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Thomas Day Statue 4--Holding a Planer | by David Hoffman '41
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Thomas Day Statue 4--Holding a Planer

[The series on Thomas Day contains 13 images] This is a creative commons image, which you may freely use by linking to this page. Please respect the photographer and his work.

 

Taken outside the North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh. I had many interior shots of his finely-crafted furniture, but they were awful, overpowered by visual noise.

 

The following is from the Wikipedia article on Thomas Day. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Day_(North_Carolina)

 

“Thomas Day (c1801-c1861) was a free black American furniture designer and cabinetmaker in Caswell County, North Carolina. Day's furniture-making business became one of the largest of its kind in North Carolina, employing at one point up to twelve workers, and distributing furniture to wealthier customers throughout the state. Much of Day's furniture was produced for prominent political leaders, the state government, and the University of North Carolina.”

 

“Day began his cabinetmaking business in Milton, North Carolina with his brother, John Day, Jr., but his brother left Caswell County by 1825, leaving the cabinetry business solely to Thomas. John Day would later emigrate to Liberia and serve as Chief Justice of Liberia.”

 

“Day's furniture-making business, though owned by a free black American, employed the use of both black slaves and of white apprentices, despite the general belief that Day, as a free man, was of lower social stature than his white apprentices.”

 

“As a businessman, Day was quite successful, at one point becoming a stockholder in the State Bank of North Carolina, and Day owned significant real estate, including his place of business and residence. This was highly unusual for a free person of color in the era before the American Civil War. Day had even managed to steam-power much of his furniture-making implements, which aided greatly in his production volume and efficiency. A national economic panic in 1857 caused Day's furniture business to suffer heavily, and in 1861 or at some time shortly after, Thomas Day died, although his exact death date is not known due to the lack of local public records. Day's home and workshop have been restored and are significant points of local and state history. In addition, his furniture was and is still seen as some of the highest quality antebellum, native furniture in North Carolina. Pieces of Day's work have been displayed at various museums throughout North Carolina and Virginia, and an exhibit of Day's work opened at the North Carolina Museum of History in May, 2010.”

 

“Due to Day's status as a free black, and his unique achievements given the social and racial restrictions of the era, he is hailed as a highly important figure in the history of North Carolina's African American culture.”

 

1] www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ncccha/biographies/thomasday.html

2] www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-antebellum/5082

3] Thomas Day Education Project—http://thomasday.net/

4] North Carolina Museum of History press release—http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/wgo/press_04122010a.html

5] photos of furniture—http://www.ncdcr.gov/features/thomas_day.asp

 

 

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Taken on November 11, 2010