Duke University and North Carolina Central University Try to Patch Up Their Strained Relationship

This past spring the campus of Duke University was rocked by charges that three white members of the lacrosse team raped a black student from nearby North Carolina Central University. The woman, who had been hired as an exotic dancer for a party off-campus hosted by a lacrosse team member, was allegedly subjected to slurs and other racist comments prior to the reported assault. The players all deny that a sexual assault took place.

As a result of the incident, relations between Duke and the nearby historically black North Carolina Central University have been strained. Recently a Unity Fest was held in downtown Durham in an attempt to repair the relationship. About 300 students attended the event lured by free food and performances by bands and dance groups.

The universities used the occasion to announce a joint academic program on the history of Durham’s Black Wall Street. In the early 1900s, Durham’s West Parish Street was a center of black economic enterprise as it housed the headquarters of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, Mechanics and Farmers Bank, and several other black-owned businesses. The history class on Durham’s Black Wall Street will be open to students at both universities and will be held at each university on alternate weeks.