Parrish Street

Parrish Street appears as "Clay Street" on the 1884 Sanborn Map, and extends from Willard Street (later Corcoran) east past Roxboro Street. By 1887 it had been renamed for Edward J. Parrish, who built a 65,000-square foot tobacco warehouse in 1879 that covered most of the block between Mangum and Church. Parrish lost most of his property due to financial reverses in the 1890s. In 1901, African American entrepreneur John Merrick bought a lot on Parrish Street at a sheriff's auction, and went on in the next few years to accumulate more lots along the street.

In 1905, Merrick moved North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance's office from main street to a new building on one of his Parrish lots. The street became a hub for black-owned businesses to the extent that, in 1949, Ebony magazine published an article about those firms titled "Wall Street of Negro America."

Edward James ParrishWilliam Jesse Kennedy Jr.Charles Clinton SpauldingWilliam Gaston Pearson Aaron McDuffie Moore
Major North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company BuildingJudicial BuildingAcademy of Music