Durham Colored Library, Inc. (DCL, Inc.) is one of Durham’s oldest nonprofit organizations – dedicated to the mission of lifting up stories about African American figures, both current and historical, to help create a more comprehensive picture of the American experience. The DCL, Inc. nonprofit continues to fulfill its mission through its longest standing project, the publishing of the Merrick Washington Magazine, and most recently, completing a biography of DCL, Inc.’s founder Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore.
Over 100 years ago, DCL, Inc. was founded and chartered in 1918. The organization’s initial purpose was to provide book-lending services for African Americans since the whites-only Durham County Library adhered to the Jim Crow laws of the time and did not lend books to Black citizens. At the time, this was only the second such service available to North Carolina African Americans. What began as a single location evolved into
multiple library branches and a bookmobile serving the African American community throughout Durham City and County.
The historic Durham Colored Library System remained under DCL, Inc.’s management until 1969 when the Durham County Public Library System opened its doors to all residents, thereby desegregating Durham’s public library services. The DCL, Inc. Stanford L. Warren branch, as well as DCL, Inc.’s other branches and bookmobile, continued to function as a part of the newly integrated public library system. The historic Stanford L. Warren facility still stands today as a branch of the Durham Public Library system.
After agreeing to merge its book-lending services and facilities within the Durham County Library System, DCL turned its attention to other projects to uplift and build resiliency within the Black community. The organization's primary project - the Merrick Washington Magazine - was founded in 1952 by Dr. Moore’s daughter, Lyda Moore Merrick, under the name Negro Braille Magazine. DCL adopted this as a project in 1967 and continued to publish it in Braille until 2013. At this time, the project was renamed Merrick Washington Magazine in honor of Mrs. Merrick and her blind friend, John Washington.
It was on Mr. Washington’s request that Mrs. Merrick publish articles in Braille rather than continue to read the material in the Blind Corner of the library as he had been doing since the early 1940’s. Mr. Washington and his friends knew how to read Braille and wanted to be able to read for themselves. Mrs. Merrick admired their independence and continued to befriend them throughout her life. Mr. Washington would go to her home to review the “reader copy” of the magazine and give corrections to send to the publisher.
DCL continues to produce literary and educational projects that fulfill its charitable mission of creating a more comprehensive picture of the American experience.
BOARD MEMBERS AT LARGE
Calvin H. Baker
Cecile A. Chadwick
Christine E. McLeod, JD
Babu G. Welch, MD
C. Eileen Watts Welch
President & Board Chairperson
James A. Welch
Vice President & Treasurer
H. Eugene Tatum, III, Esq.
Brandi Sansom Stewart
Merrick Washington Magazine Editor & Communications Coordinator
Elaine Barbour Curry
Finance Committee Chairperson
Addressing a Community
Social Justice Need
The economic vibrancy of our community and, indeed, our whole country, relies on the contributions of all its citizens. We need the talents of each person to be developed to their maximum ability. We need scientists and mathematicians and doctors to enable our society to meet the needs of its present and, especially, its future.
“The achievement gap is a problem not only for African American students and their families and communities; it affects the well-being of the entire country. Researchers have found that “the persistence of the educational achievement gap imposes on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession” (McKinsey & Company 2009, 6). In 2019, Blacks made up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but represented 9% of STEM workers. Among employed adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, Blacks were just 7% of the STEM workforce (Encouraging Diversity…, 2019).