Morgan Siegel: Steeped in Strength
Morgan Siegel has been brewing the next chapter of black history in Durham. She says her success was made possible by the foundation her predecessors laid.
Posted By Ashley Strahm on Feb 17, 2020
Morgan Siegel has been having dreams of culture and connectivity for years.
Her brick and mortar sits adjacent to Black Wall Street and is filled with reclaimed, textured elements, each carefully curated in tribute to their point of origin. Step into Jeddah's Tearoom, and you're stepping into an extension of Morgan: a driven, compassionate beacon of Durham's continued Black entrepreneurial movement.
Accompanied only by the grit familiar to Durhamites here, a $250 seedling bloomed into popups at a Juneteenth celebration, American Tobacco, and the Pinhook. Siegel has seen her business grow with the support of 311 backers who pledged $23,248 in a 2018 Kickstarter campaign to help bring her dream to life.
Morgan focuses on preparing organic, fair-trade & vegan-friendly tea blends from countries that are underrepresented in the American tea market (ex. Somaliland, Senegal, Egypt), and works with local and international farmers to honor geographies, traditions, and cultures that may be unknown to many in Durham. In that way and many others, Morgan continues to celebrate the diaspora that Durham contains.
Jeddah's Tearoom was designed to be a space where connection is fortified. The space was intentionally created to be Wi-Fi-free and ADA accessible so visitors can convene in mindful conversation or thought-provoking work, be it reading, writing or contemplative thought. Her vision is rooted in creating a beautiful atmosphere for people of all backgrounds and walks of life to have a place at the table — one cup at a time.
Morgan doesn't do anything haphazardly — and her connection to the Black history of this area is far from a coincidence. She has high hopes for Durham, and treasures the arc of Black fortitude she's discovered here.
“I experience Black history every day in Durham because Durham's history is Black history," she says. "Black excellence radiates throughout this city; its bones and foundation are sitting on the shoulders of giants, both male and female. Durham is beautiful to me because it’s a great place to foster community, raise your children, and bring ideas to life. I hope to experience continued Black prosperity in Durham through community efforts toward equity and access and the facilitation of ideation in all of its forms.”
Morgan Siegel was photographed and interviewed in her tearoom on Market Street, one of three women-owned businesses (and two by women of color) that sit adjacent to Durham's renowned Black Wall Street.