Mantle and detail from William Long house

"Mantle and detail from William Long house"

Mantle and detail from William Long house, by Thomas Day


Bethel, Elizabeth Rauh. The Roots of African-American identity : memory and history in free antebellum communities. New York : St. Martin's Press, 1997.

Bishir, Catherine. Architects and Builders in North Carolina : The History of the Practice of Building.Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Franklin, John Hope. The Free Negro in North Carolina 1790-1860. Chapel Hill, NC : The University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Lovell, Margaretta M. " 'Such Furniture as Will Be Most Profitable': The Business of Cabinetmaking in Eighteenth-Century Newport," Winterthur Portfolio 26, no. 1 (Spring 1991): 27-62.

Marshall, Patricia Phillips and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll. Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color. University of North Carolina Press, 2010. 

Prown, Johathan. "The Furniture of Thomas Day: A Reevaluation," Winterthur Portfolio 33 (Winter 1998): 215-29.


1. Thomas Day was a free African American cabinetmaker and carpenter working in antebellum North Carolina. How did men in those trades learn their craft?

2. Thomas Day was a prominent member of the community supported and patronized by elite whites. Discuss the difficulties that free African Americans faced in a slave society.

3. Much of Thomas Day's architectural production is distinctive. Discuss why this might be so. Be certain to take into consideration the examples illustrated above.

4. Thomas Day ran a fairly large and typical shop or the nineteenth century. Discuss how these shops differed from those of the eighteenth century and speculate on what led to his business failure.

Mantle and detail from William Long house