History in the Making

Writing a book can be an arduous task. For me, if I am not passionate about the subject, it can leave me without words. But, if I gravitate towards a topic that strikes a chord, I can be drawn into the process of creating something magical.

Richard Harvey Wright

If you ask me why I wanted to write a book about my grandfather’s uncle, I would tell you it all had to do with discovering who this man was and his impact on first my family, and then to the city of Durham.

Mena Webb, a society editor with the Durham Sun, was also intrigued by Richard Harvey Wright, writing several historical articles and publishing them in the 1990’s. Webb wrote about Wright’s determined spirit and his persistent litigation against the Dukes. She spoke of Wright’s extensive influence on the city and how he and others like Julian Shakespeare Carr brought not only electricity, but the first mass transportation system into the downtown area of Durham.

So how did a man three generations back have such an impact on my life? The answer rests with my mother, a woman raised by parents who had lived their lives engulfed in wealth and an aristocratic society.

Bettie, Mary, and Turissa

Unlike her parents, my mother, Turissa Wright Hawkins, chose a life without the wealth and glamour. Instead, she married a man who started off with very little and worked hard to establish a solid career.  And over time, my father James R. Hawkins became a successful businessman and politician, becoming mayor in 1971. Men like Richard Harvey Wright and my father James R. Hawkins loved the city of Durham and had a strong passion to mold it into a city we all can be proud of.

James Robert Hawkins

Men like Richard Harvey Wright and my father were passionate about making Durham a city that we all can be proud to call home. For these reasons, I will continue to forge forward into the past and strive to discover the treasures of our history that exist today.

I’m excited to share that A Story of Durham is now available for PRE-ORDER at an early bird price! The official release day is September 26, 2023. Click the link below to order your copy today!

For the past two years, I have been researching and writing about my grandfather’s uncle, Richard Harvey Wright. When I began my search, I knew very little about this man except that he was one of the founding fathers of Durham, North Carolina. But what I discovered was a story of passion, love, and a determination to succeed with no boundaries. My new book, A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way, will cause you to reflect on your own history and hopefully create in you a desire to study your past to understand your presence.

4 thoughts on “History in the Making

  1. Enjoyed reading your reference to Mena Webb. Ben and I got to know her really well. She was my guest speaker for an Anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Durham General Davie Daughter’s of the American Revolution Chapter.(2001) After that event Ben and I would visit her regularly. I also enjoyed the book she published of many other articles about the history of Durham. It was fun hearing her recall her growing up stories in person. History is fun!!!!

    1. That is cool how you knew Mena Webb. As I stay in this journey, I have come to appreciate people like Mena Webb and Jim Wise. His book Durham Tales has some really interesting historical accounts of our city. Thanks for your comments.

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