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.