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Black Led Community Organizations

Durham is full of Black organizations, businesses, and individuals that are committed to community growth and support.

Since the city's founding, Durham's Black community has built an interconnected network of relationships. Black leaders have used grassroots efforts and navigated the highest tiers of entrepreneurial and political power to overcome systemic racism and oppression. They also advanced a vision for equity and freedom across race, gender and status. The often unseen work of many community organizations builds a foundation for advancement in business, the arts, education and more.

Community Organizations


Investing in the growth and development of the Black entrepreneur, Black business and the Black business ecosystem by offering strategic consulting services, business coaching, mentoring and technical assistance. GDBCC has built strong relationships with City and County organizations, providing chamber members with a variety of opportunities and highlighting their successes and accomplishments.


On August 15, 1935 a group of men gathered at the Algonquin Tennis Club to form the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs (DCNA), later named the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People (DCABP Inc.). The organization focused on registering voters and recruiting and supporting Black candidates for local office. Today, the DCABP Inc. is committed to championing social justice and racial equity.


Founded in 1999 by a group of artists, teachers and activists, Spirit House creates and develops grassroots programs aimed to eliminate the negative impacts of poverty and racism on the Black community. Its culturally responsive community arts projects, training and education programs have been a powerful presence in Durham.


Village of Wisdom works with Black families to protect Black genius. Their work to protect Black children’s intellectual curiosity and positive racial self-concept helps close the academic opportunity gap through the love of families and communities.


Formed by five families, Thrive empowers African American youth for success during their grade school years through educational programming, cultural exposure and community partnerships.


Durham educators, families and children receive anti-racism training through We Are (Working to Extend Anti-Racist Education). Through grade school summer camps, professional development and workshops, We Are works to eliminate race as a predictable factor in educational outcomes.


Since 2015, Be Connected Durham has worked to forge connections to address disparities, foster equity and bridge understanding through the arts, culture, music and politics. The community initiative and social enterprise is centered in abolitionist, anti-racist and equitable engagement principles.


Guided by her training under Baba Chuck Davis, Aya Shabu created this performance touring company to be a contributing voice in shaping the public memory of North Carolina’s slavery past and African American achievement through walking tours through the historic Hayti, Black Wall Street and West End neighborhoods.

“If I can get people to connect to a place, then they will care about it, and protect it.”

Communities in Partnership

Formed in 2011 in response to a neighborhood shooting in Old East Durham, Communities in Partnership (CIP) has grown to give voice to local residents and hold officials and agencies accountable. In recent years, CIP has been building trust and relationships amongst residents, developing local leaders, and changing the narrative about their community. Their work has recently expanded to address growing economic disparities in light of local gentrification, the rising cost of living, and the impact of COVID-19.

Stand Up Speak Out NC

Stand Up, Speak Out of North Carolina (SUSO NC) continues the fight to end sexual assault and domestic violence through advocacy, prevention training,  group therapy, mentoring and a fundamental concept for survivors called Healing Thru Art. In response to COVID-19, SUSO NC utilized Wake County’s new Community Innovation Grant to provide art intervention and summer camps for youth, as well as therapeutic art intervention for the larger community that increases awareness of self-worth while learning creative methods to manage symptom-related stress that results from traumatic experiences.

HEARTS - Helping Each Adolescent Reach Their Spark

H.E.A.R.T.S. educates adolescent parents and equips them with skills and tools needed to become independent and self-sufficient. In addition to direct service support through 1-1 and group coaching sessions, H.E.A.R.T.S. offers emergency support services and creative learning experiences.

Step Up Durham

StepUp Durham provides employment training and opportunities for members of the Durham and Raleigh communities facing challenges such as criminal backgrounds, racial inequality, histories of drug abuse, domestic violence, and/or homelessness.

Triangle Empowerment Center

This nonprofit community-based organization serves Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and surrounding neighborhoods through fun social events, educational events, and volunteering opportunities. With no membership fees, initiation, meeting requirements, or cliques, Triangle Empowerment Center seeks to connect local residents of all backgrounds, incomes, and locations with events that allow people to be themselves and have fun.

Sankofa Birth & Women’s Care

The only practicing Black-owned midwife center in the state.

MAAME Inc - Mobilizing  African American Mothers Through Empowerment

Mobilizing African American Mothers through Empowerment (MAAME), Inc. empowers Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to navigate systems and offer resources, services, and support for holistic maternal health care and economic advancement. In addition to traditional birth and postpartum support, MAAME also offers full-spectrum doula services up to 18 months, as well as classes on childbirth education and maternal mental health and wellness.

Equity Before Birth

Equity Before Birth (EBB) fuses economic and birth justice to save lives. Their sponsorships, fundraising programs, and partnerships with BIPOC-led organizations in the Raleigh-Durham area provide critical direct services to mothers, families, and community members. Built on the idea of empowering mothers and families, EBB aims to save the lives of Black and Brown birthing people by increasing access to critical services and support.

Center for Black Health & Equity

The Center for Black Health & Equity is a non-profit organization committed to the pursuit of health justice for Black people of African descent. We work to facilitate the implementation and promotion of comprehensive and equity-centered policies, community-led programs and culturally competent public health campaigns that benefit people of African descent with an intersectional lens.

The Center for Black Health & Equity envisions a world where all people of African descent are able to obtain their optimal health outcomes. Our mission is to facilitate public health programs and services to benefit communities and people of African descent.

We build the capacity of strategic partners, public health organizations so that they may advocate for culturally appropriate solutions that promote health equity. We focus our efforts on issues related to tobacco use, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19 disparities, but are expanding our focus areas to various determinants of health.

The LGBTQ Center of Durham

The LGBTQ Center of Durham was founded in 2015 by Helena Cragg and continues to provide necessary services and support for the broader queer community.

Soul Sanctuary

Along with her partners with Golden Girlz, Cragg later established this event space and farm collective offering accessible housing, food security and supportive spaces for LGBTQIA elders. Spaces are available for rent and the property hosts public events including Saturday morning farmers’ markets

Supporting Black Entrepreneurship

Today's business leaders prioritize community empowerment and economic inclusivity. Co-working spaces, incubators and mentorship programs cultivate talent and collaboration, driving Durham's entrepreneurial spirit forward.


The historic NC Mutual Life Insurance Company building, at the time the tallest in Durham and the tallest Black-owned building in the country until 1987, now houses Provident1898, a majority Black-owned co-working space dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs, change-makers and creatives. Hanging in the space's kitchen, the original neon-lit Royal Ice Cream sign commemorates Durham’s civil rights history.


CEED encourages a culture of creativity and innovation to support student, faculty and community-member entrepreneurship from business conception through launch and growth. Services include mentorship programs, workshops and pitch competitions.


Housed within American Underground and in collaboration with Google for Startups, the Black Founders Exchange provides hands-on training and facilitates a supportive community to help Black start-ups grow.

Black History Resources

Even now, we’re still discovering untold stories of how Durham was influenced and shaped by the African American community. Much more than we could ever say here is available in these additional resources.


The mission of Bull City 150 is to invite Durhamites to reckon with the racial and economic injustices of the past 150 years, and commit to building a more equitable future.

Behind the Veil at the Duke University Libraries

This online oral history project from the Center for Documentary Studies preserves stories about life under Jim Crow told by those who experienced it.

Bull City Soul

Beginning as a collaborative project between a record collector and a librarian before transforming into a series of performances and exhibits, Bull City Soul tells the story of R&B, funk and soul in the 1960s and '70s in Durham.

Confronting Change at the Carolina Theatre

This permanent exhibit at the Carolina Theatre documents efforts to end segregation at the theater in the 1960s. The displays include photos, text, and a historic ticket window.

Durham Civil Rights Heritage Project at the Durham County Library

Part of the Durham County Library's North Carolina Collection, the Durham Civil Rights Heritage Project is a website that houses historic photos, oral history and timelines mapping out the events of the civil rights movement in Durham.

John Hope Franklin Center

Named after the distinguished African American scholar and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient John Hope Franklin, the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University is an interdisciplinary program hosting art exhibits, speaker series, classes and more that probe issues of race, equality and globalization.

Museum of Durham History's History Hub

The History Hub uses stories, videos, photos and interactive exhibits to educate visitors about Durham history, including the essential contributions made by African Americans. Their personal narratives, housed online, are a great resource, and the Hub's brick-and-mortar location always hosts interesting exhibits.

North Carolina Central University Art Museum

Home to one of the leading collections of African American art in the state, the NCCU art museum hosts a permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits that explore the black experience.