Visual Narratives of Inequality

Visual Narratives of Inequality

Artist in Residence and documentary filmmaker Bruce Orenstein and his students have produced videos for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Democracy NC, and the North Carolina NAACP.

The Visual Narratives of Inequality working group engages in digital storytelling that highlights issues of social and economic inequality.

The Narratives of Inequality working group embodies the philosophy that showing the human effects of unjust policies is a powerful tool for informing policymaking in the present—and working towards a more equitable future.

This working group collaborates closely with researchers, community leaders, and the public to communicate the historical practices, lived experiences, and adverse effects of social inequality.

The group employs a multifaceted approach, utilizing filmmaking, podcasts, social media and other visual mediums to convey the lived realities of those affected by inequality.


Shame of Chicago

Shame of Chicago logoDirected by documentary filmmaker and Artist in Residence Bruce Orenstein, Shame of Chicago: Shame of the Nation is a four-part documentary series that brings alive the story of how Chicago’s real estate industry designed and exported the practices and policies that racially divided America’s northern cities during the 20th century. This series chronicles the history of housing segregation and its lasting impact on America’s racial wealth gap. It is scheduled to be broadcast on public television in April 2024 and then placed on the Cook Center website where it’ll be available as a teaching resource for educators nationwide. For questions, contact Bruce Orenstein at

Voices in Equity Podcast

Voices in Equity is the official podcast of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. In this series, we invite subject matter experts discuss the various causes and consequences of inequality while considering remedies for these disparities. For questions, contact Amber Holland at

Cook Center Media Workshop

The Cook Center Media Workshop was a group of student interns dedicated to using media and storytelling to create social change. Under the direction of documentary filmmaker and Artist in Residence Bruce Orenstein, students directed, edited, and produced videos that highlight issues of social and economic inequality in North Carolina.

Past projects have explored racial inequality in Durham’s school-to-prison pipeline, the challenges facing North Carolina’s low-wage workers, and the impact of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. These videos have been featured on a multitude of platforms including ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, UNC Public Radio, the 2013 Summer Retreat of Congressional Democrats, and the 2015 Oral History Association National Conference. For questions, contact Bruce Orenstein at

Durham's Black Wall Street: Finding Freedom Through Entrepreneurship

Durham's Black Wall Street is an exhibition that looks at the key themes behind the success of Black Wall Street in Durham, North Carolina: capital, courage, and connection. Visitors have the opportunity to hear from people who experienced Black Wall Street and Hayti, Durham's Black business district under segregation, first-hand through listening stations and videos.

Displays celebrating Durham African American History via Durham's Black Wallstreet

Through an interactive touchscreen, they are able to explore many of the Black businesses in Hayti that were lost to the City of Durham's Urban Renewal program in the 1960s. The exhibition ends with the current moment, marked by the decline of Black business nationally, and points to lessons from the Black Wall Street era as a path towards addressing the racial wealth gap through meaningful support for entrepreneurs today.

The physical exhibition is located on the first floor of the historic NC Mutual Tower in downtown Durham, North Carolina. The exhibit is also available virtually and can be accessed by clicking the button below. For questions, contact Quran Karriem at

Team Members