The St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation, Inc. (SJHF) founded in 1975, is deeply rooted in the historic Hayti community of Durham, North Carolina. The once thriving business and residential district was dubbed “Black Wall Street” by Booker T. Washington.
The Hayti Heritage Center opened in 1975 under the management of the SJHF. The Center is a cultural enrichment and arts education facility that promotes cultural understanding through diverse events, activities and programs that preserve the heritage and embrace the experiences of Americans of African descent.
In the 1970’s when the St. Joseph’s AME Church congregation moved to a new church home, the original structure became the catalyst for the formation of the St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation (SJHF). The Foundation was incorporated in 1975 with the intention of preserving the embellished old sanctuary and adapting it for cultural and civic events.
SJHF’s mission is preserving and advancing the heritage and culture of historic Hayti and the African American experience through programs that benefit the broader community locally, nationally and globally. The church complex, renamed the Hayti Heritage Center, is listed on the register of national historic landmarks. Descendants of the original residents of the district once known as “Black Wall Street” continue to visit the Center along with other residents and visitors from surrounding areas.
The Foundation’s goals are to consistently present the very best in quality cultural arts programs related to the African American experience, promote cross-cultural understanding between isolated communities, and foster intercultural support. We accomplish our mission by providing enlightening and enriching programs in cultural arts and education.
The St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center continues to be an agent of social change with a long-term commitment to utilizing the arts as a tool to bring communities together and establishing common ground among diverse cultures. The Foundation is committed to providing the local community and patrons-at-large with core programs and other events throughout the year.