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Demographic Data

Using Ancestry, we identified the race of many of the workers we found in the ledgers. This data - average wages and hours worked, divided by race - is only made possible through that resource, but it's also inherently limited by it. Because Ancestry draws from census data, city directories, and death certificates, we had to hope that workers stayed put in Durham through 1930 (or, until their deaths). We also decided to prioritize those names that appeared most often on the ledgers. Compounded, this means that our methodology privileges the less transient worker: the worker with the steady job and a stable income, a worker who is more likely to be white. (Which could explain why we've identified so many more white workers than black.)

As you're looking through these graphs remember, too, the historical backdrop of the construction project. In North Carolina, racial discrimination and segregation are legal. Black public schools are underfunded and lacking resources, limiting the average black worker's employment opportunities. Even when black workers do attain the necessary skill sets to become, say, a carpenter or a plumber, the state can still refuse to grant them licenses. (And it did, persistently: see "Race and Labor" under the Spotlights tab.) That's our setting: welcome to the Jim Crow South.

# White Workers: 71

# Black Workers: 40

Average White Wage: 46.42¢

Average Black Wage: 31.92¢

Average White Hours: 32.7

Average Black Hours: 35.13

Based on workers in the University Treasury Dept Payroll Ledgers and information we could find on Ancestry.com

Laborer

Number of White Workers:

16

Number of Black Workers:

33

Painter

Number of White Workers:

17

Number of Black Workers:

5

Electrician

Number of White Workers:

6

Number of Black Workers:

0

Carpenter

Number of White Workers:

19

Number of Black Workers:

2

Plumber

Number of White Workers:

7

Number of Black Workers:

0

Mechanic

Number of White Workers:

4

Number of Black Workers:

0

Operator

Number of White Workers:

9

Number of Black Workers:

3

Liggett & Myers Lab Helper

Number of White Workers:

0

Number of Black Workers:

2

Helper

Number of White Workers:

5

Number of Black Workers:

3

Painter's Helper

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Electrician's Helper

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Carpenter's Helper

Plumber's Helper

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

1

Mechanic's Helper

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Operator's Helper

Number of White Workers:

0

Number of Black Workers:

4

Foreman

Number of White Workers:

4

Number of Black Workers:

0

Paint Foreman

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Lineman

Number of White Workers:

5

Number of Black Workers:

0

Brick Mason

Number of White Workers:

2

Number of Black Workers:

0

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Pipefitter

Steamfitter

Number of White Workers:

2

Number of Black Workers:

0

Ice Machine Operator

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Canvasser

Number of White Workers:

1

Number of Black Workers:

0

Payroll at Duke University, 1927- 1930, Boxes 32-33, Office of the

University Treasurer, Duke University Archives, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Durham, N.C. 

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