Aaron McDuffie Moore A Definitive Biography

Aaron McDuffie Moore was Durham, North Carolina’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 farmers who came from Negro, Caucasian, and Lumbee Indian heritage. Over the course of his life, Moore was a physician, an entrepreneur, and a champion of education. His advocacy for rural schools for Negroes enabled scores of families to rise 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 other 99 counties. 


Dr. Moore graduated from Shaw University’s Leonard School of Medicine and moved to Durham in 1888 to begin the city’s first medical practice that treated colored people. He went on to found or partner in more than ten businesses, organizations, and institutions, including: Durham 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) and Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing, Mechanics and Farmers Bank, North Carolina College for Negroes (now NCCU), the Volkemenia and Schubert  and 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.

Durham Colored Library, Inc.

PO Box 2736

Durham, NC 27715-2736