Our History


Photo: First Durham Colored Library building, donated by John Merrick and located at the corner of Fayetteville and Pettigrew streets.

Durham Colored Library, Inc. (DCL, Inc.) is one of Durham’s oldest non-profit organizations – dedicated to the mission of “lifting up stories about African Americans, 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 this year it has completed a biography of DCL, Inc.’s founder Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore.

Over 100 years ago, DCL, Inc. was founded and chartered in 1918. At that time, its board functioned to oversee the management of the Durham Colored Library’s staff and facilities. 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 of Durham City & Durham County thereby desegregating Durham’s public library services. In the process 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 is standing today as a branch of the Durham Public Library system.