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The Hayti Mural ties a community together from an amazing past to a
bright future. – Emily Weinstein

Emily Weinstein, Muralist and Project Director

The Black Wall Street Mural, is more than an architectual ornament.  Many came together to remember, preserve and rectify a great past.  In 1999, with grants and support from others in the community(a complete list below), the project at 201 E. Lakewood Avenue began. It took six months to configure and two months of full-time painting.  Emily Weinstein, David Wilson and other artists worked together and created a masterpiece.
The images dramatized by the artists, are real people, who lived in and served the Hayti community. It is obvious that the wall has been embraced with pride by the community, because to this day, it has not been defaced or damaged in any way other than the affects of time. The wall painting depicts a number of historical Hayti icons. The Biltmore Hotel was one of the first Black-owned hotels in the South, The Regal movie theater, St. Joseph’s Church is one of the few remaining monuments of old Hayti,  “N.C. College”, now North Carolina Central University, the first state-sponsored college for black students, and the N.C. Mutual Life building, The figures portrayed in the mural may not be nationally known, but are of great significance to people in the community.  It is important that we preserve this testimony to Hayti’s legacy and the beauty of a great community that once stood.


The most dominant figure on the mural, and first to be painted was Dr. James Shepard, founder of North Carolina Central University. North Carolina Central University went through several transitions as Shepard  lobbied the North Carolina General Assembly for support of college. Finally the college was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools as an “A” class institution in 1937.  In 1947, the General Assembly changed the name of the institution to North Carolina College at Durham.  Shortly after, on October 6, 1947, Shepard, the founder and president, died, and was succeeded in 1948 by Dr. Alfonso Elder.


The children on the wall represent the students from John Avery Boys Club and other youth from all over the community who participated in the project.  The number is said to be in excess of 200 youth with paint brushes, seen climbing on scaffolds, making their contribution to this historic effort.


Taxi drivers shown in the mural, parked along the street and shouted out suggestions and constructive criticism to the artists. Images were actually removed and re-painted based on suggestions by all the people who gathered around.  They insisted that the representation of their community be accurate and honor people who were important to the community as a whole.


The center-piece for the mural is the image of The Right Reverend Philip R. Cousin, Sr. And his wife Dr. M. Joan Cousin.  They are the parents of five sons, all serving as pastors in the AME Church.  As 250,000 people gathered in Grant park on election night to witness history being made by the then Senator Barack Obama, Dr. Cousin the 96th consecrated and elected bishop, offered the blessing on a new era. Bishop Cousin was elected the ninety-sixth bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1976. He was appointed Presiding Prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District at the recent 46th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference in July 2000.

Bishop Cousin has been a member of the National Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference since 1979; President of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA 1983-1988; Chairman of Church World Service Unit Committee of the NCCC; National Board member of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); President, Board of Incorporates, AME Church. He was a delegate to the 1968 National Democratic Convention; chosen to dialogue with Pope John Paul II in 1987; and was selected by Ebony as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans. His son, Reverend Philip Cousin, Jr.,  pastor of St. Joseph A.M.E. Church in Durham, NC. is a candidate for Episcopal Honors of the AME Church.  His church is on Fayetteville Street and was founded in 1869 by a former slave named Edian Markham. Rev. Cousin, Jr.,  has been involved in the civil rights struggle since he was a student at UNC-CH and was a Duke Divinity graduate student.  His wife is First Lady Angela Cousin.


Another dominant figure on the wall represents one of two women prophetess’ who prominantly wore nursing uniforms. One was known by people in the community as Mother Goldie Brown.  The other was Heavenly Light, who is said to have walked the streets of downtown Durham, prophesizing in her bare feet..


The last scene to be painted was a group of people on a porch.   Sitting on the steps, playing his guitar is John Dee Holeman, master blues man, and buck dancer.  His music was influenced by blues men such as Blind Boy Fuller, Reverend Gary Davis, Arthur Lyons, and Thomas Burt. The deep blues tradition created by these local musicians constitutes the roots of the music that John Dee and his long-time friend Fris Holloway play.  They are both an integral part of Durham’s history. The final image added to the mural was that of Billy Stevens,  a long-time friend of the late Durham legendary musician Brother Yusef Salim,  who is credited with almost single-handed transforming Durham and Hayti into a thriving, vibrant jazz community. From 1978 – 1981, Stevens and Brother Yusef owned and operated the only interracial entertainment venue in the community, the Salon Cultural Center, located in Durham’s West End. Billy Stevens is a musician, historian, lecturer who Stevens has presented his lecture/demonstration “The History of the Blues: the Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, in more than 40 countries including India, Kenya, Israel, and Palestine as well as in North and South Carolina.

The Old Hayti Community mural is located at: 401 E. Lakewood Ave., on Lakewood Ave. & Fayetteville St.


Major Funding

Mary Duke Biddle FOundation

Heritage Square Association

Durhan Arts Council City Arts GrantWinn Dixie Corporation

Duron Paints

Collaborating Non-profits

The Hayti Heritage Center/St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation

P.R.O.U.D. Program

City Of Durham Housing Authority

Durham Parks & Recreation



Alan Baltrus, Adams Products Co.

Lew Shealy, The Home Depot

Tom Hester, Duron Paint

Mike Kelly, Qualex, Inc.

Richard Russell

David W. Howard, D.D. May

Charlie De Garmo, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.


David Wilson

Mary Ellen Askermann


Willie Bigelow

Stickcarlo Darby

David Wilson

Sharon Barksdale Worth


Barbara Birkhead

Larissa Ruuskanen

Sarah Howe (Homeschooler)

Madeline Howe


Donna Dowse

Brian Fricks

Young Artists

Brian Alston

Dontay Coward

Mario Holman

Jonathan Lewis

Josh McDougald

Allen McGilberry

Emmanuel McGilberry

Tasha McGilberry

Screenings, Events, Shoot Schedule
  • Events are coming soon, stay tuned!

OUR MISSION is to document and explore the Black Experience from a local, regional, national and global perspective through education, the arts and humanities.

Our ultimate goal is to empower future generations with a spirit of entrepreneurship,community building and
cultural significance.