Raymond Eurquhart (d. 2020) was a community activist for more than 40 years. He remembers boycotting the cafeteria at Hillside High School as a student to support wage increases for underpaid workers. In the Air Force during the Vietnam era, he served in England and took up with war protesters and the Black Panther Movement and declared himself a socialist. Eurquhart returned to Durham North Carolina and embarked on two careers in machinery and maintenance for both the American Tobacco Company and the city's Department of Water Management. As a city employee, he was an active leader in the Durham City Workers Union UE 150, says Jackie Carroll-Garcia, a long-time member.
"He really got involved in talking with the [city] council one-on-one, trying to help employees achieve certain benefits," she says. Though a retiree, Eurquhart is still an active member of the union. He also has served 16 years in elected public office as a soil and water conservation district supervisor, and he works on a committee to gain popular recognition in Durham for Pauli Murray, a noted civil rights activist who grew up in the city.
He says he learned the importance of activism from his mother, Mary E. Williams, who worked as a baker in the kitchen at the Woolworth's in Durham during milestone protests against lunch-counter segregation, Eurquhart says. She saw and experienced the Jim Crow era with agonizing proximity. "She taught me the role," he says. "Prepared me for the question of class and race."
Durham for All
Raymond Eurquhart was active in Durham for All from its beginnings in 2016 to his death in 2020.
Raymond Eurquhart I shared some wonderful times with Jim and the workers commission and always learned much from his organizing history....RIP, Jim!!
Probably the Workers Commission of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
People’s Durham's mission, says organizer Sendolo Diaminah, is to "further the agenda of justice in Durham," particularly southeast-central Durham, which has not benefited from the downtown renaissance and the bio-tech distinction of Research Triangle Park.
"We're here to increase the power and influence of the working class in Durham, particularly in black and Latino communities, the people who have the least amount of voice in the city," says Lauren Merin of People’s Durham.
The group formed in 2009, when Diaminah, Raymond Eurquhart (a previous Citizen Award winner) and several volunteer activists and community organizers met inside the cramped conference room at Southside Neighborhood Association Outreach Center at Enterprise and South streets.
- Special thanks to my lifelong colleagues Max Elbaum and Linda Burnham and to Jon Liss, Lynn Koh, Carl Davidson, Ajamu Dillahunt, Raymond Eurquhart and Bill Fletcher, Jr. for their comments, critiques and suggestions.
Durham People’s Alliance endorsement
The Durham People’s Alliance endorsed Raymond Eurquhart in 2014.
Decrim Durham Election Forum
Sendolo Diaminah April 12 (2018).
Want to meet the candidates for sheriff and district attorney? Want to hear community folks ask them the questions we care about? Come through this saturday for our election forum co-hosted with SpiritHouse NC, All Of Us Or None NC, Southerners On New Ground and BYP100 Durham Chapter! Can't make it? Share it with your friends :)
Aiden Riley Graham, Aidil Ortiz, Nia Wilson, D’atra Jackson, Alec Greenwald, Carolina Alzuru, Carol Reiner-Yepez, Anna Duncan, Bennett D. Carpenter, Elainiel Baldwin, Bryan Proffitt, Hashim Benford, Osunfunke Omisade Burney-Scott, Mikel Barton, Courtney Sebring, Chanelle Croxton, Dove Kent, Danielle Purifoy, Raymond Eurquhart, Thaddaeus Allen Edwards, Tom Feltner, Felicia Arriaga, Gen Na, Magan Gonzales Thigpen, Holly Hardin, Kori Higgs, Jesse Huddleston, Mya Hunter, Undreya Hudson, Parker T. Hurley, Sufia Ikbal-Doucet, Jennifer Frye, Kimber Jean, Turquoise LeJeune Parker, LeAndre Demond Blakeney, Lisa McCool-Grime, Pierce Freelon, Quinton Harper, Quita Tinsley, Rodrigo Dorfman, Serena Sebring, Santos Flores, Matthew Sears, Seamus Robertson, Vernetta R. Alston.