Recovering Hayti is a collaborative project undertaken with Preservation Durham, a local historical preservation society whose mission “is to protect Durham’s historic assets through Action, Advocacy, and Education.” This project is an emulation of the “Repopulating Hayti” project, begun as a graduate student project in our Digital Humanities course (fall 2011) with contributions from students in our undergraduate “Main Street, Carolina” class. The project maps the lost community of Hayti, which was largely destroyed during the Urban Renewal efforts of the 1960s.

The Hayti Project prototype was converted for Prospect by Gabriel Timotei under the supervision of Michael Newton.

Click here to see the Prospect visualization.

About the Project

Map of the proposed Urban Renewal Project for Hayti (Durham, NC)

The Hayti neighborhood of Durham was a vibrant African-American community that flourished from the 1880s to the 1940s—one which W.E.B. DuBois held up as a shining example of black success. With its own thriving businesses and culture, Hayti was home to / or associated with many important institutions, including North Carolina Central University (NCCU), White Rock Baptist Church, and Lincoln Hospital.  By 1960, the community was targeted for destruction during the process of Urban Renewal. Many homes and businesses were thus torn down to make way for the Durham Freeway (Highway 147). Very little remains of Hayti’s built environment today, though its legacy still persists.

This project maps over 200 homes and businesses using the photos and parcel appraisals from the Durham Urban Renewal Records. These documents are part of the North Carolina Collection at the Durham County Library, and were digitized by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. The map, drawn in 1961, was created by City Planning and Architectural Associates of Chapel Hill. The Durham City-County Planning Department provided the digital version of the map.

We have also created 8th grade social studies lesson plans (based on the original project) in collaboration with the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium at UNC’s Program for the Humanities & Human Values. Preparation of the lesson plans was supported through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.