A few years ago, Julian Shakespeare Carr was at the forefront of the Silent Sam controversy in Chapel Hill. If you do any research, what Julian shared as he was presenting this monument to the University of North Carolina will alarm you. My intention is not to defend him or his actions, but to enlighten my readers on the good he provided to the citizens of Durham, both black and white.
In the above letter, written on Durham Smoking Tobacco letter head, Julian is trying to persuade Richard Harvey Wright to clean up the trolley cars for the benefit of the citizens of Durham. It is clear from reading this letter, and others, that he cared deeply for the people of our fine city.
It has been amazing to discover the number of local philanthropies Julian gave to. For one, he contributed to the National Religious Training and Chatauqua, now North Carolina Central University. He also opened his home to Charlie Soong, a young man who had made his way to the states for the sole purpose of receiving an education. As Soong studied to become a preacher, he lived with the Carr family. What is amazing is once he returned to China, Soong became a leader at the forefront of the Chinese Revolution.
Just as in life, in death, Julian Shakespeare Carr, has stirred up controversy. If you ever visit his grave site at Maplewood Cemetery, you will be welcomed by larger than life gravestones.
Once, when my husband and I were visiting the cemetery, we were greeted by this black rat sitting on Julian’s grave marker. It made us laugh at the humor of the person who placed it there.
Stories like Julian Shakespeare Carr can be found with a little research accompanied by pleasant strolls around our local cemeteries. As you dig up nuggets of information, I promise you will be amazed at all the hidden treasures right below our feet.