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A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way

Richard Harvey Wright came to Durham in the late 1870’s with a dream to build a tobacco empire. An orphan at the age of fourteen and no money for higher education, Richard pursues the business world from a different angle. Life is difficult for the young man, but his determined spirit drives him to become one of the most successful businessmen of his time.


Shadowed by the success of the American Tobacco and the William T. Blackwell Company, Richard pursues his dreams in an unusual direction. Tragedy strikes this man more than once, but even so, he pushes forward with an incessant determination to succeed.

Richard’s global vision and willingness to travel to ends of the earth gave him an insight into the business world that many have never experienced. But as often as he traveled, Richard made Durham, North Carolina his home and ultimately his resting place.

A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way allows the reader to take a step back into the history of Durham from this man’s point of view. This story allows the reader to experience the dynamics that took place when Washington Duke, William T. Blackwell, and John Merrick walked the streets of Durham.

Cora Darrah, a native of Durham as well as a distant ancestor of Richard Harvey Wright, has spun a story, based on countless hours of delving into Richard’s personal archives that are stored at Rubenstein Library on the Duke University Campus. Cora lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband and two French Bulldogs.

I was amazed to learn about the history of Durham and in particularly, how Cora Darrah’s book, A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way, brought the Wright family back to life. I loved reading the background history of other important families during the development of Durham such as the Dukes, Merricks, Moores, and Blackwells. Even though Richard was a hard man to feel affection for, I know it took men like him to build successful business empires. Cora, I truly admire the work you have done!
– Joanne Williams

I just loved reading every page of Cora Darrah’s book, A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way, especially the parts about Richard Harvey Wright. Her book tells the story of a man who has never received the credit he deserves for the contributions he made to the City of Durham. This book is the best story ever told about Richard Harvey Wright. It is particularly meaningful to me, given I own the Wright’s Machinery Building on Holloway Street, a building in which my father worked in for over thirty-five years.
– Donald Yarboro

The Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way is a historical novel about Richard Harvey Wright, a man who was influential in the economic and business development of Durham. Cora Darrah gives a clear description of the happenings in Durham in the late 19th and early 20th century. By reading this book, I learned more about the history of Durham than I had ever known before, even though I have lived in this city for the last fifty years. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of Durham, particularly those who enjoy historical fiction.
– Sally Markham

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