Surprisingly, the quote above is from 1912. Written by W.E.B. Dubois after his trip to Durham, he witnessed an unusual occurrence developing in the South; Black business was thriving in spite of overwhelming racial inequality. Character, as described by Dubois, created an atmosphere in which different races of people not only co-existed, but collaborated. Prominent figures in Durham like James Buchanan Duke partnered with the Black pioneers of the time, from John Merrick of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance, to James Shepard of North Carolina Central University, to establish what became known as Black Wall Street.