Born to free African American parents during the Civil War, Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863-1923) was trained to be a school teacher, but after several years teaching high school he entered Leonard Medical School at Shaw University. He graduated in 1888 and became the first black physician in Durham.
In 1898, Moore and other investors founded the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co., and later persuaded the Duke family into backing a hospital for African Americans. When Lincoln Hospital opened in 1901, Moore became its first superintendent. After Mutual’s office moved from Main Street to Parrish Street in 1905 Moore moved his own medical practice there and in 1908 he and others opened the Bull City Drug Co., a pharmacy, on Parrish Street with a second branch, on Fayetteville Street in Hayti.
Moore also founded the first public library for African Americans, as a book collection at White Rock Baptist Church. The collection and its patronage rapidly grew and led to creation of the Stanford L. Warren public library.
Moore’s home was on Fayetteville Street next door to White Rock. It was demolished during Durham Freeway construction in the 1960s.