NC Filmmakers Help Define the Legacy of Durham’s “Black Wall Street”

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Cultural Heritage Group 4-part documentary series, to explore the Black Experience in Durham, North Carolina’s first 100 years.

Cultural Heritage Group and Triangle Virtual Media Productions of Durham, North Carolina, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the educational documentary film, Hayti: The Legacy of Black America. The film looks at the Legacy of Black America by exploring Durham’s Historic Hayti community. The film is about the building of a remarkable community, the subsequent destruction and the spirit that lives on today

In the early twentieth century, Parrish Street in Durham, North Carolina, was a national symbol of Black progress. The Black Financial district in Durham, was four blocks of economic power, located in predominately White, downtown Durham. It was penned by some as “Black Wall Street”. Hayti, Durham’s primary African-American residential district, was the core of Black life in Durham.

Over 200 Black-owned and operated business existed in Durham’s black business district. W.E.B. DuBois, upon visiting Durham in the early 1900’s, reflected in his writings on the uniquely tolerant relationship between Blacks and Whites. Booker T. Washington, called Durham a city of “Black Enterprise”. Some of the richest Blacks in America at the time, lived in Durham.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from their experiences that could benefit generations to come. Our children need and deserve to have a better understanding of who they are, where they came from, and why they are the way they are,” said Jaisun McMillian, one of the film’s executive producers. “Our heritage is our identity. It is important that it be appreciated, respected and preserved,” said McMillian.

With the help of local historians, oral histories and historic archives, filmmakers Kelvin D. Allen, Jaisun McMillian and Victor Stone of Cultural Heritage Group, are creating a documentary film they hope will serve as an educational reference on African-American social and cultural history.

How You Can Help?

Cultural Heritage Group has created a fundraising campaign through The goal has been set at $50,000, which must be raised in 60 days. It is an all or nothing challenge. If every dime of the goal is not reached, the producers receive nothing and no money changes hands. Funding of this documentary will allow the Cultural Heritage Group to cover production expenses and duplication for distribution primarily to schools, universities, workshops and after-school programs. The Film will be distributed in a DVD set of (4) 1 hour segments ranging from slavery to The Hip Hop generation and beyond. In appreciation for support, various reward levels have been created for contributors.

Who is Cultural Heritage Group?

The Cultural Heritage Group, founded in 2009, is a grassroots initiative based in Durham, NC. The program was founded by three filmmakers, Jaisun G. McMillian, Victor R. Stone, of Triangle Virtual Media Productions and Kelvin D. Allen of Kelvin D. Allen and Associates Marketing. For the past four years, Cultural Heritage Group has been committed to providing educational outreach tools to empower youth and prepare them to become productive adults. Educational training workshops and screening of the film’s short version, are held at churches, corporations, community organizations, conferences and schools. The group is currently conducting a project-based workshop on Hayti, at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies.

Contact: Jaisun McMillian

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