Durham Trip a Success, June 2018

By all accounts, the One Community tour of Black Durham was a hit that’s already resulted in meaningful plans for South St. Petersburg community leaders. In all, 27 travelers joined the two-day “knowledge sharing experience” that unfolded June 21st – 23rd of this year.

The St. Petersburg contingent met and broke bread with over a dozen visionary leaders in Durham.

The first day featured a Stop, Shop & Talk session by Ngozi Design Collective founders representing 50 artisans, authors & entrepreneurs, which was followed by a tour of the American Underground start-up incubator and lunch with at the national headquarters of Self-Help Federal Credit Union with a team of six Self-Help management staff.

That afternoon, the City of Durham’s Acting Economic Development Manager Reginald Jones hosted a Talk & Tour of Black Wall Street with the group, showcasing the history and present of an area now embraced for redevelopment under “The Parrish Street Project Plan.”

Day two of the sojourn began with a charter bus tour guided by C. J. Broderick, President, Greater Durham Black Chamber. The morning touched off at the Phoenix Crossroads Shopping Center with breakfast at Nzinga Café and a talk by Larry & Denise Hester, owners of two retail centers in the Hayti community (pronounced Hay-tie).

From there it was on to the headquarters of iNvictus Group Holdings for an Innovation Talk by Ed Boyd, Jr., Chief Strategy Officer, followed by a stop at North Carolina Central University to be hosted by Director of Entrepreneurship at the School of Business, Henry McCoy.

A final learning experience was a panel lunch Power Lunch Panel: The Decade Ahead in Black Durham (Priorities for Inclusive Growth in the Bull City). The panel was moderated by Ed Boyd, and offered remarks by St. Petersburg’s Urban Affairs Director Nikki Capehart and Pastor Louis Murphy, before opening the floor to several mini-talks by leading figures:

Perspectives on Durham’s journey to inclusive growth by former 16-year Mayor Bill Bell, City of Durham (2001 to 2017)
The Institute Strategy by Farad Ali, CEO, The Institute (founded 1986 as the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development)
The Durham Chain Strategy by Denise Hester, on collective actions, including Community Benefit Agreements, to grow black commerce
How History was Made by 87-year old retiring state representative Mickey Michaux

The St. Petersburg group enjoyed some nightlife too, with a networking dinner on the first evening at the Palace International, treated to a talk on the restaurant’s history by its second generation African owners – the Ochola family.

The group took-in a jazz concert on the second evening, regaled by jazz musician Mark Meadows at the Beyu Caffé.

Click here, for a video of photos from the trip; and click here to see the group’s full itinerary.