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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Thomas Day Statue, Raleigh

  • Type

    Statue

  • Subjects

    Historic Cultural Figures

  • Creator

    Studio EIS, Builder

  • City

    Raleigh

  • County

    Wake

  • Description

    The statue depicts Thomas Day holding a woodworker's plane with both hands. He is shown dressed in a suit (slacks, shirt, vest, tie) and coat. A small plaque and pedestal stand to the left of the statue and contains information regarding Thomas Day as well as the statue itself.

    Images: Bronze plaque

  • Inscription

    THOMAS DAY / (1801-CA. 1861) / SCULPTOR'S REPRESENTATION OF THOMAS DAY, A FREE / AFRICAN AMERICAN IN CASWELL COUNTY WHO CREATED FASHIONABLE / FURNITURE AND ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR. / IN MEMORY OF DELLIE HARDISON SMITH, DEDICATED LEADER OF / NORTH CAROLINA ARTS AND HUMANITIES.

    The text also appears below the main inscription in braille.

  • Custodian

    North Carolina Museum of History

  • Dedication Date

    2000

  • Decade

    2000s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.781190 , -78.638980 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Master Craftsman and Entrepreneur Thomas Day," Adventures in North Carolina Culture (accessed June 24, 2014) Link

      "Thomas Day's Letter To His Daughter, Mary Ann Day - Teacher Tool 1: Brief Biography of Thomas Day," Crafting Freedom (accessed June 20, 2014) Link

      "Thomas Day," LEARN NC (accessed June 20, 2014) Link

      McDonald, Glenn. "The Extraordinary Thomas Day," newsobserver.com (accessed June 20, 2014) Link

      North Carolina History Project. "Thomas Day (1801-ca. 1861)" (accessed June 20, 2014) Link

      North Carolina Museum of History. "Meet the Statues" (accessed June 23, 2014) Link

      The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Thomas Day: art rises above prejudice," Spotlights (accessed June 23, 2014) Link

      Thomas Day Education Project. "About Thomas Day" (accessed June 23, 2014) Link

      Umfleet, LeRae. "Thomas Day," NCpedia.org (accessed June 23, 2014) Link

      Waymarking.com. "Thomas Day - Raleigh, NC," Statues of Historic Figures on Waymarking.com (accessed June 20, 2014) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze

  • Subject Notes

    Thomas Day is considered one of the greatest furniture and cabinet makers of the antebellum period. During his upbringing, he was educated by private tutors and apprenticed under his father, John Day, Sr.

    Due to both his professional and social success in Milton, North Carolina, Thomas Day was able to gain support from a number of prominent white community members to relocate his wife, Aquilla Wilson, from Virginia despite a standing law that prohibited free African Americans migrating to North Carolina.

    Although he was a free African American, he employed both black and white, free and enslaved, in his Milton furniture-making shop. In 1850, he was said to operate the largest cabinet shop in the state and had successfully mechanized his operations through the use of steam-powered equipment before his 1861 disappearance from records. This is believed to have been the year of his death.

  • Location

    The statue is located on the steps leading up to the North Carolina Museum of History (located off of Edenton Road). Two other statues - to Sauratown Woman and to Frederick Augustus Olds - greet Museum visitors.

  • Landscape

    The statue stands between the entrance to the Museum of History and the planters which line the museum's front. It is surrounded by concrete steps.

Know anything else about this monument that isn't mentioned here? If you have additional information on this or any other monument in our collection fill out the form at the Contact Us link in the footer. Thank you.