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150th Anniversary of Durham to Spur Yearlong Celebration

Events and Community Engagements Will Recognize the Past, Present, and Future of Durham, NC

(DURHAM, NC) — The 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Durham will include yearlong celebrations coordinated by a diverse group of Durham residents identified to lead the official promotion of the sesquicentennial. Starting with the 2018 Durham Holiday Parade, the Durham 150 celebration will rightfully honor the changemakers who have shaped Durham’s unique sense of place, tout Durham’s position for the future, rally proud Durhamites, and invite the world to experience all the Bull City has to offer. Throughout 2019, Durham 150 will encourage civic engagement, widespread community participation, and the values of shared prosperity.

“Durham 150 is a tremendous opportunity to celebrate Durham as the progressive city we know today, as well as those heroes in our past who’ve helped us get to where we’re going,” said Durham Mayor Steve Schewel. “It wouldn’t be Durham if we didn’t want to face tough issues head-on, look at both the good and the bad, and take part in constructive dialogue. We’re ready to celebrate, but also eager and ready to put in the work to lead as a welcoming and diverse community for the next 150 years.”

In March 2018, Mayor Schewel appointed Shelly Green, president and CEO of Discover Durham, and Patrick Mucklow, executive director of the Museum of Durham History, as co-chairs of the Durham 150 convening committee. The convening committee has since laid the groundwork for a yearlong celebration, prioritizing events and projects that are accessible and appealing to all. Accordingly, Durham 150 promotions will center on four cornerstones – or pillars – of Durham’s community: history and education, innovation and entrepreneurship, arts and leisure, and social equity and robust democracy. The convening committee will oversee the Durham 150 kickoff and opening and closing celebrations, while actively soliciting participation from residents, businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations, inviting them to envision events and projects to commemorate the Sesquicentennial. These events and projects can then be submitted for potential endorsement and support.

“Those of us here know very well that Durham is a city that doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon,” said Green. “Early on, Durham 150 set a goal to make sure 95 percent of all residents are aware of the anniversary by the close of 2019, ensuring outreach is purposefully diverse and grassroots efforts are prioritized. We’re excited to get going and engage groups from all corners of the community. We’ve also already heard from many who are excited to participate and lead anniversary-related initiatives of their own – people who we look forward to collaborating with to create an unforgettable, inclusive yearlong celebration.”

The Durham Holiday Parade on December 8, 2018 marks the public kick off to Durham 150 and will recognize past living mayors on a float. Durham 150 is also busy planning an official community-wide celebration scheduled for April 13, 2019, the Saturday following the City of Durham’s actual April 10 anniversary date. Official Durham 150 events will culminate in a closing celebration held in November 2019. Throughout the calendar year, Durham 150 will also support and promote community events orchestrated by passionate Durhamites and organizations of all sizes. Visit Durham150.org to submit an idea and learn more about events.

“From just a railroad depot in 1869 to nationally recognized hub of technology and innovation and aspiring model of social equity today, Durham has come a long way and there are many, many important stories to tell,” said Mucklow. “Durham was built on innovation and regeneration, as will be reflected in the Durham 150 commemoration and programming at the Museum of Durham History. We have an important role to play in the sesquicentennial celebrations, including plans to expand the museum as a more significant and permanent home for Durham’s unfolding history.”

Mayors Steve Schewel and Bill Bell are leading the fundraising effort for Durham 150 as fundraising committee co-chairs. Contributions large and small are currently being sought from businesses, foundations, and individuals with a vested interest in Durham’s vitality. To donate or learn more about giving to Durham 150, please visit the donate now page.

For more information about Durham 150, the Opening Celebration and other events, visit www.Durham150.org.

About Durham 150:

Durham 150, the official commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the City of Durham’s incorporation in 1869, is a yearlong celebration. The mission of Durham 150 is to recognize Durham’s past, present and future with a year of events, activities, and community engagements to celebrate Durham’s rich history and highly promising future. A diverse group of Durham residents have been identified to coordinate Durham 150 efforts to encourage civic engagement, widespread community participation, and the values of shared prosperity.

Subscribe to the Durham 150 e-mail lists for updates about events, opportunities, fundraising, and more. Visit Durham150.org to find a calendar of events or email contact@durham150.org for more ways to get involved. Join the #Durham150 conversation and follow @DurhamNC150 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Media Contact:
Margaret Pentrack