Durham Colored Library

Stay up to date!

A. M. Moore Biography

 Aaron McDuffie Moore was Durham, NC’s first African American physician, as well as an important business and community leader. He was instrumental in the establishment of the city’s Black Wall Street at the turn of the twentieth century. DCL, Inc. has completed a well researched biography of Moore’s life and contributions to Durham and the American experience. 

In 1863, one month after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Aaron McDuffie Moore was born to Anna Eliza Spaulding Moore and Israel Moore in Columbus County, North Carolina. He was the eighth of ten children and part of a third generation of free yeoman farming parents who came from Negro, Caucasian, and Lumbee Indian heritage. Over the course of his life, Moore was a physician, entrepreneur, and a champion of education. His advocacy for rural schools for Negros enabled scores of families to raise up from poverty. North Carolina had more Rosenwald Schools than any other state, and there were more of these schools in Durham County than in any of North Carolina's 100 counties. Dr. Moore graduated from Shaw University’s Leonard School of Medicine and moved to Durham in 1888 to begin the first medical practice that treated colored people living in Durham. He went on to found or partner more than ten businesses, organizations and institutions including: Durhan Colored Library, Inc. system (the second library in the state to serve the Negro population), Bull Durham Drug Company, NC Mutual Life Insurance Company, Lincoln Hospital (the first secular hospital in the state that would serve the Negro population) & Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing, Mechanics and Farmers Bank, North Carolina College for Negroes (now NCCU), the Volkemenia & Shubert Shakespeare Clubs, Durham Knitting/Textile Mill, and Mutual Savings & Loan Association.

The DCL, Inc. board believes it is vital to bring Dr. Moore’s inspirational story into our community’s current conversation and to preserve knowledge of his unique journey for generations to come.