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The 2016 Vernacular Architecture Forum
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6/1/2016 to 6/4/2016
When: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Where: Durham, North Carolina 
United States

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Diversity—human, agricultural, industrial, religious, and educational—characterizes North Carolina’s Piedmont region. The legacy of slavery, transformation of the agricultural landscape following the Civil War, industrialization based on tobacco and textiles, a variety of Protestant denominations, African American business leadership, and the development by both races of elementary and higher education have all left their imprint on the landscapes and communities of the region. The theme of the 2016 conference, “From Farm to Factory: Piedmont Stories in Black and White,” will be expressed through tours of plantation housing for blacks and whites; diversified farms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; turn-of-the-20th-century textile and tobacco factories and their associated villages; Quaker communities and churches built by Germans, Scotch-Irish, and African Americans; rural schools and urban universities; rural courthouse and crossroads communities; and urban neighborhoods. With a population that has ranged from 34% to 40% African American since the 1890s and a remarkable number of historic rehabilitation projects, Durham provides a unique opportunity to consider the impacts of a prosperous black middle-class, Jim Crow segregation, the Civil Rights movement, and an impressive number of incredibly successful industrialists on a place that has transformed itself from a city wreathed in cotton lint and the aroma of processed tobacco to today’s “City of Medicine” with an economy based primarily on health care.

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