Nearly a decade ago, Durham Public Schools purchased 50+ acres off of Scott King Road – land that was once owned and operated as the Lyon’s family farm. With growth and development in Southern Durham continuing in the years ahead, there is an urgent need for additional elementary school seats to provide equitable opportunities for all DPS students, present and future. The site and location for this new school along Scott King Road are ideal in support of DPS’ Strategic Plan to provide all DPS students with a rich education connected to the community.
Southern Durham’s lush agricultural and cultural landscape provides a fitting backdrop to the community’s deep and complex history. The heavily wooded area nestled in Durham County along Scott King Road is a mosaic of old, historic farmhouses and the fast-growing housing developments rising out of the thicketed forest. This area of Southern Durham was once the site of a bustling tobacco boom that supported small- to large-scale family farms raising livestock and other crops. For many families, especially African Americans, this land represented community, thriving commerce, freedom, and financial stability.
One such historic family was the Lyon family, who worked the land as many of Durham’s families during this time. The Lyons owned a piece of property that was around 70 acres and leased portions of it out to tobacco farmers. Through post-reconstruction and much of the 20th Century, the Lyon family fought legally, emotionally, and sometimes physically to keep their land and protect their livelihood. Through their farm, the Lyon family was one of many African-American families that contributed to the growth and economic opportunities for Durham.
We hope through your feedback a name can be chosen for the school that represents the past, present, and future of the area and possibilities.