Mechanics & Farmers Bank

116 W Parrish St.
Durham, NC 27701

Mechanics and Farmers (M&F) Bank was established in 1907 to advance African American progress and build economic power. It is located in a National Historic Landmark building on Parrish Street, once known as Durham’s Black Wall Street.  Its founders—R.B. Fitzgerald, J.A. Dodson, J.R. Hawkins, John Merrick, Aaron M. Moore, W.G. Pearson, James E. Shepard, G.W. Stephens, and Stanford L. Warren— were all prominent community leaders who knew that access to capital was central to their efforts to build successful businesses and community institutions such as schools, hospitals and libraries.  

M&F is the second oldest Black bank in the US, having survived the Great Depression without closing.  In addition to supporting business interests, M&F made major investments in real estate mortgages, making home ownership more accessible for African Americans in the area and contributing to the establishment of middle class communities.  

Above all, M&F Bank proved to non-believers that African Americans with access to opportunity can be successful in the economic world.  They proved themselves as businessmen who could withstand racism, banking crises, and all other obstacles that came their way.  Mechanics and Farmers Bank provides the story of a fight for equality, respect, and freedom.  As Durham historian, William Boyd eloquently declared, “the American dollar knows no race and no creed.”