1900 to 17.6 in 1950.' The comparable decrease and
increase in the first two groups of industries respectively are
illustrative of changing economic emphases in the South, and
hence changes in population distribution. Manufacturing has
changed more slowly but helps point up the nature of industrial
changes nonetheless. When occupational shifts are noted within
the changing industrial structure, borne out by 1950 census data,
the following factors are immediately apparent: 1) marked in-
crease in professional and skilled occupations; 2) decrease in
farm and other laborers and domestic service; 3) unequal occu-
pational distribution of women; and 4) increase in employed
white workers and decrease in Negroes.
(The impact of such occupational and industrial changes is well
depicted in Bogue's statement that, "the South is moving rapidly
toward an industrial and commercial economy which is organized
around cities and metropolitan areas. This change in economic
and social organization is requiring the South's population to
redistribute itself in new patterns and to acquire new skills and
take on new characteristics." Changes in industrialization and
concomitant occupational structures have altered the relationship
of communities, of central or dominant centers to their hinter-
lands, of urban structure and function, of population distribution
and concentration, of regional status and development.
t ut who are the people that live within and are affected by
thi urbanization pattern of the southern region? Though bi-
racial in general population make-up, the Southeast possesses
unique racial characteristics. It is more than two-thirds white
and slightly more than one-fourth Negro, the average percentage
of whites for the eleven southeastern states being 73.06 and the
average percentage for Negroes 26.8, with other racesconstitut-
ing only a 0.14 average.9 Interestingly enough, however, there is
much variability in racial make-up between states but equal
variability between races. The variation in native-white, for

7 Lorin A. Thompson, "Urbanization, Occupational Shift and Economic
Progress," Vance, Urban South, pp. 38-41.
F Donald J. Bogue, The Growth of Metropolitan Areas, 1900 to 1950
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1953).
9 Data based on Table 59, U. S. Summary, "General Characteristics,"
1950 Population Census.

example, goes from 92.6 in Kentucky to 54.2 in Mississippi and
that for Negroes from 6.9 in Kentucky to 45.3 in Mississippi-an
equivalent range of 38.4 in each instance.
In addition to being predominantly white, the Southeastern
Region abounds in a population with only a slight excess of
females (15,736,670 males to 16,047,057 females) with the per-
centage of males being 49.51 and that of females 50.49. Both
males and females tend to be married, marital status averages
for persons 14 and over for the eleven states being: single males
26.6 vs. 19.4 single females; married males 68.19 vs. 66.35 females;
5.19 widowed or divorced males vs. 14.19 females."' Moreover,
the Southeast has a young population with low income and
eighth grade education. The average age is 26.45 years, average
school years completed 8.2, and average annual income $1,648.8,
with individual state items summarized in table 3. Individual
states do not necessarily duplicate the region but their com-
parable characteristics are reflected in the over-view of the
/North Carolina has been an intricate part of the South's
sl Ily evolving urban pattern but uniquely different with
regard to metropolitanization. No one large center has over-
shadowed the state as has been the case with Richmond in
Virginia, Charleston in South Carolina, Atlanta in Georgia, or
New Orleans in Louisiana. Not a single city in the entire state
had a population of 100,000 in 1930, only one had attained this
status by 1940 and it remained singularly in this category in
1950. In 1940 two of the three cities with population of 50,000
in 1930 were still in the 50,000 category. Of the six standard
metropolitan areas in the state the capital city was the only one
that did not reach the 50,000-inhabitants category prior to 1950.
Ranking lowest among the six central cities in 1930 and 1940,
she managed to rise to fifth place in 1950 as is seen in figure I.
Within these six cities reside 35.54 percent of the urban popula-
tion of the state, but such concentration has been in process for
a long time. Fraught with competition between cities, rent by
sectional battles between eastern and western sections of the
state, complacently reclining amidst the ease of the East and
wealth of the West, and lagging in internal improvements, North
Carolina cities seem always to have taken short paces rather
'0 Data based on Table 68, U. S. Census of Population: 1950. "General
Characteristics of the Population," Vol. II.


Characteristics of the Southeastern Region, by State,
Race, Median Age, School Years Completed
and Income, 19.50

Median School
State Race Years Completed, Median
Percentage Percentage Median Age of those Income
White Negro In Years 25 and over In 1949
Virginia 77. 22.1 27.3 8.5 $2,172
North Carolina 7:3.4 25.8 25.0 7.9 1,864
South Carolina 61.1 38.8 23.6 7.6 1,647
Georgia 69.1 30.9 26.2 7.8 1,644
Florida 78.1 21.7 30.9 9.6 1,950
Kentucky 93.1 6.9 27.0 8.4 1,774
Tennessee 83.9 16.1 27.:3 8.4 1749
Alabama 67.9 32.0 25.5 7.9 1,580
Mississippi 54.6 45.3 24.6 8.1 1,028
Arkansas 77.6 22.3 26.9 8.3 1,315
Louisiana 67.0 32.9 26.7 7.6 1,810
Source: U. S. Census of Population: 1950, Vol. II, "General Characteristics
of the Population," U. S. Summary. Tables 59, 64, 67 and 84.
than rapid strides in growth. The small urban place, both in
physical structure and in population, has been the rule rather
than the exception. As metropolitanism develops a new type of
metropolis emerges in the state-the small industrial central-
city that dominates an agricultural hinterland.
Internal distribution of the population along similar lines in
cities has made city after city within the state appear as replicas
of each other. Business centralization, high residential con-
centration, and non-industrialization have been among the ear-
marks of cities, but decentralization of business, industrialization,
and residential dispersion are currently upsetting the old and
creating new patterns. Ranking 10th in population among the
48 states in 1950, but 44th in urbanity, North Carolina's 4,061,929
people are only 33.7 percent urban and only 11.97 percent
metropolitan. Despite the increase in population living within
metropolitan areas there has been a decrease in the proportion
of Negroes in these areas, with highest concentrations in the

most industrialized communities as evidenced in table 4. For
the most part the more highly populated areas have been in the
on-industrialized, non-metropolitanized eastern half of the state.
e city of Raleigh stands approximately midway between the
ore industrialized West and the non-industrialized East within
a state that reflects in many instances the features of an entire


Population of North Carolina by Metropolitan
City and Percentage Negro,
1950 and 1940
1950 1940
City Population % Negro Population % Negro
Asheville 53,000 23.5 51,310 26.2
Charlotte 134,042 28.1 100,899 31.1
Durham 71,311 36.6 60,195 38.8
Greensboro 74,389 26.9 59,319 27.6
Raleigh 65,679 27.2 46,897 33.7
Winston-Salem 87,811 41.8 79,815 45.1
Total 486,232 398,435
Source: U. S. Ccnsus of Population, Vols. II, 1950 and 1940.
Unlike many Southern and North Carolina cities Raleigh's
physical structure and raison d'etre were so planned that she was
functionally a city from her very inception. Organized as state
government headquarters in a county central between the Vir-
ginia line and South Carolina boundary, she was considered for
some time as a city of streets without houses. One writer gives
this account of her founding:

Raleigh was born a city. No wandering pre-historic cows laid
out her streets and marked her thoroughfares.... Her name was
ready two hundred years before. . Her charter had been
granted in 1587 when Sir Walter Raleigh attempted a permanent
settlement on Roanoke Island. . 'It was a town of magnificent
distances, of unsightly bramble bush and briers, of hills and mo-
lI Hope Summerell Chamberlain, History of Wake County, North Caro-
lina (Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton Printing Co., 1922), p. 63.

rasses, of grand old oaks and few inhabitants, and an onwelcome
look to newcomers'.. ."

Though founded as a city, Raleigh has never had a phenom-
enal growth record. One of the chief characteristics by which her
regional and state status are reflected is her slow growth. No real
or significant growth was evident in the city until after the Civil
War. Prior to 1803 the city was almost devoid of residents, for
up to that time not even the commissioners who made and ex-
ecuted the laws of the locality were required to live within the
city limits.'3 Situated in the interior amidst infertile lands, unim-
proved roads, non-navigable streams, the city's only prosperity
came with officers-of-state residing there, legislative meetings held
there, lawyers attending court there, and wealthy families fleeing
there occasionally from malaria." With the planning and direct-
ing of internal changes the city began to grow, so that her popu-
lation increased from 669 in 1800 to 4,780 on the eve of the Civil
War. At the turn of the century she had 13,643 persons within her
limits. From 1900 1930 Raleigh's rate of growth, when compared
with the urban population of the United States or of North Caro-
lina, was not outstanding; since 1930 it has been more rapid than
that of urban North Carolina or the United States, showing a
higher rate of growth than other large cities in North Carolina.
Political designs and conflicts appear to have been the major
factors affecting the growth of the city. Prior to 1792, when a
commission was appointed to select a permanent seat of govern-
ment for the state, the state capital had been a city on wheels
rolling from one city to another for meetings. Even after Raleigh
had been selected as the permanent locus of government, her
very existence was continually threatened by political controversy
between the eastern and western sections of the state. Each city
that was vying for the capitalship conceived of itself as a faster
growing place because of its geographical and commercial posi-
tion. The eastern section consisted of slaves and plantations and
populous areas, while the west boasted of small farms and few
slaves. By 1830 more than one-half the population of North Caro-
1 Ibid., p. 93.
13 Moses N. Amis, Historical Raleigh (Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton,
1902), pp. 63-65.
Kemp P. Battle, "Raleigh and the Old Town of Bloomsbury," North
Carolina Booklet, Vol. II (Capital Printing Co., 1902), pp. 19-20.

lina was west of Raleigh, but the high concentration of Negroes
then as now was north, south and east of Raleigh. Raleigh stood
between the east and west-a target of political differences from
which it was difficult to emerge-uncertain of her continued exist-
ence and unconcerned about her growth. She seemed content to
move slowly and was unwilling to act until her primacy as a
political and convention city was threatened in 1910, when action
was being taken to move the capital to Creensboro where halls
large enough to accommodate large gatherings existed. Fearing
that she would shrink into a small town, because she had not kept
pace with other cities industrially, citizens and officials hastily
planned and erected structures to accommodate large groups and
retain the city's cosmopolitan and convention status'5-the begin-
ning of a building boom which, though motivated by political as
well as social and economic forces, no doubt had profound effect
upon the subsequent growth of the city.
'Though conceived in political designs, founded in political
necessity, and perpetuated through political controversy, Raleigh
has possessed a number of features that startle when taking cog-
Inizance of her slow growth. Her primacy as a state innovator in
areas indicative of economic status is gleaned from such factors
as the following: she had the first telephone exchange in the state,
put into use in 1879; the first savings bank, erected in 1SS5; the
first post office with first-class rating, received in 1900;'6 and the
first public service in the consumption of electricity, effected in
1SS5.17 Such communicative and service functions are usually
among those making city life advantageous and thereby impelling
much of the redistribution of population between urban and rural
communities, but for numerous decades they brought little change
in the status of Raleigh.
However, as political controversy subsided, internal improve-
ments accrued, population grew, building booms flourished, and
the impact of many social forces began to be felt, industrial and
other changes developed. Some of these changes are reflected in
the current economic profile of the city, which shows the follow-
: Josephus Daniels, Editor in Politics (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 1941), p. 583.
113 Writers Program of The WPA in North Carolina, Raleigh, Capital of
North Carolina, Raleigh Sesquicentennial Conmmission, 1942, pp. 37-43.
I Archibald Henderson, North Carolina, The Old North State and the
New, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 19411), p. 377.

ing consumer potential: an estimated labor potential between
15,000 and 20,000, with approximately 33,000 employed in Metro-
politan Raleigh as of February 1957 at an average wage of $60.87
per week; 60,985 employed in Wake County, 36,500 of whom are
males and 24,485 females.'6 Statistics for 1950 reveal that women
constituted a higher proportion of the labor force in Raleigh than
in urban North Carolina or urban United States.
Aside from the high proportion of women in Raleigh's labor
force. 40.1 percent in 1950, the potential consumers have a num-
ber of other characteristics. They are, among those 14 years old
and over, 58.6 percent married; 98.7 percent of those 21 years old
and over are native born; in educational attainment they compose,
among persons 25 years old and over, 45.4 percent of those with
education of high school or above; with regard to sex they are
48.8 percent male; in age make-up they have a median of 28.8
years; and racially they are 27.33 percent non-white.'" A com-
bined population of 12,015 distributed in seven surrounding Wake
County towns supplements the consumer population.
With Raleigh industries covering textiles, food products, auto
repair services and garages, construction and electronics; with
SNorth Carolina's industrial development showing 167 new manu-
facturing plants and 143 expansions between 1956 and 1957; with
an estimated 875 retail establishments in Raleigh in 1956, a total
retail sales amounting to $148,617,000.00, and approximately 144
manufacturing establishments in and around the city in 1957, the
growth and development of the city became apparent.20
Fuller understanding of the city's potentialities can be gained
perhaps from noting the central local functions thereof, namely,
government, education, and distribution. The 6,912 persons em-
ployed by state agencies in the city and 1,000 employed by fed-
eral agencies2' attest to her primacy as a government center. A
total of six colleges, 24 public primary and secondary schools, 3
special schools, and 3 business schools bear out the educational
center characterization. Combined daily circulation of 138,084

's Industrial Department, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, J. R. Drumimy
(mgr.), Industrial Survey of North Carolina, 1958 Revised Edition.
'"A. Ross Eckler, Deputy Director, Bureau of the Census, "Census Sta-
tistics for Local Use," Reprint of talk before Raleigh Advertising Club,
Raleigh, N. C., November 9, 1954.
20 Indulstial Department, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, op cit.
"1 Ibid.

issues of two locally-owned and published newspapers through 33
Eastern North Carolina counties, headquarters of three gigantic
warehouses serving 178 super markets,22 home office for three life
and two fire insurance companies, and home or branch office for
15 major trucking lines support the city's claim to being a key
distribution center.
In economic status Raleigh occupies a white-collar position, a
ch acteristic of the town since the first state buildings were
erected there and continually sustained through the high percent-
age of special occupations and employment of state, federal,
county, municipal, and educational personnel. For both men and
women in 1950 clerical, sales and kindred workers were the most
important occupational group. In social status the city is pre-
dominantly middle class, not a single millionaire living within her
boundaries or contributing to her industrial growth as in the case
of her metropolitan neighbor cities. In educational status she sur-
passes other urban places in the state, census data showing a
median of 11.2 school years completed by persons 25 years old
and older, and 89.2 percent of her population 14-17 years old and
older in school as of 1950.
Central location and state-agencies headquarters, even more
perhaps than availability of space, have made the city' a conven-
tion place and given it a cosmopolitan air. Badges, parades, and
signs of welcome have thus become a part of the expectations of
large segments of the population.
Although the resident population is sufficiently concentrated
and stratified along economic and racial lines to produce segre-
gated areas, no involuntary residential segregation can be said to
exist. There are no laws, like those passed in the cities of Greens-
boro and Winston-Salem from 1911 to 1914, requiring residential
segregation23-another unique trait of the community'.
/ Equally as pertinent to the development of the city' is the mo-
ility of the population with respect to migration. The proportion
of migrants in Raleigh in 1950 exceeded that for urban North
Carolina and the urban United States, being 9.5 percent for

-2 News and Observer and Raleigh Times, "Golden Belt Market" Bro-
2: C. Vann \oodward, "Origins of the New South," W. H. Stephenson
and E. hM. Coulter (eds.) A History of the South, Vol. IX (Louisiana State
University Press, 1951), p. 355.

SWhile the population of the city grew in the 1940-50 decade,
growth from migration came largely through the movement of
whites. The heavy in-migration of the whites 20-30 years of age
and out-migration of Negroes in almost all age groups helps ex-

Chart No. I

Number of Nonwhites lMoing Into and Out of
Raleigh, By Age Groups, 1940-1950

0-1 I -4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-4950-54 55-64 65-74 75+


2200 --- -- ------------- ------ --- --

Z 200


2 -00 ------


2400 -------
S00 --

Source: Raleigh Township Population Forecast, Department of
City of Raleigh, North Carolina, August, 1953.
Legend: l-Negro.


plain the bi-racial proportions of the population and carries num-j
erous implications for Negro Main Street development. With the3
peak of out-migration for Negroes falling in the 30-35 year age
group, and the proportion of Negroes in the population steadily
decreasing, economic trends in the community can be assumed to
'2 A. Ross Eckler, op cit.

be associated therewith.25 Trends in the out-migration of Negroes
are shown in chart number I and their portrayal gives further in-
sight into the nature of factors relevant to the regional-state-local
l~ban pattern.
YCenerically then, the Raleigh community is but a reflection of
a state, and the state of a region, growing slowly along urbanizing
lines, emerging into metropolitan centers that dominate agricul-
tural hinterlands, exhibiting a changing industrial and occupational
structure, propelling a concomitant redistribution of its bi-racial
population, and making available for consumption large percent-
ages of population groups possessing differentials in economic
and social traits. Specifically localized factors in the structuring
and functioning of the community have given it distinct qualities
of social significance to urban culture and society. Assuming,
therefore, that any urban phenomenon receives its characteristic
make-up from combinations of interacting forces within the en-
vironment, and recognizing the impact of somewhat remote ur-
banization factors upon rather immediate ones, the following gen-
eralization can be made: Negro Main Street characteristics have'
been produced through unique localized forces within a generic
regional and state pattern. The unique or specific forces of the
environment that have influenced the evolution of the street and
structured its different aspects into a functional portrayal of local
urban trends hold relevant positions within the urban scheme and
are of principal concern in the next chapter.
2" Department of Planning, Raleigh, North Carolina, Raleigh Townrhip
Population Foreca.t, August, 1953.

Chapter 3


THE original ground plan and organization of the Raleigh com-
munity, coterminous with the current downtown business area,
expressed in itself a summary of the history of the state of North
Carolina. Similarly, the structure of the community phenomenon
known as the Negro Main Street is a functional expression of the
natural history of Negro business. The structure and design of
both the downtown area and streets contained in it have been
outgrowths of the effects of numerous ecological and cultural fac-
tors. One of these factors is demonstrated in the manner in which
the downtown area originated.
In constructing the city as a fixed political center, 400 acres of
the 1,000-acre tract purchased as a state government site formed
the core of its physical structure. With the six-acre Union Square
(now Capital Square) in the center and four four-acre squares
situated one each in the northeast, northwest, southeast and
southwest corners of the city "for public purposes," the re-
mainder of the land was laid off in lots of one acre each. The
original streets of the city radiating outward from Union Square
in north, south, east, and west directions formed the nucleus of
the set of streets extending over the entire land area of the city.
Superimposed upon this physical structure was a cultural one
which carried historically significant political implications. This
is symbolized in the names assigned to the streets and squares.
The four squares, exclusive of Union Square, were named for the
first three governors of North Carolina and the attorney general;
the first eight streets were named for the judicial districts of the
state; nine others were named for the commissioners elected to
locate the government site, there being one from each of the
eight judicial districts and one from the state-at-large; four were
named respectively for the Speaker of the Senate, Speaker of the
House, former owner of the land out of which the city was carved,
and a cavalry officer in the American Revolution; the boundary
streets were then designated as North, South, East, and West.
Subsequent use of one city square as site of the governor's man-
sion, of another as site of state office buildings, and the two re-

maining ones as public parks, gives further evidence of the in-
teraction of cultural and ecological forces in the development of
the city.
The State House, erected in the center of Union Square, was
not completed until 1794, two years after the founding of the city.
The few stores and residences constructed at the time were located
as near the State House as possible, extending southward from the
State House more than in any other direction. Thus in 1808 all
the stores were on Fayette\ille Street2 and for more than a dec-
ade the same picture prevailed, as the following statement indi-

In 1822 Fayetteville Street was lined on both sides with wooden
buildings ordinarily of small dimensions and moderate value.
Nearly all the stores were on that street south of the State House
and north of the Court House.

Location of the Governor's house at the corner of Fayetteville and
Hargett Streets added to the comprehensive all-purpose functions
of what became the chief thoroughfare of the city. When in 1813
a site was selected at the foot of Fayetteville Street on which to
build a more commodious home for the governor and the home
complete in 1816 Fayetteville Street-which stretched in full
length from the State House to the Governor's Mansion just out-
side the city limits-was described as the "principal or rather only
street in this clean little country town."' The emphasis of the day
with regard to architecture and structure was upon orientaliza-
tion, and Raleigh's State House had been designed accordingly
but was so situated as to look both east and west. Nevertheless,
the chief thoroughfare of the city developed neither to the east
nor west but to the south. Reasons given for this are:

The bulk of the population was in its southern and eastern por-
tions, because settlers had worked their way up the Neuse and

SMoses N. Amis, op. cit., pp. 23-29.
2Ibid.. p. 71.
3 "Early Times In Raleigh," Address delivered by the Hon. David L.
Swain at Dedication of Tucker Hall and on the Occasion of the Comple-
tion of the Monument to Jacob Johnson. Compiled by R. S. Tucker.
(Raleigh: Walters, Hughes and Co., 1867), p. 13.
4 Hugh T. Lefler, North Carolina History Told by Contemporaries
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1934), p. 198.


N. o

Cape Fear and their tributaries. Merchants and mechanics, by
getting locations on the street, received the advantage of the
trade coming in on both the Smithfield and Fayetteville roads. ....
County authorities naturally located the court house on the same
street so as to accommodate the majority of their constituents. ...
The great mail route from North to South ran by way of Peters-
street so as to accommodate the majorih, of their constituents....

burg, Warrenton, Raleigh, and Fayetteville, then to Georgetown
and Charleston in South Carolina. ... Tavern keepers and others
seeking public patronage selected their business stands along this
highway.. .5

Opening onto the only road then leading to the old established
towns of Fayetteville and Smithfield, Fayetteville Street became
the inter-urban link-the thoroughfare along which business in-
stitutions located as attractions to in-coming marketerers and trav-
elers. For more than a half-century the business section of the
city remained confined to Fayetteville Street. By 1860 the only
stores east of that street had been erected on Hargett Street.
Thus, Hargett, later to become dominated by Negro business, was
the first one outside of Fayetteville Street to form part of the
functional business area.
As the city grew from an enacted framework of streets and
government buildings to a crescive one of residences, stores, and
office structures, a generalized pattern of institutional arrange-
ments developed. Homes, hotels, saloons, taverns, boarding
houses, and other business institutions were indiscriminately sit-
uated on Fayetteville Street, the lower part of the street retain-
ing this feature until the late 1940's. The positional factor motivat-
ing location of the earliest institutions seems to have been to
situate close to the State House, which became the center of
activity for the city. The State House not only housed the varied
branches of government, but it also served as town hall, confer-
ence chamber, lecture room, theater, and ball room. Its attend-
ants included therefore officers-of-state and officers-of-city, city
people and country people, residents and non-residents, natives
and strangers.
, Such institutions as were found interspersed with homes along
the main thoroughfare were those catering primarily to a large
transient population. As has been previously indicated, the tran-
sient population exceeded the resident population for many years
after the founding of the city. It was only natural that expansion
in the business area should follow first along the Hargett Street
thoroughfare, for this was the next street cross-cutting Fayette-
ville Street just beyond those surrounding Union Square. On
5 "The Early History of Raleigh, the Capital City of North Carolina,"
A Centennial Address by Kemp P. Battle, October 18, 1892 (Raleigh:
Edwards and Broughton Printers and Binders, 1893), p. 45.

Hargett, as on Fayetteville Street, the first institutional arrange-
ments fell into a generalized pattern with business and residences
interspersed. Establishment of the city market on Hargett in
1800, where country people could bring their commodities for
sale and city people could have easy access to them, meant
further extension of the generalized institutional pattern.
Gradually the generalized pattern began to give way to a spe-
cialized one. Specialization, however, did not mean growth of
special districts for finance institutions, service institutions and
the like. More specifically it meant greater separation of state
office buildings, retail and wholesale business, and residences, as
well as replacement of the general store by drug. grocery, dry
goods, jewelry, book and other stores. By 1840, for example, when
the city market was moved from the center of East Hargett Street,
the saloons and barrooms that had developed around it had made
of the street a specialized area by the name of "Grog Alley,"
while Wilmington between Hargett and Martin, an adjoining
locality, was known as "Cologne." The State House, destroyed by
fire in 1831 and rebuilt as the Capitol in the period 1833-40,
paved the way for more concentration of state institutions around
it and hence more specialized institutional arrangement.
Though impelled by the force of constant local change, Ra-
leigh's business center made few enduring growth transitions until
after the Civil War. With buildings constructed out of wood,
businesses crowded together in one block, and little available fire
insurance for protection, the fires of 1816, 1821 and 18M31 practi-
cally devastated the business area on Fayetteville and Hargett
streets. A drought in 1826 and heavy emigration from 1820 to
1830 brought astounding reductions in the population, hence
further stifling growth. A number of major events in 1840 brought
prosperity to the city and started another upward growth trend.
Included among these were completion of the State Capitol, the
first passenger train, a convention of persons interested in the
manufacturing business, and opening of the first public schools
of the state. A decade after these innovations, in 1850, Raleigh's
population had doubled. In 1853 prosperity was sufficiently evi-
dent for the first state fair to be held there, and in 1857 growth
warranted extending the city limits for the first time. Then came
the Civil War and once again growth was arrested. The period of
Reconstruction marked a new era for business and other institu-
tional growth of the community, during which time the increase

business ana occupational developments.
(What happened to the Negro in the South from 1619 to 1865
%%as generically the same in all localities. For comparative pur-
poses then mention might be made of the Negro's occupational
status in the southern economy before and after the Civil War as
characteristic of the Raleigh community of that period. Prior to
1860 economic circumstances formed the chief criteria for social
stratification. Thus, in North Carolina the socio-economic divi-
sions of society resulted in the following pyramided classes: 1)
The planter aristocracy or gentry; 2) Small slave-holding planters
and farmers, small merchants and manufacturers, and lesser offi-
cials forming the middle class; 3) Small farmers and mechanics;
4) Landless tenants and laborers known as poor whites; 5) Free
Negroes; and 6) Negro slaves.6 The one class in this group that
was without an acceptable place in the social structure was the
free Negro. He was forbidden by a law of 1826 to trade with
slaves; a law of 1830 voided any marriage to a white person; an
act of 1831 prevented his preaching or exhorting in public, and a
law of 1860-61 hindered his hiring or having control of slaves,
though some owned them.7 Though circumscribed in movements
and activities, in almost all cities of the Ante-bellum South free
Negroes comprised the artisan class of workers. They, along with
a few selected slaves on plantations, were the barbers, black-
smiths, butchers, carpenters, shoemakers, mechanics, tailors and
textile workers, and keepers of restaurants, cafes and hotels. The
half-free status of the free Negro forced his loss of much of the
local trade in these businesses even before the Civil War; the
number of Negroes in business after the Civil War did not far
surpass the number so engaged before the war; only after the
South's recovery from the devastations of the war did the Negro
begin to engage more actively in the business world, and even this
was on an experimental basis until after the 1890's and doomed
to failure when whites began to exploit potentialities of the Negro
community as a trade area.8
6 Hugh T. Lefler, History of North Carolina (New York: Lewis Historical
Publishing Co., 1956), pp. 412-423.
SFred A. Olds, Abstract of North Carolina Laws.
SJ. H. Harmon, Jr., Arnett G. Lindsay, and Carter C. Woodson, The
Negro as a Business Man (Association for the Study of Negro Life and
History, 1929). pp. 3-16; 90-91.


ih the Raleigh community concentrated in the same artisan and
craftsmen's lines as indicated above. Hargett Street had already
become a business street by this time, but businesses operated by
whites predominated. Negro business, however, was downtown
business rather than neighborhood, for 19 of the 31 Negro busi-
nesses were scattered along Fayetteville, Hargett, Wilmington,
and Exchange streets-the heart of the business area.
(During the latter part of the nineteenth century a number of
factors point toward the emergence of a broader and broader
Negro business world. In 1875-76, for example, there were only
six barbers in the entire community and all six were Negroes, two
of the six barbering for Negroes and four for whites. The barber
group increased to eleven between 1875 and 1888, but all re-
mained Negro. Three years later the number doubled, two of the
twenty-two barbers being white, thus beginning in 1891 the in-
troduction of a competitive group that was eventually to upset
the pattern of a long-standing occupation.
(In the same 1875-76 period all "eating houses" and huckster
stalls were operated by Negroes, while the number of Negro
blacksmiths exceeded the number of white blacksmiths, with an
equal number of Negroes and whites as harness makers and
saddlers. Variation in type of business operated by Negroes came
with the advent of these: two Negro newspapers, an undertaker,
and two additional graded schools in 1880 (one graded school
had been established in 1855 but was then in complete charge of
white teachers from the North and another, the East Raleigh
School, held at the old Fair Grounds, had been established in
1S7S-the only one not held in a church)9; one attorney and five
saloon keepers in 1883; one bakery, two boarding houses, one
contractor and builder, one upholsterer, one fish and five meat
market operators in 1886; a billiard room, dyeing and cleaning
establishment, and furniture dealer in 1887; a hotel, physician
and surgeon in 1888; and the first Negro dentist in 1911-12.
The years 1880-90 show fairly wide dispersion of Negro busi-
ness over several downtown areas, but little variety in types of
business, as seen in table number 5. Barbers, boot and shoe mak-
ers, butchers, hucksters, fish and meat dealers, and restaurant
operators constituted the bulk of persons engaged in trades or
9 Raleigh City Directory, 1880-81 (Raleigh: Edwards, Broughton and

businesses. The very nature of these businesses, serving both
Negro and white customers, accounted in part for their location
on downtown "front" streets rather than back ones. Moreover,
this was a period of non "Jim-Crow" and little forced segregation,
for more Jim-Crow laws were passed in the 1890 period than at
any other time. When, however, comparison is made between the
number of businesses located on Wilmington versus Hargett
Street one readily notes the former as having the higher concen-
tration. But this was also the period of attempted group ventures
in business operated concurrently with small individual busi-
nesses. Grocery stores operated by such groups as the Brick
Masons and True Reformers, occupational and fraternal organ-
izations, exemplified this effort. They seemed, however, to be
lacking in elements necessary in the business struggle for exist-
ence and were short-lived. Explanation for this may reside in
the nature of the occupational and fraternal groups in control
rather than the grocery business itself. One rather illuminating
account in this line follows:

In 1882 the brick masons had a grocery store, but that was on
Wilmington Street and didn't last long. That was the only group
venture I remember, all the others were individual ventures . .
my daddy was a brick mason and didn't run a business, but he
was important because of being clerk of the court. He tried to
teach me the brick mason's trade but after he died I gave it up,
told my mother I wasn't going to follow that because all I'd do
would be lay the brick and some white man would still be over
me doing most of the important work and I wanted to be on my
own . When I was ten years old I was taking up the brick
mason's trade. . when my daddy died I went to doing something
I could work on when it rained and weather was bad; had to help
support my mother ... A brick mason didn't get but $3.00 a day
in 1873-4 when we moved from Hungry Neck to Oberlin.'1

Though the number of Negro businesses was still small during
this time, if by location and concentration of these one could
posit the existence of a Negro Main Street, then Wilmington
Street was primary and Hargett secondary and continued such into
the first decades of the twentieth century when Hargett supplanted
Wilmington as the primary business location.
SThe 1890 period shows a significant increase in Negro business,
0 Personal interview.

entrance into still other occupations, and regaining control of
many skilled crafts in which the Negro lost out after the Civil
War. Thus in 1S91 the Raleigh community had among Negroes
17 brick masons, 34 carpenters, 32 draymen, 19 mechanics, 4
painters, S plasterers and whitewashers, 6 printers. 16 shoemakers,
and 2 tinners. The professional field broadened also with more law-
yers, physicians, ministers, nurses, and teachers. The co-existence,
however, of 275 "colored" washerwomen, 361 servants, 42 seam-
stresses, 113 porters, and 349 laborers-all listed in the 1891 City
Directory-must not be overlooked as suggestive of the chief
occupations of the Negro. At the onset of the twentieth century
many of the trends in Negro business started in the 1S90's became
fairly fixed statuses leading more and more into stationary down-
town locations.
\Prior to World War I Negro business seemed more widely dis-
persed over the downtown area than at any other time. Although
similarity of location tended to characterize offices of lawyers and
doctors, for the most part the most overt evidence of such was
noticeable in the location of restaurants and barbershops. Since
Negroes had a monopoly over the restaurant and barbershop
business, location of these may have been based on individual
selection, availability of space, or proximity to other lucrative
businesses. Nevertheless, the fact remains that many of the res-
taurants catering to both Negro and white customers were either
in basement or upstairs areas of buildings rather than on the
ground floor. So prevalent were these among the types of busi-
nesses in which Negroes engaged that they became almost trade-
marks of the*eating folkways of the day. Elderly residents' con-
ceptions of early Negro businesses tend to point up this factor.
As one resident stated it,
There were a number of restaurants on the back street. Wil-
mington St. was called Back Street and Fayetteville St. was called
Front Street. Back Street was lined with Negro restaurants. Of
course whites ate there; they could eat in colored places although
colored couldn't eat in theirs. Then too, there wasn't as much
segregation then as now. Many white folks went to the colored
places to eat because they liked a particular mammy's cooking.1
Another commentary on the eating folkways of the day is given
thus by an elderly native of the city:
1 Personal interview.

Restaurants were mostly operated by Negroes. Tables for whites
and tables for colored were all in one room. All entered the
front door. In the N. H. Adams Building, corner of Martin
and Wilmington, a Negro man had a restaurant downstairs.
Jack Winston had a restaurant up over the saloon on Wilmington
SSt. He was colored. Negro women waited tables but had few
other jobs. Negroes lost out in business because they didn't have
,uch business sense.12

A similar conception is indicated by another resident in these

Mandy Dunstan used to have about the biggest restaurant; they
didn't call them cafes in those days. All the country whites ate
with her. Her restaurant was down under the city market. She had
a steady trade of whites. Colored ate there too but her biggest
trade was white. All ate together. I don't remember any such
thing as segregation in those places then and I've been here for
91 years, was born right on this same land January 10, 1867.13

The locational pattern was even more obvious in the case of
barbershops. Negro barbershops for whites were all situated on
the city's main thoroughfare, Fayetteville St., and all but one in
basements. The one exception was the renowned Otey shop in the
Yarborough Hotel. However, location was not the determinant of
type of business engaged in. Nor was type of business the causal
factor in location, but location of business seemed always to bear
some relationship to the racial and status group to which the
business catered. Where the occupational group was composed
solely of Negroes and they served both white and Negro custom-
ers in the same physical plant a mutual downtown, front-street
business location developed. Such was the case with butchers and
dance bands. But where Negroes served both races in separate
physical plants distinction was made through location. A rather
vivid portrayal of this is seen in the statements which follow:

I've been barbering here for 32 years, barbered in a shop for
whites for eight months mainly to learn how to cut straight hair.
S. .All our trade when I was at the white shop was high class.
The different shops for whites have different classes of white
12 Personal interview.
13 Personal interview.

customers. We did not wait on anyone but the upper class-doc-
tors, lawyers, professors and that type. The real drawing card was
the name of the shop or man who owned it. The shop I was in
was the one old man Otey had had, and just the name Otey meant
you got the best. All the Negro shops for white trade were on
Fayetteville St. and in the basement of some store at that, all but
Otey's, and there wasn't a basement there for them to be in. The
colored shops for colored trade were mostly on the ground level,
all but Sam Harris when he was on Wilmington St., but they are
all in colored areas, none on Fayetteville St. There were no signs
indicating which were for colored and which for white, you just
knew them by location.4
So striking was the locational pattern of barbershops that one
resident exclaimed:
Willie Otey had a barbershop in the old Yarborough House
Hotel, and it was not a basement shop either! It was right on the
main street and on the ground floor. Of course it was for whites,
but many of the barbershops for whites were operated by col-
ored in basements of buildings. Henry Otey was Willie Otev's son,
had worked in the barbershop with his father and took it over
when he died. He was the last colored to have it, and then it was
turned over to whites. The few white barbershops left now that
are operated by colored are in basements. When these shops
flourished the aristocrats wouldn't go to anybody but colored.
They had their own special barbers and went to them at spe-
cial times and on special days. As I recall they brought a white
barber here from some place else and put him in the shop there
under the Masonic Building at the corner of Fayetteville and
Hargett, and after that a number of white barbers began to ap-
Closely connected with physical location as a distinguishing
feature of business were the traditionally understood differences
in enterprises. As one resident stated,
There were no signs indicating colored or white barbershops.
Negroes just knew who the barbers were that had only white
trade, aside from the fact that most of the white shops were on
Fayetteville St. and the white shops were finely equipped. Until
recently colored barbershops had almost nothing in them.'"
4 Personal interview.
15 Personal interview.
1' Personal interview.

Further historical significance of the locational pattern of early
Negro business lay in what might be termed derivative business.
Derivation in this sense, however, refers to subsequent and more-
recently-developed businesses formulated through ideas and sup-
port received from earlier businesses. One such establishment is
an educational institution which had made it the "business of the
state" to train Negroes for many business fields. The statement of
another resident helps clarify this:

All laws used to be made right in the Yarborough Hotel. Shep-
ard used to stand out in front and wait for the various legis-
lators to come out and then beg for his school over in Dur-
ham. It was only a high school then, but by begging and getting
so many state appropriations look what he made out of it. It's now
one of your leading colleges.'7

One of the principal derivative businesses among Negroes must
be traced back to a major opinion-forming and news-gathering
institution-the barbershop. To the Otey barbershop is attributed
the real origin of one of the most successful businesses among
Negroes in the United States, as gleaned from the following

General Julian S. Carr, \V. T. Blackwell and Washington Duke
undertook in 1SSO to insure for Durham just as good a barber-
shop as \V. C. Otey operated in the State Capital thirty miles
away. The barbershop explains Duke University and the N.C.
Mutual Life Insurance Co., the biggest organization of its kind in
the world.'1

The Otey shop existed far in advance of subsequent ones in the
industrial city of Durham. Merrick started there as a bootblack,
learned barbering there, and advanced from bootblack to barber,
then finally moved to Durham where he opened barber shops for
both whites and Negroes and through them received the In-
surance Company idea. As told by contemporaries, the story runs

Buck Duke gave John Merrick the best tip he ever got. He
17 Personal interview.
11 Jonathan Daniels, Tar Heels: A Portrait of North Carolina (New York:
Dodd, Mead and Co., 1941), p. 124.

knew Merrick had acquired three barbershops for white people
and two for Negroes. 'John,' said Duke under John's razor, 'why
don't you hunt up a better job?' 'Organize an insurance company
and make every dinged nigger in the United States pay you $25
a year.' Duke gave the suggestion, General Carr lent some money
for the enterprise, Merrick, the barber, was its leader. Help came
from Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore and Charles C. Spaulding.19

From bootblack to apprentice, to full-fledged barber, to busi-
ness operator and owner, to founder of business with established
branches in the capital city-this is not alone the biography of a
man, Merrick, but the history of several key Negro businesses,
more especially the insurance business. Originally organized and
incorporated in 1899 as the N.C. Mutual and Provident Associa-
tion, under the motto, "merciful to all." the object of the corpora-
tion was to furnish relief to widows and orphans, those injured
by accident, and the dead in need of burial. But it is no wonder
that the organization became "big business" and spread through-
out the nation, for the corporators embraced within their own
ranks men with varied business interests and experiences. The
corporators were John Merrick, A. M. Moore, J. E. Shepard, W.
G. Pearson, and D. T. Watson of Durham; T. O. Fuller of War-
renton; E. A. Johnson and N. C. Bruce of Raleigh.2"
As the twentieth century developed, the nature and location of
Negro business began to evidence a number of changes. Restau-
ranting and barbering for whites, leading Negro businesses of the
nineteenth century, began to decline. Many white property own-
ers ceased renting space to Negroes for business purposes. Jim-
crow laws began to tighten, segregation became more enforced,
the Negro business world began to contract to Negro customers
and clients, and the majority of Negro business began to migrate
to one street-East Hargett. By the second decade of the twentieth
century East Hargett had became the hub of the Negro com-
munity. Only one business establishment remained on Wilming-
ton Street and one on Fayetteville. But this Negro street has
never been an all-Negro street. Some whites have always oper-
ated business there, some for Negroes only and others without re-
gard to race. The designation "Negro Main Street" derives from
the predominance of businesses operated by and/or for Negroes, as
19 Ibid., pp. 126-7.
"- Private Laws of North Carolina. 1899, Chapter 156.

Downtown Location of Negro Business By Specific Streets and Years, 1880-1891
Wilmington Street Hargett Street Other Downtown Streets
Business 1880 1883 1886 1887 1888 1891 1880 1883 1886 1887 1888 1891 1880 1883 1886 1887 1888 1891
-81 -81 -81
Attorneys 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Barbers 2 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 0 4 5 4 5 6 1
Billiards 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blacksmiths 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Boot&ShoeMfg. 0 1 3 4 2 2 1 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Butchers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 5 7 4 3
Cabinet lkr. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Confectioners 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
DryGoods 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Furniture Shop 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Grocers 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 2 0 5 0
Harness & Saddles 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hucksters 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 4 3 3
LiveryStable 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
Markets 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 6 2 2 0
Restaurants 0 3 5 6 4 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
Saloons 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Undertakers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0
Upholsterers 0 011 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ttals 3 11 14 19 13 8 48 8 9R 5 2 10 15 25 20 21 7

!s 4

ice oz vuel Dealers
Finance, Insurance,
Real Estate
Communication &

ald 0

8 0
4 0
0 0

0 1 0 1 2 0 7 0

6 0 6 0

0 1 1 1 4 2 1 0 5 0 3

1 1 1 3
5 0 2 0
1 2 1 2
0 0 0 0
1 0 2 0


LCA77nWv0F srT/S/rd rs /N r23f4;C -6 rwe
Z 'WN7ZmJIy 7WShv'.S3 37!Z7TS

well as types of businesses necessarily located there. A sum-
marized list of the number and types of these is given in table 6,
and the relationship of the street to other downtown streets in
figure 2.
Prior to the 1920's Negro business, except for barber shops with
white customers and the one dry goods store, was by no means
stable in location. Continual movement from one location to an-

other seemed more the rule than the exception. The frequency of
movement is indicated in the following excerpts:
J. WV. Ligon, who became principal of the school, had a news-
paper, The Union Reformer, with office in 1917 on Wilmington
Street; he moved to Hargett St. in 1920.
Harris' barber shop was on Wilmington St. first and then moved
to Hargett. Doctors Delaney, Roberts, and Edwards had offices
upstairs in the Hoover Building and then moved to Hargett St.
in 1923.
P. T. Hall had a restaurant on Wilmington St., moved to the
Arcade on Hargett in 1921.
Frank Constance and Jimmy Taylor had a pool room on Wilming-
ton St., moved it from there to the Arcade on Hargett, then they
split up and Jimmy moved back to Wilmington St., then came
back to Hargett St. up there where the New York Cafe is, finally
bought the building down below the Arcade where the pool
room stayed until destroyed by fire.
Walker's barber shop was first at 117 Hargett St., then moved
down to Lightner Building. He and old man L. fell out and he
moved back to 117.
The Elks Home started out in the Lightner Building on Hargett
St. It moved from there to the 200 block of Wilmington St., from
there to the 500 block of Wilmington St., and from there to the
300 block of Cabarrus, then bought in the 600 block of Davie.2
Despite the shifts in location of business, however, one rather
noteworthy locational factor shows up, namely this: Once Negro
business had become dominant on Hargett Street it tended to re-
main there, the opposite of the trend on Wilmington Street where
once the number of Negro businesses began to decrease the trend
continued until only one business remained. Beginning in 1910 the
steady decline in number of Negro businesses on Wilmington
Street was accompanied by an increase in the number on Hargett
Street, and the steady increase on Hargett brought Negro and
white operated businesses to equal numbers in 1921-22, the Negro
businesses exceeding the white ones in 1923-24. After reaching a
peak in 1925 a slight decrease set in but businesses remained
numerically high, as shown in figure 3. WVhite businesses that were
-1 Personal interview.

established on the street prior to the invasion of Negro business
tended to remain, while those that came later stayed only tem-
porarily and then moved on. Although Negro business establish-
ments were originally dispersed over a wide area, they were
gradually compressed into a narrower area, and the main street
area that extended formerly over the two long blocks from Fay-
etteville to Blount Streets contracted to one block. Location of
the bank in the middle of the first block just off the city's main
thoroughfare, however, has acted as linking agent between the
lower part of the street and the real core of the city. Consequently
physical isolation has not enveloped the area. Statements of a
resident who moved to the city around 1912 are illuminating in
this respect:

Actually in the teens the key Negro business was on Wilming-
ton Street. It wasn't until the twenties that Hargett Street be-
came the center of Negro business. The Negroes didn't own any
of the buildings they were in on Wilmington St., none but Mr.
Hoover, but they owned most of the places on Hargett St. When
I first came to Raleigh the only white places on Hargett St. were
Tucker's Furniture, Raleigh Furniture, Montague Building, and a
clothing store whose name I don't remember. The Tuckers bought
that place there where the New' York Cafe is now just so the)'
could put Jimmy Taylor out; they got mad because he had a
pool room there beside them.22

Another resident who established his home in the city in 1919
says of the street:

. .. there have always been a large number of whites on the street
operating business, but most of them have been in the upper part
of the block. There have been more changes in the upper part of
the block than below; it's easier to lose up there. The whites move
there and try it for a while and don't do so well so they move on
out, but the businesses that have been in the lower part of the
block have really made the money and they have stayed rather
permanent . the buildings have remained about the same on
the outside but inside they have changed a whole lot, that is, with
regard to tenants . some of the people who have had busi-
nesses there have moved from one spot to another but remained
on the street. The peanut vender, for example, used to be across
22 Personal interview.

,7/GZ1 /E 3.

/Y/MSf- a OP / ViFO B/S,/tEfS~ ON/,Iv/ /N&"TVA',
//T/7ER.'A, / Oo /9-50

gi0 /1920

/930 /940 /950 X


the street until he felt he needed larger space and when Robert-
son's Appliance moved (or went out of business) he got a chance
to move in there... Hargett St. is still the hub of the city. Every-
body has to go there once in a while if nowhere but to the bank.
And many of those who don't do any banking there get their
checks cashed there at one time or another.23

The real establishment of East Hargett as a Negro business
street is attributed primarily to one man. Personal business inter-
ests, real estate investments, and extenuating circumstances com-
bined to convert the efforts of this one man into a fixed location
for the operation of Negro business. After completing his formal
training and teaching for a short while he worked as contractor,
undertaker, wood dealer and garage owner. Opening business on
East Hargett Street in 1911, the life story of this businessman
outlines much of the history of Negro enterprise. A part of that
story is told in the ensuing explanation which he himself gives:

I came here in 189S as a student at Shaw, and of course a student
doesn't know too much about the business of a town, but there
were no real big businesses when I came. Negroes did practically
all the brick work at that time and whites did the carpentry.
There were few Negro contractors. I think this was because of
the unions, but I don't know that this was the reason. Negroes
never were in carpentry as much as in brick work. Negroes did
the plastering too. There were few cafts. Negroes did all the
barbering for colored and white, but since then whites have taken
it over. There's only one white barbershop run by Negroes now.
As for the reason for this, the trend is for whites to grow more
envious, no that's not a good word, maybe I should say more
self-conscious of what Negroes were getting out of barbering. The
wealthiest Negroes in Raleigh were barbers. One of these was
Otev. He had one of the best cared-for families, was well off, and
made his money barbering. His father before him was a barber.
In the third generation of barbers the family dropped out. That's
one of the failures of Negroes: they don't raise successors to their
business and after their death the business goes; the children are
too anxious to sell out and blow the money.
(Every Negro who wanted to go into business in Raleigh wanted
to get on East Hargett St. because we had built it up; everybody
who came to Raleigh felt he hadn't been to the city until he had
23 Personal interview.

Been to East Hargett St., and that's really the way this Negro
business street got started. I really started it, and I'm not brag-
ging, for I didn't intend to do business there at first. I intended to
have business on Favetteville St. The News and Observer had
moved out and left an old building there on Fayetteville St. across
from the Sir Walter Hotel. I went to Josephus Daniels and asked
him if he wanted to sell it. He said he would sell for $10,000. I
got ten men and formed a company, each of us put up $100 to get
the $1,000 needed for the down payment. After we got in we
borrowed enough for a new building. I then made a proposition
to my company asking that I have an office on the front and my
funeral parlor on the back. Brittan Pearce was the man who
kicked this. So they wouldn't let me have my funeral parlor there.
After they ruled me out I went and found an old shop owned by
an old white man. This was where the Lightner Building now is
on East Hargett. He said he had to move and wanted to sell the
place. Judge Winston was handling it, so I went to lim and asked
about buying. He said he would sell for $10,000. with $500. down
payment, don't remember the other terms but I paid so much a
month. I rolled the wooden building to the back and used it until
I built the new building; went back to Winston and borrowed
from him to build this new building. So, I pulled out of the com-
pany and eventually all the others pulled out and let Bernr
O'Kellev have the property on Fayette\ille St. O'Kellev finally
sold it, that's the way he used to make so much money. The Ne-
groes had no place to do business before so I gave them a place.
""'When I started in business on East Hargett St. (was doing con-
tracting before that but not on Hargett) there was only one build-
ing in the whole block that belonged to Negroes and that was the
Odd Fellows Building. That's where the shoe shop and barber-
shop were. The next colored business was a saloon run by Capt.
Hamlin and Hoover. When saloons were closed Hamlin went
into the drug store business and Hoover went into the clothing
business. When I built a new building on the street N. C. Mutual
had bought where the bank is now. I built the bank. Then most
all colored business tried to come into the block. This was be-
tween 1921 and 1930. I built the Arcade for a hotel and office
buildings together. I really built it because my wife got tired of
me bringing so many of my friends to the house to stay, but there
was no place in town for them to stay. The hotel used to be the
main entertainment place in the city. It has never been the same
since Mrs. Hall's death. She used to run it. As to how I acquired
the place, there was an old white boarding house there, that is, it
was for whites. It was put up for sale. Hudson-Belk was going to

buy it, they didn't have anything but a little place and wanted a
larger one. They ran the bidding up to $21,000, so I got it for
$21,000. I got it and borrowed $75,000 to build the building. Had
to put up that much and my building across the street (The
Lightner Building) to get it. That's the most money any Negro
has been able to borrow at any one time. I don't believe there's
been another in the state to get that much of a loan at one time.
When I got sick the doctor said I had to give up business if I
expected to live. I had three in college at the same time. Figur-
ing out how I was going to meet those bills and my payroll is
what gave me these gray hairs. So I had to get rid of the business.
The Insurance Co. wouldn't lend me but one-half the value of
my property. They said they would let me have the money I
needed, but when they offered the loan at one-half the value I
figured I could get more than that, so I decided on a private sale
and just gave it up. That was about 15 years ago. I stayed on for
a while and just paid interest until it got so I could not have a
funeral there because of the parking problem. That's when I
negotiated for the present Funeral Home my boys operate on
Smithfield Street."2

\Once East Hargett Street had become established and recog-
nized as the main street for Negro business, it tended to portray
through its dominant features a number of specific trends and
tendencies other than locational ones. Any comprehensive ex-
planation of the evolution of the street and its businesses must
take these into consideration. Many of the occupations at which
Negroes worked did not culminate into established business en-
terprises on the main street. Nevertheless, they form significant
chapters in the history thereof because of their influence upon
other specified types of business. One of the most inclusive views
pointing up such factors is given by a resident of the community.
who says:

I came to Raleigh in 1919 as a veteran of World War I. When I
came Negroes had charge of most all the transportation, and that
included taxis and drays. Now the whites have about 60%o of the
taxi business and about all of the dray business. I started to work
in the post office in 1921, and at that time Negroes did all the
parcel post work with their drays, that is, they delivered pack-
ages and did any transportation work the post office had to be
24 Personal interview.

but it was different then. Draying was a good source of income
for Negroes. 15 of the 16 carriers in the post office were colored
at that time.
Negroes did practically all the barbering then too, and many of
the shops were run for whites. Colored did all the street work too.
They may have had a white foreman, but the colored did all the
work. And they had charge of all the sanitary work (too dirty
then for whites to do).
Negroes did a lot of construction work then too, they did about
all the carpentering, bricklaying, and plastering but have gradu-
ally been edged out by the whites. We just don't have any Negro
carpenters now. We have increased our number in bricklaying
and decreased in plastering. The bricklayers and plasterers were
the first integrated union group here. They've been integrated
for 25 years I know.
During the years 1926-28 Negroes did all the landscaping in
Raleigh. Everywhere you went, and I carried mail all over town,
you saw Negroes doing the yards. All out in Hayes Barton and
these other exclusive sections the Negroes did the landscaping,
but now the nurseries have taken it over.
In most of these jobs the Negroes lost out because, as I see it,
they haven't kept pace with the changes that have been made.
For example, in the days of the horse and wagon it was easy
enough for Negroes to do the transportation, but when the auto-
mobile came into vogue they needed to change and they wouldn't
replace the horse and wagon with trucks so they lost out. One
man did, that was Ed. Tate. When he died he had a whole fleet"
of trucks.
Women have never done much in Raleigh. They have been con-
tinuously domestic workers and teachers. About the only change
that has taken place with them is that not many of them do
laundry work any more. They used to do laundry work at home,
some of them still do laundry work, but in the laundry not in the
home. When I came here a Mrs. Roberts had a millinery shop up
on Hargett Street but she was about the only woman then in
business of any consequence. There have been a few women since
who have ventured into some kind of business, such as the
Yellow Rose Tea Room, but it hasn't amounted to much.25
25 Personal interview.

In indicating what has happened to the previously all-Negro
businesses, or occupations over which Negroes had a monopoly,
another resident says:

The cleaning and pressing business used to be all colored and
now that's white. The shoe shine was all colored until an old
Creek, Gus Russell, came here and built up a cleaning and press-
ing and hat-blocking business from a shoe shine parlor. I guess
that was over 50 years ago because it was when I was small and
I am 5S now. There were a number of Negroes who had stalls in
the old city market there where Montgomery Ward's is now.
At one time the Carolina Power and Light Co. employed Negroes
to do almost all their work, now they have only a few and all they
do is the heavy work.26

ehe manner in which the Negro began to lose his monopoly
over the shoe shine, cleaning and pressing businesses illustrates
how certain socio-cultural forces have influenced the develop-
ment of Negro business. Such ethnic groups as Jews and Greeks
seem to have frequently gained control over businesses and occu-
pations that were formerly engaged in primarily by Negroes. Oc-
cupational displacement of native groups by newcomer ethnic
groups has been a familiar pattern in urban America, as has the
entrance of many ethnic groups into occupations and businesses
considered non-competitive with whites. Since many Negro busi-
nesses have been types in which native whites have had little in-
terest, it is readily understandable how the small, independent,
inadequately stocked, underdeveloped business of Negroes have
often been displaced by business operated by ethnic groups. Such
displacement is perhaps even more prevalent in the Southern com-
munity where industry is lacking and the number of ethnic per-
sons insufficient to support a separate ethnic world based upon
business that caters to in-group patronage. Being apparently
motivated by economic rather than ethnic or racial factors, and
portraying business insight relative to the location and nature of
business to undertake for such, has no doubt influenced the de-
velopment of business operated by ethnic groups and, in turn,
displaced many businesses operated by Negroes.
Negro history is most often replete with the usual, common-
place, ordinary, or customary pursuits of Negroes within economic
"'; Personal interview.

realms. But Negro Main Street history carries much that is un-
usual as well-unusual in that they were businesses or occupa-
tions that Negroes were entering for the first time. A few cases
in point may suffice to illustrate this. For example, John E. Wil-
liams served as clerk of the Superior Court from 1SS1 to 18SS5,
and his son remarked of his position:

C. D. Upchurch was director of the court and he put daddy in
there as clerk, he was right there in the office with the whites.
Whites were nice to colored in those days. I used to have to carry
daddy's lunch to him when court was going on. They had colored
policemen when I was a child, put them in after the Civil War
the same way my daddy was made clerk of the court-somebody
who knew you just asked you to serve.27

\During the same period a woman ventured into an old "male
business," but a new business for females. In 18S3 she was barber-
ing and in 1S96 she was dressing hair. Her shop, listed in the
City Directory as Sarah Collins, eventually became the leading
barber shop for Negroes under management of her husband
whom she taught to barber before giving up the trade herself.
The unusualness of this venture as indicative of the role and status
of women is noticed in the statement below:

Sarah Collins was my uncle's \wife. She was a barber and taught
her husband how to barber. Don't know how she learned the
trade so early but she did, and after her husband learned the
trade, well, she faded out of the picture and left the shop to him.
At first she worked in there right along with him but later she
became just a housewife and dropped out of the business. Not
man\' women were ever on the street. Only two or three, aside
from the three oldest beauticians of the city who have contin-
uously had their places there, operated,businesses there and not
many women were seen walking up and down the street as cas-
ually as the men. Of course they would come through on Sunday
or some time like that just to get the approval of the men. Mrs. T.
operated a tea room there, but few Negroes have had thriving
cafes there anyway. The man who has the New York Cafe
turned it into a white caf6 and lost money, so he went back to
feeding Negroes."-
27 Personal interview.
Personal interview.

Two of the persons who belonged to the group in unusual busi-
nesses earned titles of colonel and captain in the Spanish Ameri-
can War. After the war they went into businesses that still bear
the imprint of their names. One of these, Colonel James Young,
became "the" Negro politician of the day, aside from working at
the undertaking business and having a clerkship and office in the
post office. The other person, Captain Hamlin, opened saloon,
billiard, cafe, and drug store businesses, but also worked as clerk
in the post office.
Another unusual type of venture was Hoover's Cash Depart-
ment Store, no similar business having developed among Negroes
since the store closed. Operation of this store from its inception to
the retirement of its owner at age 75 was most intricately inter-
woven into the conscious formation and functioning of a Negro
Main Street. Unlike many other businesses already described, this
one survived long enough for both old and new generations to re-
member it. Its struggle for survival is depicted thus:

When he (my father) was in the department store my mother
worked there right along beside him and so did we, my sister and
I, even though we were small. We worked after school and all
day on Saturday. In those days we had to compete with the Jews
on Wilmington Street. The stores opened at 7 in the morning
and stayed open until 7 in the evening. Some of the Jews were
selling the same things we were. The stores on Wilmington St.
stayed open on Saturday until 12 o'clock at night, but the Fayette-
ville St. stores didn't. The Wilmington St. stores didn't belong to
anything like a merchants bureau, so they could control their
own hours. When you really made your money was after the
Fayetteville St. stores closed. The Jews sold ready-to-wear and
piece goods too, had it behind a dark counter. In those days, you
know, the stores had these long counters with stools in front of
them and rows and rows of shelves behind them. You could sit
on the stools and pick out your goods from where you sat ..
Our customers were both white and colored. About half of the
patronage came from the country. The farmers didn't raise much
tobacco. Cotton was their real crop and when they'd sell cotton
they'd come in and buy bolts of material, especially unbleached
muslin, to make clothes for the whole family. Families were
large then, there were no automobiles, boys and girls stayed on
the farm, so when the family came to buy this made a large num-
ber of persons to buy for. And on Saturday they would come and

bring their lunches and sit around and eat and nurse babies right
in the store.9
One of the customers of this store accounts for its long life in
terms of the owner's personal reputation and social participation.
He notes that,

Hoover's store prospered because it was independently owned.
When he opened his dry goods store he was outstanding in the
community. He was well known among the lower classes and
country people because he used to run a bar and they patron-
ized him. Then too, he had served in the legislature andbuilt up
quite a reputation, so he had his own following of customers.
Then again, Hoover's store was on Back St. and most Negroes, ex-
cept for teachers and a few others, had to buy on Back St .. .
the truth is that Front St. stores didn't care to wait on Negroes.
You could go in for something and a man could be doing noth-
ing but talking to a friend and you'd have to wait until he stopped
talking before he'd wait on you.S3
Negroes had long been shoemakers but before the opening of
Turner's Shoe Store they had not been sellers of brand-named
shoes made by large firms. This unusual venture had also a
unique history, as told in the following account:

The shoe store my father had on Hargett St. belonged to John T.
Turner, Brittan Pearce and Berry O'Kelley . The store was
organized around 1907 or a little earlier. I was a boy at the time.
I took over after my father died and ran the store until 1931. The
depression caught me. My father was a tight business man, didn't
have more than $200-$300 credit on the books when he died, but
when I ended up I had $7,000-$S,000 on the books. I went in with
the big idea of building up a huge business and let all kinds of
people have credit and couldn't collect. I was too soft; daddy was
a success but I wasn't. It took a lot of money to open up that type
of business because you had to deal with shoe companies and
they wanted thousands of dollars at one time. We carried the
American Gentleman and Lady's Shoe, made by Hamilton-Brown
Co. of St. Louis-the very best. Guess that's one of the reasons
Negroes didn't go into this business more-too much money. Ve
would have had a really big business today if the depression
hadn't caught me because we were doing well. Had a few white
29 Personal interview.
3a Personal interview.

customers but most were Negroes. Other Negro businesses too
had white customers, except eating places. Whites have always
used Hargett St. as far back as I can remember . I got a
chance to sell the business and sold to a Jew, needed the money
and at that time Jews came through buying up all the stock they
could get, probably sold it to some big firm. It's too bad I could t
have staved on in business because that was the only one of its
kind in the South at that time.3'

The history of Negro business is, moreover, the history of a
privileged few operating several businesses simultaneously, ven-
tiring into something new when failure beset previous undertak-
ings, making the business a family affair, and receiving financial
support from whites. The constancy of this pattern shows in one
man's operation of "Peoples Drug Store" and the "Ideal Caf6" as
concurrent but separate businesses; in another's shift from huck-
ster to saloon keeper, to department store operator, as well as
alderman and legislator; in the upgrading of one person from
groceryman to preacher to school principal, and of another from
barber to dentist; in one man's simultaneous shoe store and un-
dertaking business participation; and in instances where the sons
operate barber shop, and shoe store businesses through the second
and third generations.
But these were the patterns of earlier generations whose fathers
were white and aided them in getting established in business, for
early Negro business and businessmen seemed always to be
backed with finance from whites. Of such widespread knowl-
edge is this in the community that references are often made to
particular individuals and families and the means by which they
gained their financial backing as well as occupational status.
Some of the statements which attest to this are given below:

C. Y. worked in the post office under lhis father. Of course his
father was white. He held a clerkship office.
J. W.'s father couldn't do all he wanted to for him legally, so he
called him one day and gave him a locked suitcase and told him
it was not to be opened until after he was dead. When the old
man died and the son opened the suitcase it was packed full of
paper money. Naturally the old man was white.
The Mh. boys were fairly well off at one time. They owned the
31 Personal interview.

building where Western Union used to be. It was given to them
by their father who was white. The boys were fair-complected.
They sold the building and left town, but wouldn't sell it to
Business, education, family ties, and financial support are all
intricately interrelated and overtly manifest in one of the most
frequently cited case histories in the community, a part of which
is summarized below:
The Fraps Building was owned by the Ls, that's where they had
the drug store on the front and upstairs was office space. When
the drug store was moved to Davie and Blount the building was
carried down and put on the property the Ls owned there. It was
the same building on a different spot. The Ls owned a lot of
property anyway because their white father left a lot to them.
He had sent them to school and set them up in business. He was
a L. Actually the children were Cs, that was the mother's name,
but all of them went in the name of L. Old man L thought more
of his nigger children than his white. He came from Chatham
County, that's where he met the C woman and brought her to
Raleigh. He never married her but took care of her and the chil-
dren. Many is the time I've seen him ride by on a hot day and
see his daughter, the L boys' sister, walking and pick her up and
take her home. qWhen she married Dr. C, I was one of the par-
ticipants, right around in the house where the YMICA is now, and
old man L was sitting right there beside Ml's mother when she got
married. It looked funny but nobody thought anything about it
because everybody knew the situation. When J.L. died a lawyer
who was handling his business told me he was worth $37,500 on
the books, that's 3 actual value; it would be more than that now.
J was the oldest and he was in charge of everything, was admin-
istrator of the old man's property even over his white children.
He included his brother T in on everything he did. NI and E got
their shares too, but E never did do much. he was just a man-
about-town, while J and T were both druggists.3
Though this was the pattern of an earlier generation, it must
not be assumed that all such practices are past history. Many
survivals of personal Negro-white relations in business are a part
of contemporary history of business as well, a very able descrip-
tion of which follows:
32 Personal intend views.
Personal interview.

SNegroes used to do well in many businesses here cause they had
white fathers. D.S. used to have a taxi stand on Hargett but
Closed it and went into another business, and now he's operating
a filling station . a white man owns it but he nins it. He'll al-
ways make it because he's a mixed breed. White people help the
Smixed breed more, even put them up in business. When I came to
'Palcigh 49 years ago the city was full of half-white folks. Most of
them are dead now. The insurance agents, salesmen, and other
such folk used to go to these colored folks' houses sometimes
early in the morning to collect. They came and went right in the
bedrooms or anywhere in the house. You got a lot of crossing then
until the young Negroes got mad and started shooting, cutting
and fighting about their women. That broke it up. Even so, some
still go with white men. In these businesses where you see colored
girls working and the boss is white she has to be dishwasher,
food server and concubine. The cafes are especially like this. I
know one woman who worked in the caf6 there on Hargett St.,
the one for colored run by whites, and she handled all the money
and was being paid well. The man began making passes at her
and she asked him what he was going to pay her to be his concu-
bine. She told him he hired her to do the dishes and serve food
but she'd pull off her apron if he wanted a concubine, only thing
she had to know was how much he was going to pay. She didn't
stay there but two weeks. Her husband took her away. Even the
policemen talked about getting the man, and I told them there
was no need for that, that even policemen get killed sometimes."

Where Negro-operated business caters to a white clientele,
that which may otherwise be considered non-respectable is often
appreciably dignified and made respectable through cultural
acceptance. Insight into this type of behavioral tendency shows
up in the excerpt which follows:

The whites had a red-light district on one side of the street there
where Crosby-Garfield is, and the colored had theirs as close to
them as they could get, the reason being they could get more
money out of white men. It was absolutely no secret about Ne-
groes and whites being blood kin. Everybody knew old man L was
the L boys' dad, and Judge WV stood by J the same way. And of
course the mothers of these children are always provided for. I
told a white friend of mine recently, as much a friend as you can
say a white man is for a white man isn't a real friend-he'll eat
31 Personal interview.


i anyway, \ve were discussing integration and he said he was afraid
of it. I told him the reason he was afraid was that they'd been
crossing the back fence so long, now it looks like we are going to
open the front door and walk in.35

(While this type of pattern and attitude have pervaded and af-
fected the development of Negro business from an historical
standpoint, their influence on Negro Main Street business in
Raleigh has been more indirect than direct. That is, the overtly
non-respectable types of businesses, such as prostitution, have
never flourished on the street, and yet, Negro women as para-
mours of white employers inside the respectable businesses oper-
ated on the street is a pattern that does exist there. The latter,
however, becomes a highly personal and individual matter operat-
ing in many respects similar to the personal relationships that
existed between Negroes and their white relatives.
(But securing aid from white relatives or employers has in-
cluded more than financial assistance for establishing legitimate
business or gaining patronage for the illegitimate. Ofttimes it has
meant getting help in buying property or extending civil rights
and getting protection for the entire minority group. When, for
example, Negroes tried to purchase the Odd Fellows Building,
the first owned by and used for Negro business operations on the
main street, the purchase was made by a white man. As one
elderly resident cited the situation, "They wouldn't sell it to Ne-
groes so a white man bought it and turned it over to them." Sim-
ilar tactics were used to make public transportation facilities
available to Negroes and thus extend the marketing and con-
sumer area of the community. Such extension and interdepend-
ence of racial groups, based upon personal relationships, is evi-
denced in the statement below:

B. O. started Negroes riding buses around here, that is, inter-city
buses. They used to not let colored ride and the people in M had
no way to get into Raleigh or any other place. All they had at that
time was the train, and if you went from one place to another you
had to ride the train. B.O. went to buy a bus ticket and they
wouldn't sell it to him, so he got a white person to buy it for him,
probably one of the Ts cause he was kin to the Ts anyway. They
35 Personal interview.


bought the ticket, he took it and got on the bus and they put him
off and he started a lawsuit from that. He was vice president of
the bank and owned a lot of real estate in Raleigh but had his
biggest business at M.36
jiAnother factor in the evolution of Negro business mirrored
trough the main street has been the shift from businessmen as
figureheads or fronts for white business to actual managers and
owners of their own businesses. The principal businesses in which
figurehead statuses were originally most noticeable were under-
taking and the practice of law. Although one of the leading un-
dertaking establishments never had to make the shift from front
to real, in its origin and development it was beset with competi-
tion from without and conflict from within, the opportune factor
which prompted establishment of a second funeral parlor by an-
other group. The person credited with the founding of the second
funeral establishment started as a front but laid the foundation
for one of the most substantial businesses of the community. Part
of the history of these institutions is related in the excerpts which

When I opened my funeral parlor the whites had all the funeral
business. Big fellows like O'K worked against me. They were
heads of lodges and controlled the lodge folk. The laws said
when someone died to call the head knocker, etc. and the whites
were paying these colored to get the business. I had all that to
fight . In the undertaking business whites used everything
second-hand for Negroes. They used to use mules for Negroes'
funerals instead of horses, and second-hand hearses when auto-
mobiles came. When I took all the Negro trade one white man
was catering to the best colored and the po' whites. I didn't want
whites, never buried but a few whites in my life. The whites put
two businesses into operation for colored. H's still exists because
C. J.Y. was the head of it. When the whites started fighting each
other, one undertaker stopped burying Negroes and the others
had to do the same or lose white trade. Now colored bury all the
Regarding the second establishment this account is given:
The Raleigh Funeral Home was organized by Jim Young (called
Colonel). It started out with ten stockholders, knew them all at
16 Personal interview.
37 Personal interview.

one time but have forgotten now who many of them were. The
main ones were Jim Young, John Turner, and Maurice Watts (Dr.
Watts's father). Before this Col. Young worked for Brown, a white
undertaker, by getting Negro bodies for Brown and Brown giv-
ing him a commission. Another man, Strickland, was burying all
the country Negroes and poor white folks. Brown buried the big
Negroes, the Masons, Odd Fellows, etc. Then these ten men
formed a company, Brown was behind it, by getting the head
of the Masons, head of the Odd Fellows, and one man from each
of the larger churches to form the company. When they got ready
for a funeral Brown would send down a hearse and everything
they needed. Negroes soon found a white man was behind it ...
D. H. went to embalming school, came and worked with the busi-
ness and finally got control of it after Young's death. They went
into it to run -- out of business, went all over town saying they
were going to run -- out .. the main thing was they hated to
see an outsider come to town and make good."
Daddy was in the funeral business at the same time he was run-
ning the shoe store. By this time D was coming up and they
hired him to work there, and two others of us were there too. I
took daddy's place when he died, got all his stock. The other
fellow and I weren't interested in the business and it started go-
ing down. I just wasn't interested, but that's the business I should
have gone into. Since then I've seen my mistake, but at that time
I just had no interest in the business and the other fellow didn't
either. D was smart, he saw what was happening and how he
could get control of the entire business so he just stuck around
and worked and kept his mouth shut. The other fellow said to
me, 'I'm going to sell him my stock,' and I said, 'if he can take the
business and make anything out of it he is welcome to it'; and
that's how he walked into the business. Not many people know
what really happened, but that's how he got it.39

While the number of Negro lawyers in the community has been
rather small, traits of the practicing lawyer and community
attitudes toward him have undergone as many changes as in the
case of the undertaker. Most often the early lawyer was either a
front for some white firm or a figurehead attorney and an actual
common laborer. Views of three residents given below are in
agreement about such situations.

3s Personal interview.
3" Personal interview.

We have more lawyers now who actually practice. In the earlier
days the lawyers ran for white lawyers, you'd hire a Negro and
when time came to pay you had to pay a white lawyer, come to
find out he was working for the white man. They didn't have
confidence in themselves earlier, but now they are actually prac-
ticing and doing well; only one runs for whites.
The colored have been sold out so much by colored lawyers that
they didn't have much faith in the colored lawyers. D. P. Lane
(Dr. Lane's grandfather) was a lawyer, and he worked for Mon-
tague. Montage made his money out of loans to Negroes, and
Lane was the one who negotiated the colored loans and lent to
Negroes for Montague, and now no colored can even rent in the
Montague Building right in the midst of colored business.
A lawyer has never been successful here. The only successful one
was Johnson and he made his out of real estate. He had about a
hundred houses, was teaching law at Shaw, and had an office in
the post office. He was the wealthiest man in the state. Negroes
had no faith in a Negro lawyer, thought a white juror would
always be swayed by a white lawyer. That has changed in the
last 30 years. We've had several lawyers but they made their liv-
ing out of pressing clubs and the like.40

The history of Negro business reveals again the manner in
which numerous individuals have become successful business
men independently of aforementioned factors. While some are
better trained for their work today than previously, many are still
untrained and uneducated but are rated in the community as
successful businessmen. Success in this instance is measured by
type, size, and permanency of the business, in addition to living
conditions. The key to this success is most often the kinds of fac-
tors indicated in the excerpt which follows:

In many of the Negro businesses the wives are the brains behind
the business. The men have built the business up but have no
education; they have some business sense but can't do the neces-
sary things when it comes to records and bills and that type of
thing. . E. S. can't read or write unless he learned recently.
His wife does all the finger work. When he gets a bill he has to
pay he just lays it aside until his wife goes over it and tells him
about it. When his men come in at night to check in they give
him their envelopes and if she isn't there he lays them aside, each
o1 Personal interview.

one to itself just like you'd do a bank book until she comes and
checks them. He can remember who gave him which envelope but
he can't do anything about it. She does all his secretarial work.
She herself is a school teacher. Yet he has run a -- business for
some 30 years. That's what most of these nigger men do, hire
them secretaries who can do the finger work. B -- is the same
way with his -- business. And E-F's just as bad with his --
business. But that's more than the younger men will do. All they
want to do is gamble and have a good time, while the older ones
have felt that they had to build up some kind of business."

(Equally as influential in the history of Negro business and its
main street development have been attempts to form corporate
businesses whose failure rates have far exceeded those of in-
dividually-owned businesses. One of the oldest in this group was
the Peoples Savings Bank, incorporated 1909 with the corpora-
tors B. O'Kelley, J. H. Love, T. L. Love, L. B. Capehart, Brittan
Pearce, C. A. Edwards, J. E. Hamlin, Walter Harris, A. W.
Pegues and C. W. Hoover, but which never functioned." Others
included in this list were the Progressive Real Estate Co., in op-
eration from 1913 to 1928; Capital Building and Loan Associa-
tion, 1922-31; The Independent, a newspaper, 1917-22; the Orgen
Printing Press, whose camouflaged name spells Negro backwards
and whose original operators still boast of the fact that many
whites did not know they were buying a Negro paper; the short-
lived Business League, organized in 1921; Fidelity Clothing Shop,
existing from 1924 to 1932. All of these were Negro Main Street
businesses, and their short periods in operation demonstrate the
lack of long-lived group ventures among Negroes. Invariably it
was some of the same group of business-conscious men who
started each of these businesses, and invariably lack of coopera-
tion, inadequate techniques of operation, internal strife, and "get-
rich-quick" methods ended them. A leading resident says of one
of these businesses,

The Progressive Real Estate Co. lost out from bad management.
L.C., J.E., C.W., L,, and old man L, and some others were all
in it. I did some building for them. Of course they were all tak-
ing cuts here and there where they could, like getting enough
I" Personal interview.
Private Laws of North Carolina, 1909, Chapter 223.

lumber to sell some or build something for themselves ,when they
went on a job. WV -- has been the only one in the bunch who has
been in on all the business started but didn't have sense enough
to get anything for himself. All the others got their share.43

The lack of cooperation among business men and between busi-
ness operators and consumers is seen as an outstanding hindrance
to the growth of business, borne out by these statements:

In 1921 Lightner, Edwards and I started a league to promote
business among Negroes. People complained that we tried to run
everything, so we bowed out and Negro business didn't really
show its head again until the bank came in 1923.
Another thing about Raleigh Negroes is that they haven't done
any business on a cooperative basis, that is, in any kind of busi-
ness association. Individually they do very well but won't work
together in any way. A man'll put up a store and improve it the
way he wants to and make good, but when you ask him to join
a business organization he won't do it.
6The chief attempt at organization among Negroes was the Co-op
store. That really could have been a thriving business but it
failed, and the main reason it failed was lack of Negro patron-
age. We had over a thousand stockholders and couldn't get 500
of them to patronize the store. WVe didn't put in any second-grade
meats because we knew Negroes would say we had inferior goods,
from the beginning we tried to offset that argument. But Negroes
still didn't patronize us. There was an Alec White who was
butcher at Cox's market, and he was supposed to be very good.
The Negroes kept saying we ought to have a butcher like Alec
White, so I went to the board and finally convinced them that we
ought to hire Alec White and see if that would get the patronage.
Ve brought him to butcher at the store but the Negroes still
didn't come there. Finally we were told that we didn't have a
butcher we had a meat cutter. Alec White had butchered at the
white store but became just a meat cutter when he came to us.
One day I met a fellow who was a stockholder and he said to me,
'Don't you all mess up my money down there at the Co-op.' I
asked him did he belong to it and he said yes. Then I said, 'Don't
you ever buy any groceries?' and he said, 'Yes, I buy at the
A & P.' I told him I had never seen him in the Co-op store and
he said, 'I've never been in it but I got a hundred dollars worth of
1a Personal interview.

stock in it.' We tried one time taking the names of all the people
who came there to buy, asked them to just write their name and
address, and the Negroes got insulted and said they'd never come
back again. What we were trying to do was get a list of all the stock-
holders who bought there, but the Negroes swore we were insult-
ing them, that they didn't have to do that anywhere else and they
weren't going to do it for us. I have often thought about the situa-
tion at the Co-op and wondered what else we might have done to
make a go of the place. I'm convinced now that what the Negroes
really want is a white man; best way to prove that is look at the
thriving business the store does now with this white man as owner.
I'm not so sure but what the thing for us to have done was hire a
white man to run the store. Negroes just prefer the white man it
seems. The group that patronized us the least was the intelligent,
upper-class Negroes-the school teachers. I lost a lot of money in
the store and several others did too . but I don't regret the
money I lost. We tried to offer jobs to Negroes, and the very folks
who were teaching our boys and girls to be clerks, etc. wouldn't
send us a single person to work. I don't regret what I lost because
I wanted to convince myself that Negroes could do the job as
well as whites if given the same chance, and I found that they
can. The sad thing is that we haven't learned to patronize each -
other. We even made our prices a few cents cheaper than other
stores, trying to get patronage but it didn't work. We still have a
lot to learn. We aren't as ready as we think we are.
Take the real estate company Negroes used to have, it was doing
an excellent business. When old man L. was head of it, W., L.,
S., and several others turned a number of raw deals, then slipped
out and left old man L. holding the bag and he had to pay off
$10,000, but those are the things they don't tell."

The Fidelity Dress Shop, operated by one man but owned by a
group of stockholders, with many out-of-town customers who had
orders mailed or delivered to them, offers another illustration of
how failure seized business beset with mismanagement, etc. In
the words of a customer.

Take the clothing store MN -- F -- had there on Hargett St.,
that could have been an excellent business but they started
wrong. A group of men controlled it: they'd go out and get
people to buy shares, saying they needed stock. Many people
took out shares but when they went to the store there wasn't any
stock and the money was gone, so nothing to even buy stock with.
Personal interview.

I know this for a fact . you see, they started wrong in the first
place. They went in there to profit off the country people, but they
started too late to fool the kind of people they were aiming at.
There are as many school teachers, for example, among the
country folk as there are among city folk proportionally speak-
ing, and many were already too far advanced to be fooled like
NI -- and those thought.5

Just as failure in many corporate forms of business has been an
influential factor in the development of Negro operated enter-
prise, so has individual ownership produced an impact thereon.
Individually-owned businesses have had life spans greater than i
corporate businesses for the most part. Even where businesses
have started out on a partnership basis their failure rates have
tended to surpass those individually owned, one of the major
factors in failure resting most frequently upon personal elements.
Personal aspirations have tended often to becloud business opera-
tions to the point of either forcing the closure of the business or
necessitating its continuance under individual management. Resi
dents of the community most often view business failure as pe -
sonal failure, the latter resulting from improper use of busine s
ethics as well as making the business a means to personal ends.
Quite illustrative in this instance has been the manner in which
conflict between partners in one of the most lucrative of Ne o
businesses, undertaking, forced a change in the structure of te
business and at the same time affected the personal relationship
and social expectations of the personalities involved. The specific
situation in this involvement has been explained thus:

L. tried to make all the money after he got started. One time he
and daddy had an undertaking business together. Before that L.
had one by himself but it was sorta shoddy. He was burying peo-
ple for nothing practically. He asked daddy to go in with him
because daddy was a society man and that would help him. At
that time daddy was the head of a society called the Raleigh
Union. ... It was kind of an insurance-like that paid $115 when
one died and taxed each member 15e when one got sick. The
members came and looked after you. Daddy was a good business
man but had no training. He arranged for L. to get the $100 out
of the $115 the society paid when a member died; he thought the
$15 ought to be given to the family to help pay for medicines
and the like. This was a big jump over what L. had been getting,
45 Personal interview.

far as to take food, furniture, and anything a family had if they
couldn't pay for a burial. So he and daddy fell out. Daddy saw
he wasn't going to do right, so he pulled out and went into an-
other funeral business, the one D. has now. L. has never had
much good luck since that, his business started going down until
he lost about all he had. Right now he has people rooming with
him that he would never have even thought of speaking to in
his heyday."

So significant have been personal elements in shaping the his-
tory of Negro business that residents never fail to trace many cur-
rent successes and failures of business back to specific individu-
als. The one person credited with contributing most toward the
development of the Negro Main Street and its businesses is also
blamed for its failures or shortcomings. Trends in business de-
velopment are almost invariably portrayed so as to reflect per-
sonal influences. One resident says, for example:

L. used to be the man-about-town, wore fine clothes every day
and stayed dressed up; reared his children like they were rich;
had one building paid for when he mortgaged it for another and
that's when he began to lose out because he finally lost both of
them. It don't pay to live above your means. Now his house is
about to fall down on him in the inside, and he has just about
anybody rooming with him, drunkards and everybody else. Look
at what he could have had if he hadn't lost his farm out where
this new development is now. . Some of these Negroes here
have made some money in business, of course they used trickery,
etc., but most of them lost what they made. Dr. C. carried the
lodge under for $47,000 when he was grand master and never
made a dime of it good. He had all that fine home, nice building,
and a lot of property, but when he died had sold his home even
and was living right behind it in a small house. It just don't pay
to do people %wrong, you can make the money but you can't keep

It must not be assumed, however, that all of the personal fac-
tors which affected the survival of business came from within the
business structure itself, for many of them had origins in racial or
"4 Personal interview.
47 Personal interview.

social forces that went beyond the realm of the economic. One
such factor was the credit squeeze. The credit squeeze is ofttimes
used by creditors as a means of controlling personal aspirations of
Negroes and keeping them within the limits of socially approved
behavior in a society where white dominance is a constant value.
Again this becomes evident in the tight squeeze placed upon a
leading Negro Main Street figure. A resident describes its use

L. could easily have been the richest man in the city. He used to
be able to borrow any amount of money he wanted, just walked
into a bank and said how much he wanted and got it. When he
built the L Building it cost him very little in comparison because
he used the material from the old post office that was being torn
down at the time. And after he did so well with that he thought
he could successfully do another. He paid $22,000 for the lot on
which he built the A--, and the building cost $100,000. He bor-
rowed this from Durham Life. He did all right until he let John
Love get him mixed up in politics. He ran for mayor of the city
and made the white folks mad, and after that he couldn't borrow
a dime. He had paid it down to $13,000, and a few days after he
ran for mayor Judge Winston (he had borrowed the money for
him) sent for him and told him his man wanted his money. He
only gave him a couple of weeks to get the $13,000, and after that
he couldn't borrow any more anywhere. I knew he was moving
too fast though. I was head of the Progressive Real Estate then
and I could see from what he did in that that he was going too
fast. He had an eye for business but undertook too many things
at one time. Letting John Love talk him into running for mayor
was his undoing.'"

While the person involved in this credit squeeze recognized the
potency of the same, he saw his individual aspirations as myth-
ological rather than real, and racial rather than personal. He says
of the situation,

One time Dr. M. T. Pope, Cheek, and I ran for mayor, commis-
sioner of safety, and commissioner of public works. There was
nothing real about this, we knew we wouldn't win, and even if
we had won we knew the whites wouldn't let us administer, but
we just wanted to wake our people up politically. That did stimu-

48 Personal interview.

late them to the point of voting. About all I lost was some

Just as whites put the credit squeeze on Negroes to restrict
their activities to non-competitive realms, at least non-competitive
with whites, so Negro businessmen used a counter squeeze on
other Negroes as a means of aiding the rapid growth of business.
Although the inter-racial credit squeeze produces an ultimate ef-
fect upon all social realms, it is sensed most keenly by the busi-
nessmen to whom it is applied. The intra-racial credit squeeze
on the other hand affects business and non-business groups alike.
A case in point is related by a resident thus:

We had a Building and Loan when I came here but those in it
couldn't work together. They had the capital and the borrowers,
but the Negroes handling it were class-conscious; they wouldn't
lend money to the lower classes but let a teacher or somebody
like that come to borrow and they had no trouble getting a loan,
and they are some of the worst people when it comes to paying
back . they charged exorbitant fees that not everybody could
afford to pay. In 1927, for example, I went to Mr. L., who was
the head of the Building and Loan, and asked to borrow $600 to
buy a house. He had to take it up with the board, but they ap-
proved and I was to pick it up at a certain time. When I went to
get it, he had signed the contract for 6 per cent interest and other
fees before, I had to go talk to him before I got it. Well, just be-
fore he handed it to me he asked me what was this money worth
to me, and I told him it was worth the 6 per cent interest. He
said, 'You know that's no money during these times, we have to
charge more or we wouldn't make anything.' I told him I had
signed the contract and agreed to pay what they had asked. He
said, 'No, this ought to be worth at least $100 to you and if it
isn't you can't get the loan.' Well, I paid the $100 extra be-
cause I figured I wasn't really losing anything. See, what I was
going to do was buy a house that another man had offered to sell
me. It had been appraised at $1,500.00 and that's what he wanted
for it, but I told him I couldn't pay that. The house remained
empty for a while and people kept breaking in it and stealing the
fixtures, so he wanted to sell it because he couldn't seem to rent
it. He kept on coming down on the price until one day he asked
me what would I give him for it and I said $600, and he told me
I could have it for $600 if I paid him the next day. That's why I
was so anxious to get the money then and figured I wasn't really
49 Personal interview.

losing anything, so paid the $100 extra, but after that I didn't fool
with them.s5

\Having thus posited the assumption at the outset that differ-
entiation of urban areas into segmentalized sub-areas is function-
ally related to the indigenous development of the specific areas
involved, a multiplicity of factors can be seen as influencing the
evolution of the Negro Main Street as a segmentalized urban sub-
area. The most essential of these factors have been the following:
1) Method of founding the community; 2) Location and structure
of specific areas, streets, and institutions; 3) Changing occupa-
tional and business alignments accompanied by shifting locational
patterns of key businesses; 4) Establishment of a fixed business
location via individual endeavor, competitive ventures, simul-
taneous and successive enterprise attempts, and personal assist-
ance of whites;\5) Shift from fictional to actual and successful
businessmen status; and 6) Effect of personal aspirations and
influences upon the impersonal modus operandi of business. We
may thus generalize at this point and state that the origin, loca-
tion, and growth of the Negro Main Street emanate from trends
in the ecological organization of business augmented by certain
culturally permissive factors within the supporting community.
One of the most totally permissive factors in Southern culture has
been discrimination. It is expedient to investigate the effect of
discrimination upon the formation and functioning of the Negro
TMain Street, the nucleus of the next chapter's discussion.
61 Personal interview.

Part III


Chapter 4


HAVING delineated the manner in which the Negro Main Street
assumed its general characterization as a specifically located busi-
ness street; having traced its genesis and growth as a mutually
dependent element in the evolution of business; and having noted
the manifold factors affecting the functional specificity of the
street, the question arises as to what motivational force may have
conditioned such formation, characterization, and functioning.
While the answer may appear obvious for a Southern community
in which the social dichotomy rests upon superordinate-subordi-
nate patterns in race relations, the particularized value of this
cultural force is far from being self-explanatory. The force itself
seems to have been discrimination, the social value of which was
most keenly sensed in the period 1SSO-1S90 even though the
ideological sanctions for it rested in the social arrangements that
functioned during slavery.
/l In defining discrimination as "the unequal treatment of equals,
either by the bestowal of favors or the imposition of burdens,"
Hankins indicates that discrimination permits prejudices, or dif-
ferential emotional reactions towards individuals, to operate; that
it alters the competitive power of those presumed to possess a
freely competitive status; and that a social group uses discrimina-
tion against opposed groups or individuals in an effort to main-
tain itself or achieve its purposes.' In the society discussed here
two larger social groups are involved, Negroes and whites, but
it is the latter whose discriminatory policies are so directed against
the former as to aid the promotion of a separate, non-competitive
business world in which Negroes cease to threaten the status of
whites. Nor did this spring into being at once as a culturally per-
missive social value. It is instead the result of a series of develop-
ments in which status distinctions have been sharpened by the
stages through which discriminatory usages have passed.
Status distinctions in North Carolina, even prior to the Civil
War, were somewhat different from those in the majority of
I Frank H. Hankins, "Social Discrimination," Encyclopcdia of Social
Science, Vol. XIV.

Southern states. In 183S Judge Caston rendered a decision de-
claring North Carolina inhabitants to consist of two classes, citi-
zens and aliens, with slaves forming part of the alien class and
free persons of color helping to make up the citizens class.2
Emancipation of the slaves conferred citizenship status on large
numbers of persons formerly classed as aliens, but instead of mak-
ing for equality between status groups it led to more limitations
on the rights and liberties of the new classes of citizens and
sharpened the lines of distinction between Negroes and whites.
Old laws affecting Negroes were repealed and new ones enacted;
new definitions for Negroes were developed, making a "person of
color" any Negro and his issue to the fourth generation, even
when one parent was white in each generation; and a double
standard of racial morality was enforced by revising criminal laws
and making assault with intent to commit rape upon a white
woman a capital offense only if committed by a person of color,
otherwise an aggravated assault-punishable by fine and im-
prisonment.3 The push for white supremacy became uppermost.
The force of law was applied to the customary separation of
Negroes and whites in public conveyances, and cries went up
from the Ncts and Observer charging that the presence of Ne-
groes in public office was "Negroizing Raleigh." '
Thus, by the end of the nineteenth century so intent had one
social group become upon subjugating the other that the Negro
was without his franchise, had lost his former protection from
Northerners, labored under unequal economic opportunities, and
had to live by a racial etiquette that set him aside as a subordi-
nate caste. Nleanwhile, however, aided by the Freedmen's Bureau
and Northern whites who saw the economic salvation of the Negro
as residing in education, the Negro made advances in education
that later proved to be one of the mainsprings of Negro main
streett business. The oldest Negro college of the South had been
founded in Raleigh in 1865 by Henry Martin Tupper, a chaplain
in the Union Army. Acquiring its present site in 1870, and in-
corporating under the name of Shaw University in 1875, the
school became one of the most potent community influences in
2 J. G. DeRoulhac Hamilton, Reconstruction in North Carolina (New
York: Columbia University, 1914), p. 152.
3 Ibid., pp. 153-4.
'Hugh T. Lefler, History of North Carolina (New York: Lewis Historical
Publishing Co., 1956), Vol. 11, p. 691.

the development of the pseudo-separate economy of Negroes.
Practically all of the early professional men at work in the com-
munity received their training at this school. Many came from
communities scattered throughout the nation just to go to school
and took permanent residence there afterwards. The first class
was graduated by the school in 1878. The first class in medicine
came out in 1886; the first in law, 1890; and the first in pharmacy,
1893.5 Outlining the progress of the Raleigh community in 1899
the News and Observer stated:

Raleigh may well be termed the Athens of North Carolina for
she has in her borders more of the state's educational institutions
than any other city. Prominent among these is Shaw University,
established for the education of the colored race. Her students
have become prominent in the ministry, law, pharmacy and medi-
cine and in the Third North Carolina Regiment of the United
States Infantry called out during the Spanish-American conflict
the following Shaw men are found: Colonel James H. Young,
Adjutant E. E. Smith, Chief Surgeon J. E. Dellinger, Assistant
Surgeons Nl. T. Pope and W. W. Alston, Captains J. J. Hood and
J. T. York.6

Along with the educational factor and its relative influence on
the development of business institutions of the community must
be mentioned another type of pertinent force, the political.
Though of shorter duration, it more immediately affected the
total social world, not just the Negro, and was perhaps for that
reason more circumscribed. The inadequacy of Negroes in polit-
ical realms during Reconstruction is most often proffered as suf-
ficient reason for the differential treatment of, or discrimination
toward, Negroes. The fact that they were Negroes was frequently
enough to justify the biases aimed at the Negro's political activi-
ties. In mentioning the Negro in politics in North Carolina, for
example, it is rarely noted that between 1895 and 1899 four of
the ten Negroes in the General Assembly had college degrees;
that two others had been to college and taught though they were
without degrees; that one had tw'o academic degrees, had founded
one school and been principal of two; that one was a lawyer; that
s M. W. Williams and George \\. Watkins, W'ho's \\'ho Among North
Carolina Negro Baptists, 1940, p. 44.
6News and Observer, Twentieth Century State Edition (Raleigh),
August 24, 1899.

one was owner and editor of a Raleigh newspaper; that one was
business manager of a newspaper; and that the majority of those
in the Legislature were not inexperienced politically, for they
had been political office holders prior to their election to the
Assembly.7 The more usual notation instead is reiterated under
the caption in the monumental Twentieth Century edition of the
News and Observer:
The Passing of the Negro in Politics
White Men Will Rule
The white people of North Carolina will never again submit to
Negro domination nor that the Negro shall rule the white man
in any part of this state. This was the decree of Nov. 8, 1899 ...

While the whites were busy developing discriminatory policies
around pleas for supremacy of whites and inferiority of Negroes,
Negroes erected a rationalized value system upon business and
services where whites were not desirous of competing with Ne-
groes, and hence less inclined to instigate sharp racial distinctions.
On the other hand, interracial group interests moved along a color
line that distinguished between Negro jobs and white jobs; that
made room for the employment of more white women and there-
by necessitated more racial segregation-the most overt manifesta-
tion of discrimination.
With laws passed to separate the races; with many citizens
pointing to the virtues of the old-issue Negro under the old social
system and the lack of these in the new-issue Negro; with Negro
leaders stressing work, thrift, and education as the means of solv-
ing the Negro's economic problems; and with the mounting num-
ber of professional Negroes in the community without free social
and economic opportunities, development of parallel institutions
in a separate social world was a necessary concomitant thereof.
Whether Negroes wished it or not, there was no mistaking the
intentional policies of 'whites in channelizing Negro interests into
a separate society, for at the Negro state fair held in Raleigh in
1901 the recently inaugurated governor of North Carolina,
Aycock, said in his address:

The law that separates you from the white people of the state
socially always has been and always will be inexorable, and it
7 Hugh T. Leflcr, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 690.

need not concern you or me whether the law is isolatedd else-
where. It will never be violated in the South. . We are willing
to give our energies and best thought to aid you in the great
work necessary to make you what you are capable of and to assist
you in that elevation of character and \irtue which tend to the
strengthening of the state. But to do this it is absolutely necessary
that the race should remain distinct and have a society of its

By the 1920's, when the Negro Main Street had become a fixed
social phenomenon in the culture, the color line was as rigid as it
had been in the ISSO's and 1S90's. The growing rigidity of caste
had heightened the social distance between Negroes and -whites
through expressions of discrimination in the form of segregation.
The major forms of racial segregation have been found by John-
son to embrace the following: 1) residential areas; 2) educational,
recreational, and other public institutions; 3) quasi-public or
privately operated institutions under public control, such as rail-
roads, streetcar and bus systems, and hospitals; 4) private busi-
ness establishments, such as hotels and restaurants; and 5) other
private commercial and professional services, such as department
stores, mortuary establishments, and doctors' offices. To this list
might be added a sixth form, the Negro Main Street, whose cul-
tural existence tends to be a result of discriminatory policies and
practices manifest in the preceding forms of segregation.
Although color line and segregative distinctions have cut across
all areas of social behavior, the areas in which discrimination has
had the most noticeable effect in producing separate or parallel
businesses and practices for Negroes are these: 1) Customer
treatment in downtown businesses; 2) Burying the dead; 3) Edu-
cational institutions; 4) Occupations and employment; 5) Render-
ing professional services; 6) Recreational facilities; 7) Using
public facilities; and S) Political activities and proceedings. De-
tailed analyses of each of these areas of discrimination and its
specific infuence on the development of the Negro Main Street
would necessitate a study devoted to this alone. Nor is it feasible
to discuss these separately with regard to the methods of dis-
crimination used in each. More pertinent here is the total effect
Archibald Henderson, North Carolina. The Old North State and the New
(Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co.. 19411 Vol. 11. pp. -440-41.
SCharles S. Johnson, Patterns of Negro Segregation (New York: Harper
and Brothers, 194:3).

discrimination has had on the formation and functioning of the
Negro Main Street, an understanding of which rests upon a
knowledge of how varied ciriminto techniques have been
used in the preceding areas. It is the latter factor hat claims our
attention at this point.
The techniques of discrimination which have appeared to pro-
duce the most profound effects on the Negro Main Street, as evi-
denced in the business institutions and services found there, can
be subsumed under five categories: 1) Custom; 2) Gentlemen's
agreements; 3) Institutional arrangements; 4) Private bequest
designations; and 5) Legal and political devices. These categori-
cal techniques of discrimination, used to implement the normative
patterns of behavior involving Negro-white relationships have
eventuated into what Linton designates as "a design for living."
The interracial "design for living" within the community has
been sustained primarily through custom, so appropriately de-
fined by Hertzler as the imperative folkways or culturally in-
herited usages with the rightness of time and weight of genera-
tions behind it.'1
Despite the moral and temporal sanctions which custom has be-
hind it, however, it has not always been sufficiently imperative to
accomplish the objectives of the society. Thus, the remaining dis-
criminatory techniques listed above have been used as com-
plementary devices in the reinforcement, and even legalizing, of
practices that have given form to the way of life of which the
Negro IMain Street is symbolic. Variation in the intensity with
which a particular discriminatory technique has been used to
implement a specific norm has been somewhat dependent upon
the stage of the segregation-discrimination cycle in vogue at the
time. Both factual and conceptual data give credence to the idea
of a cycle in race relations corresponding to changes in practices
of segregation and discrimination. The stages in this cycle can be
presumed to correspond to four periods, namely: 1) Fluctuating
lines of segregation but minimal discrimination; 2) Fixed lines of
segregation and heightened discrimination; 3) Persistent lines of
segregation but lessened discrimination; and 4) Sloping lines of
segregation and less-obvious discrimination. Chronological dates
for these may be arbitrarily approximated as follows: 1865-75;
1875-1910; 1910-1930's; 1930's to the present.
'o Joyce O. Hertzler, Society in Action (New York: Dryden Press, 1954),
p. 196.

The year 1865 is chosen as the point of origin for, when
emancipation was proclaimed that year to North Carolinians, the
status of the freedmen, a new social group, became an immediate
issue of concern. Shortly after the freedmen had been advised
not to congregate in towns a set of regulations was published for
governing them, while they themselves circulated a petition re-
questing equal rights with whites and established a newspaper
in Raleigh as their medium of expression." This wvas likewise the
period of Freedmen's Bureau operations in the community, of
the establishment of private and special schools for the Negro,
and of the organization of the Negro Baptist Church as a unit
separate from whites. Such segregated institutions, however, were
more the result of voluntary than forced action and relations be-
tween Negroes and whites remained rather amicable although a
specific connotation was placed upon the Negro's status and roles.
One writer summed up the situation thus:

Treatment of slaves in Raleigh was generally kindly and wise. No-
where was there a more agreeable feeling between the races. ..
Nowhere were there better cooks, seamstresses, housemaids,
mechanics and hostlers. When fires occurred the colored were al-
ways at hand and worked as hard, mounted as dangerous roofs,
and were as much singed by the scorching flames as the whites.
Throughout the war the colored were . true to their owners
and after its close neither the unbalancing effects of emancipa-
tion, nor the heated discussions incident to politics, introduced
any permanent ill-feeling between the races.12

Even Negroes themselves shared this feeling regarding the na-
ture of race relations at that time. At a convention of Negroes
held in Raleigh in 1865, one specifically designated as "not en-
gineered by whites," an address was adopted which stated:

Born upon the same soil and brought up in an intimacy of rela-
tionship unknown to any other state of society, we have formed
attachments for the white race which must be enduring as life,
and we can conceive of no reason that our Cod-bestowed free-
J. G. DeRoulhac Hamilton, op. cit., pp. 148-50.
12 Kemp P. Battle, "The Early History of Raleigh, The Capital City of
North Carolina," a Centennial Address. Oct. 18, 1892 (Raleigh: Edwards
and Broughton, 1893), pp. 73-4.

dom should now sever the kindly ties which have so long united
Ius . 13
The harmonious relations existing between the races after the
Civil War were still a part of the conceptualizations of many
residents of the community during the period 1875-1910. Sensi-
tive, however, to the many changes that occurred in relations in
the course of the era, their conceptions are likewise indicative of
the manner in which the fluctuating line of segregation and dis-
crimination assumed its fixity. So inclusive and far-reaching were
many of the changing policies and practices that older residents
have retained vivid images thereof. A few of their conceptions
are worthy of note in developing the imagery of the community
for that period. The original lack of segregation is envisaged by
one resident thus:

I was born in 1870 right there at 711 East St ... I began travel-
ing different places and working in 1893. There was no Jim Crow
on the train then, you could sit anywhere, no special cars for
colored . And when the city market was there where Montgom-
ery Ward's is the white and colored were in there selling right to-
gether. There wasn't any such thing as a separate colored section
in the market."

The influence of custom on the nature of race relations is recog-
nized by another resident as follows:

When I was a child living out here at Apex my father used to
bring me to Raleigh to the market, that's how I learned about
Shaw University and determined to come here to school, which I
did when I was 15 and have been here ever since. Finished Shaw
in 1S99. When we'd come to the market we would come one day
with a packed lunch enough to last until the next day when we'd
go back home, just fourteen miles away. We'd go to the camp
house there on Wilmington Street above where the Episcopal
Church is now and camp all night. This was one big room where
whites and colored sat all night and swapped jokes until day, then
went out to sell whatever they had brought to market, and the
next day we'd head for home . .5
11 Samuel A'Court Ashe, History of North Carolina (Raleigh: Edwards
and Broughton, 1925), Vol. 1I, p. 1027.
14 Personal interview.
15 Personal interview.

A resident born in the community in 1867 recalls how changes in
race relations began to develop:

The Legislature used to be half colored but as soon as whites got
in power they got the colored out. Colonel Young's name was in
the cornerstone at the Capitol until the Democrats got in power
and took it out. Fuller used to be in the Legislature and many
others. Negroes voted and put them in, but when whites got back
in power they challenged the colored vote on the grounds of
being able to read and write."'

The role of political forces, their extension to other areas of be-
havior, and their impact upon the production of a fixed line of
segregation are reviewed by another resident thus:

The most prominent Negro in early days was James H. Harris
who ran for the Legislature against Judge Fowle. That was in the
days before the automobile. The Judge got up in public and said
it made his blood boil to have a Negro running for such an office,
and what did he say that for? The Negroes voted and Harris won
over Fowle. The house I live in right now was bought from Judge
Fowle. Dr. Scruggs bought it. Colonel James Young ran for the
Legislature against Broughton and beat him. Hoover went to the
Legislature too. In those days Negroes voted. There wasn't any
feeling about Negroes then. I've seen those men up there in the
Legislature put their arms around Colonel Young and talk just
like he was one of them . During Reconstruction Negroes had
many privileges that whites took away just as soon as they got
into power. For ten years after the war slave owners couldn't vote
and Negroes could. Negroes ran the government until the states
signed back into the Union. Then 'whites began trying to put the
Negro back as close to slavery as they could. They passed a law
saying Negroes couldn't vote unless their fathers had voted in
1896, so naturally that cut Negroes out. . I can remember
when there was no segregation in drug stores and the like. You
used to be able to go in any drug store and get what you wanted
and sit down and eat it. There wasn't too much feeling then like

The co-existence of different forms of segregation along with pre-
sumed forms of racial equality is described thus:
6 Personal interview.
7 Personal interview.

The Roundstep Bank there where Walgreen's is used to have a
colored barber place down under it. And John Love had a drug
store on the corner of Fayetteville and Davie Streets. It had as
many white customers as colored. In fact, a lot of things were
mixed then. I used to belong to a mixed church when I was young
-the Congregational at the corner of South and Manley Streets.
... Well, we had a white pastor though the majority of the con-
gregation was colored. . I have never known any outright
mixed congregation in the churches, that is, so far as sitting to-
gether is concerned. Negroes went to white churches, but always
in the gallery. I wound up in the choir loft one time trying to get
to the gallery of a white church.'8

Changes in racial attitudes as related to changes in the use of
community facilities helped tighten the segregation line in this
resident's opinion:

In the earlier days there were no signs anywhere saying 'for
colored.' You could trade anywhere. A store or shop became
known by its name and people knew whose it was. In those days
whites thought as much of colored as they did of themselves.
Whites and Negroes lived in the same neighborhoods and in the
same blocks all mixed up together. If you saw a place you wanted
you just went on and bought it. The white school was up there
where the city Auditorium is now (was called the Centennial),
and the colored school was down in the next block where the Con-
gregational church is. I reckon things started changing and mak-
ing for more of this segregation business when whites and colored
got so the children started fighting. I remember that right on that
corer there by the Auditorium white and colored children used
to fight every evening after school, so then they started the
colored coming up on one side of the street and whites on the
other. I believe that's when a lot of these changes regarding
whites and Negroes began. When the dime stores opened up
white and colored both ate together at the counters, then they
started getting a lot of those rebel whites working in the stores
and that changed. They used to have nice restrooms in the stores
even, but later all they had for colored was old dirty places or
no places at all. Now there are only a few places with nice clean
places for colored. .."
The recency of changes effected in helping freeze the line of seg-
Personal interview.
'~ Personal interview.

regation is revealed in the comments of another resident who

. .This hasn't been more than 35 or 40 years ago that the Cen-
tennial School closed and whites started moving out of this Negro
area. I remember it because living right here my son couldn't
understand why he couldn't go to that school, and he couldn't
go to school at all until he was six years old.20

Such evidenced shifts in segregative policies persisted from
1910 to the 1930's, but discriminatory usages began to abate. Re-
duction in such usage was not apparent, however, until the 1930's
when circumstances of the ere.sign began to cause a de-
emphasis on the color of skin of customers. The persistence of
segregated institutions during this period is evidenced in the Ne-
groes erecting four new, and purchasing one old, of the seven
buildings they own on the Negro Main Street; in the city's provi-
sion of a park in the community and a library on the main street
for the exclusive use of Negroes; in the origin of two Negro news-
papers, originally published on the Main Street; in whites opening
on the street of a theater and a cafe for Negroes, both of which
still operate there; and in the fact that the Negro bank, also on
the Main Street, was one of the two banks of the city to remain
open during the years 1930-1933 while six others were closed.
Meanwhile, however, this period saw jobs once classified as
Negro transferred to whites, accounts of Negroes made welcome
in white-operated banks upon their reopening, credit accounts
permitted in stores where Negro patronage was previously un-
welcome, and Negro usage of professional services of whites dis-
couraged. Segregation and discrimination with regard to rest-
room and eating facilities remained equally rigid in the down-
town area during this period. However, this was less keenly felt
because of the facilities which Negroes themselves had provided
on the Main Street, then almost an absolute necessity for Negro
So imperceptibly were many less-obvious discriminatory policies
introduced that it is difficult to tell exactly when the present era
set in. Nevertheless, it is fairly certain that during the 1930's in-
stances in which Negroes were denied charge accounts at down-
town stores became fewer; Negro women being asked to cover
0o Personal interview.

their oily hair with newspaper or cloth before trying on hats be-
came a rarity; denial of the privilege of trying on clothes was
almost non-existent; and fewer and fewer evidences of these and
similar factors were noticeable in the 1940's. The 1950's witnessed
the instituting of a restroom "for colored women" on the main
floor of one downtown store; of unsegregated restrooms in an-
other downtown store; the supplying of linen service to Negro
barbers and beauticians and diaper service to Negro mothers;
serving Negroes in the same reading room with whites at the
State Library; the organization of interracial groups where indi-
vidual Negroes no longer are invited as representatives of all
Negroes but many may join; and the housing in offices with
whites of Negro personnel serving in educational capacities in the
State Prisons Department. And yet, discrimination continues but
along less direct lines. In one downtown store salesmen are still
advised against serving Negro customers who are not "well
dressed"; one bank still advises Negroes who wish to open small
accounts to take them to the Negro bank which specializes in
such; a few' sales people continue to refer to adult Negroes as
boys and girls; and Negroes-eatingwit_ whites in downtown
stores is stilprohibited-Insofar as these lines of segregation and
discrimination have been suggestive of "designs for living" in the
rban community of the South, they show influences not only
upon the formation of the Negro Xlain Street, but also upon its
ability to survive. And insofar as these "designs for living" have
been structured by discriminatory policies and practices, they
tend to function in a manner similar to "the persisting life activi-
ties" around which "every culture develops its institutional struc-
ture," as Lynd noted.21 From these functional areas of living
numerous status-fixing codes of behavior have crystallized into
culture norms. Among the norms emanating from interactions of
Negroes and whites relative to the status-fixing codes the follow-
ing have been most evident: 1) Outright denials; 2) Acceptance
with provisos; 3) Covert rejection; 4) Agreeable private arrange-
ments; 5) Overt attention to an unequal-status philosophy; and
6) Ambivalent racial-messiah attitudes. The implementation of
these culture norms has tended to rest upon the usage of the
several techniques of discrimination referred to earlier. Each of
these norms is portrayed here in order to show further the extent
21 Robert S. Lynd, Knowledge for What (Princeton University Press,
1939), p. 65.

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