Welcome to Walltown: Historically Black Durham neighborhood finally gets it gateway

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Saturday, September 3, 2022
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Walltown,one of the oldest historically Black neighborhoods in Durham finally gets an official gateway.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Walltown, one of the oldest historically Black neighborhoods in Durham finally gets an official gateway.

The brand-new sign on West Club Boulevard reads "Welcome to the Walltown Community". Residents, city leaders and descendants of George Wall were all there, Saturday morning, for the sign unveiling outside the Walltown Recreation Center.

Wall was newly freed from slavery at the turn of the 20th century, becoming the first custodian in what became Duke University. He built the first home in the neighborhood next to Duke's east campus and it quickly became a haven for working class Black Durham residents who called it Walltown.

Wall descendants and the Walltown Community Association have been lobbying for over 20 years to erect a marker to symbolize the cultural significance of the neighborhood which is becoming increasingly gentrified. Saturday's unveiling was the culmination of that hard work.

"Our grandparents, our mothers and fathers worked hard for so many years to get Walltown where it is today," said Annie Smith-Vample, a Wall descendant. "And now to be recognized so anyone that comes in the city of Durham sees, this is awesome."

Durham Parks and Rec provided the land where the sign was built at the intersection of West Club Boulevard and Onslow Street. The Amy E. Kelly Education Foundation assisted in funding the design and construction.

"I just encourage anybody if you're riding by or driving by, take time to look at this sign, take pictures of the sign. Come to Walltown. We on the map now. So come to Walltown," said Audrey Mitchell, president of the Walltown Community Association.

One of the many George Wall descendants on hand for the ceremony today was ABC11's own Joel Brown. Wall was Joel's great-great grandfather.