Marc Sumner Lee – A Man Who Loves Durham North Carolina
It is my great honor to join my longtime friend W. Calvin Anderson in his endeavor 2 Heads Are Better so we can collectively work to help others in Durham and the Triangle area of North Carolina who are dealing with public policy, educational, community, family and professional needs and various situations in a productive and efficient manner.
Here in Durham, as in the rest of the country, we are facing a crisis on several fronts – Economic Hardship, Class and Racial Divides, and of course the COVID19 Pandemic and related Public Health Crisis.
We are trying to find solutions and being part of “make a positive difference for people, governments and communities” in 2020-2021. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the late John Lewis, we are about networking positive information, peaceful direct social action which translates to making “Good Trouble”.
The St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation, Inc. (SJHF) founded in 1975, is deeply rooted in the historic Hayti community of Durham, North Carolina. The once thriving business and residential district was dubbed “Black Wall Street” by Booker T. Washington.
The Hayti Heritage Center opened in 1975 under the management of the SJHF. The Center is a cultural enrichment and arts education facility that promotes cultural understanding through diverse events, activities and programs that preserve the heritage and embrace the experiences of Americans of African descent.
The Foundation is committed to the Hayti Heritage Center, the former St. Joseph’s AME Church, a National Historic Landmark, as a cultural and economic anchor to the greater Durham community. St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit, charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
Hayti offers several core programs for youth and adults. These programs serve the broader community and align with our mission to preserve and advance the heritage and culture of historic Hayti and the African American experience through cultural arts and education programs.
The organization is committed to support the wealth of talented artists in the Triangle area through engagement and in other ways.
- Artist Exhibitions support rising and established artists works that are curated and presented quarterly with an opening reception of refreshments and live music. Artists are present and artwork is for sale
- Black History: Artists’ Perspectives is a multi-artist collaborative of paintings and sketches celebrating African American history. This popular exhibition represents the diversity of perspectives on our history as captured by our artists, most of whom are Durham residents and all of whom are immensely talented
- African American Quilt Circle is a collaborative of women whose original quilts are exhibited at Hayti every two years and who often meet at Hayti to work on their creations
- The Jambalaya Soul Poetry Slam Team under the leadership of educator, community activist and author Dasan Ahanu performs every third Saturday each month at Hayti. The team also competes locally, regionally and nationally
- The Heritage Music Series presents concerts quarterly. Among those are the NC Jazz Ensemble and the Durham Symphony Orchestra annual performances.
- The Bull Durham Blues Festival presents blues, rhythm & blues, gospel and jazz artists along with vendors and other activities every September
- The Heritage Film Festival showcases films by and about African Americans and black culture. The two day festival presents documentaries, shorts, full length features and classics that explore relevant themes and provide entertainment for the entire family. An annual event held in February that includes popcorn, candy and drinks
- Meet the Author series in collaboration with the Durham Library brings authors to Hayti for book discussions and autograph sessions
- Afrofuturism series presents STEM influenced discussions, readings, films, art and fashions by contemporary Afrofuturists. The program was developed by scientist and educator Darrell Stover
- African Rhythms Dance Class for adults every Monday 6:30 pm under the direction of experienced dance instructors with live drumming
- Aerobic Boxing Class for adults every Tuesday 6:30 pm under the direction of instructor Damien Bynum
- Tours are available year round. Walking tours from Parrish Street’s “Black Wall Street” marker past Hayti are conducted by educator and artist Aya Shabu. Tours at Hayti are led with talks by Hayti’s historian and businessman John “Skeepie” Scarborough. Arranged by appointment
I have seen some great organizations like
In 1999, a group of artists, teachers and activists, organized a community based organization called SpiritHouse. Our purpose was to create and develop grassroots programs that aimed to eliminate the negative impacts of poverty, and racism on the Black community. Inspired by the Black Liberation Movement of the 60’s and 70’s era, our initial activities generated continuous dialogue where Black issues, challenges and concerns played a significant part. Cultural enrichment, education, social change and self-determination were the ultimate intentions of the organization. Through these initiatives, we soon created culturally responsive community arts projects, organizing training and education programs where little or none had previously existed.
The Harm Free Zone Transformative Justice Training is designed to foster grassroots leadership in the Durham community. Over the course of 12 weeks we work with a diverse group of local community members, artists, business owners, cultural workers, neighborhood leaders, and formerly incarcerated people to uncover culturally responsive practices that encourage equity and accountability.
Visions of New Africa,
By JOCK LAUTERER
By Ayana Hernandez North Carolina Central University is one of six institutions awarded funds from a $6 million grant from the N.C. Policy Collaboratory at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for COVID-19 research and care. The announcement was made June 11 by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ Historically Minority […]
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These organization are doing some amazing work.
I have been very proud of what Young Activists are doing in the community but also seasoned veterans. We are definitely seeing a rise in Grassroots Community Advocacy.
2 heads R Better Recognizes “The oldest operating restaurant in Durham, North Carolina” started in 1957
Please like their FaceBook page
Marc Sumner Lee is a Grassroots Organizer, Community Advocate an National Media Online Radio Host
References for City of Durham
Special Thanks to Ballotopedia
The city of Durham utilizes a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives.
The city manager is the city’s chief executive. The responsibilities of the city manager include overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations, planning and implementing the city’s operating budget, and appointing departmental directors and other senior-level positions.
The mayor is a member of city council. He or she presides over council meetings and official city ceremonies. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels. Steve Schewel is the current mayor of Durham.
The Durham City Council is the city’s primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes, and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.
The Durham City Council is made up of seven members. Three members are elected from the city’s three districts, while the mayor and three other members are elected at large.
A current list of council members can be found here.
Boards and commissions
Twenty-four advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Durham City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate, and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.
Special thanks to the City of Durham
- City Council
- Office of the Mayor
- Boards, Committees & Commissions
- Public Hearings
- Public Information