Documenting the American South

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

    Tobacco and E.J. Parrish, Durham

  • Type

    Sculpture

  • Subjects

    Historic African American Figures

    Industry

    African American Monuments

  • Creator

    Leah Foushee, Sculptor

    Michael Waller, Sculptor

    Alvin Frega, Sculptor

  • City

    Durham

  • County

    Durham

  • Description

    This bronze sculpture is the first in a series of six monuments documenting “Black Wall Street” in Durham. It highlights the importance of the tobacco industry in Durham County; in addition, it honors the life of E.J. Parrish, a tobacco tycoon in the area who built a warehouse on Parrish Street. The sculpture features five large-scale tobacco leaves above a plaque.

    Image of the plaque

  • Inscription

    Tobacco and E.J. Parrish

    Named for tobacco tycoon E.J. Parrish and his father, Parrish Street was the site of his expansive 1879 warehouse. / Early tobacco entrepreneurs E. J. Parrish, James B. Duke, Julian Carr, John Green, and W.T. Blackwell transformed Durham’s business landscape.

  • Custodian

    The City of Durham

  • Dedication Date

    October 15, 2009

  • Decade

    2000s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.994960 , -78.899060 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Series

    "Black Wall Street", Durham, NC

  • Supporting Sources

      "Black Wall Street Durham. Durham, North Carolina. Borne from segregation and exclusion, Durham’s Black Wall Street is now a living reminder of the city’s past." Sponsored by Visit North Carolina, atlasobscura.com, (accessed March 28, 2024) Link

      Fitts, David L., Jr. “Sculptures Honor Parrish St., Durham’s 'Black Wall St.',” The Durham Voice, (accessed April 20, 2012) Link

      Morgan, Fiona. "Honoring the Past, Facing the Future. Durham’s Parrish Street Moves One Step Closer to Resurrection," Indy Week, 01/24/2007, (accessed March 20, 2024) Link

      North Carolina Office of Archives and History. "Durham's 'Black Wall Street'," 2003. Anchor. A North Carolina History Online Resources", (accessed March 28, 2024) Link

      Pfeiffenberger, Sylvia. "Durham's 'Black Wall Street'." Joint Duke-NCCU course looks at the history and people of Parrish Street, today.duke.edu, January 25, 2007, (accessed March 28, 2024) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze

  • Sponsors

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Funds granted with the assistance of Representative David E. Price.

  • Monument Cost

    $350,000

  • Nickname

    The Parrish Street Sculptures

  • Subject Notes

    Tobacco has been an important part of Durham’s history since the 19th century. Tobacco entrepreneurs such as E.J. Parrish and Washington Duke marked the early business landscape of Durham.

  • Location

    The sculpture sits on historic Parrish Street, which is better known as “Black Wall Street.” It is part of a series of six sculptures that each commemorates important pieces of Durham’s history.

  • Landscape

    This sculpture rests in downtown Durham. There are a few trees close to the monument.

  • Former Locations

    None

  • Post Dedication Use

    This monument, and the entire series of Parrish street sculptures, is part of a larger revitalization effort by the city of Durham.

  • Approval Process

    With the help of Representative David E. Price, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development granted $350,000 to the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development for the Parrish Street Revitalization and Historic Commemoration Project.

  • Materials & Assembly Cost

    The entire Parrish Street monuments series cost $350,000.

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