African-American Heritage

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DDAAHS CoverDurham Documentation of African-American Historic Sites (DDAAHS), led by April Johnson, was a three-year Preservation Durham program that identified and documented Durham County’s African-American historic resources. The program was made possible through the generous contributions of a number of local donors, along wtih a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which provided a three-year Partners In The Field matching grant (a gift from the Wilson Charitable Trust).

What is DDAAHS and why it matters

Historic African-American communities in Durham faced threats of neglect, aggressive development, demolition, and highway construction.  Though frequently overlooked, historic black communities help to define the African-American experience.  The goal of DDAAHS was to identify, document, and designate historic African-American sites locally.

DDAAHS focused on sites and neighborhoods in the City and County of Durham that are important to the community’s African-American heritage, as well as properties that have been traditionally undervalued or overlooked.

The identification of historic sites in African-American communities yields community pride and a sense of identity.  It connects the community to the past in order to relate to the present through the preservation of stories embedded in the built environment.