In the 1960s, North Carolina was a center of the civil rights movement, with Greensboro being the site of the first sit-in protests in the country.
Durham County, located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history dating back to the earliest American settlements. The area was first inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Occaneechi and Eno, who thrived off the fertile land. Europeans began arriving in the late 17th century, with the region eventually falling under British control.

During the early 19th century, Durham County was primarily an agricultural community, with tobacco farming becoming a prominent industry. As the demand for tobacco grew, leading to significant economic growth, the town of Durham was established in 1853. The establishment of the North Carolina Railroad also played a crucial role in the county's development, further boosting trade and transportation.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were transformative for Durham County. The rise of the American tobacco industry saw the town of Durham become a major hub, earning it the nickname "Bull City." Companies like American Tobacco Company and Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company prospered, shaping the county's economy and contributing to the development of iconic structures such as the Lucky Strike cigarette factory and Durham's downtown skyline.

In the 20th century, Durham County has experienced periods of growth, challenges, and transformation. It played a significant role in the civil rights movement, with the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People leading protests and advocating for racial equality. The county has also become a center for education, with Duke University and North Carolina Central University being established. Today, Durham is known for its thriving research, technology, and healthcare sectors, as well as its vibrant cultural scene and commitment to progressive initiatives.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Durham County, North Carolina.

  • 1838: Durham County is established on April 17, named after Dr. Bartlett Durham.
  • 1851: The community of Durhamville is established after a railway depot is built nearby.
  • 1853: Durhamville is renamed Durham Station.
  • 1865: The Civil War ends, and Durham Station begins to grow as a result of the tobacco industry.
  • 1873: Durham Station is officially incorporated as the town of Durham.
  • 1881: The Durham Tobacco Company is founded, marking the beginning of the tobacco boom in the area.
  • 1893: Durham becomes the county seat of Durham County.
  • 1903: The Washington Duke family founds the American Tobacco Company in Durham.
  • 1910: The Parrish Street area becomes a center of African American business and culture.
  • 1957: North Carolina Central University is established in Durham.
  • 1980s: Durham experiences economic decline due to the decline of the tobacco industry.
  • 1990s: Durham undergoes a revitalization effort, focusing on downtown redevelopment and the creation of Research Triangle Park.