Tar Heel Talk: February 21st, 2016

Topic: Willie Otey Kay Exhibit

Guests: Diana Bell Kite and Earl Ijames, Curators, NC Museum of History


In this episode we take a look at the life and work of a Raleigh entrepreneur who overcame hardship and transcended racial boundaries to create a successful business. Willie Otey Kay was an African American clothing designer who held an esteemed clientele in the segregated South. Some of her incredible work is currently on display at the North Carolina Museum of History in an exhibit entitled “Made Especially for you By Willie Kay.” Mrs. Kay’s home was considered a safe haven for Civil Rights leaders in the 60’s. Willie Kay was also the grandmother of former state Auditor, the late Ralph Campbell, Jr. who was the first black person elected to a statewide political office in North Carolina.