Our History

Our history starts in 2005 when the center opened its doors as The Durham Mediation Center and was functioning under the umbrella of WoMen in Action.

WoMen In Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. was founded in 1968, a year of turbulence and racial tension filled with protest and civil disorder when it would seem all but impossible to bring Blacks and Whites together to accomplish anything.  The Vietnam War raged on and Reverend Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, then a candidate for president, were assassinated.  A prominent Durham resident and activist, Elna B. Spaulding was invited to attend a McCall’s Magazine conference entitled, “What Women Can Do To End Violence in America.”  Inspired by conference speakers such as Margaret Meade, Coretta Scott King, and Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Spaulding returned to Durham, determined to form an organization of women to take action; she sent out a call-to-action through the local newspaper.  On September 7, 1968, more than one hundred women, Blacks and Whites, responded to the call and Women In Action for the Prevention of Violence and its Causes was founded.

The Clearinghouse was born of the agency’s original work.  When Women In Action was founded, its members took an unusual stand in a town divided by racial tension, making the choice to form racial bonds and facilitate communicate and understanding among the races.  In 1970, Women In Action worked to keep the community informed about the integration of the public schools after the Supreme Court mandated that schools integrate with school busing.  The Clearinghouse became a vital service during the 70’s through the 90’s—before United Way formed its 211-hotline.  The Clearinghouse was the place for Durham citizens to get information regarding consumer issues, public assistance, and other available resources. WRAL and Women In Action collaborated to create a program that informed the community on various consumer issues including questions concerning medical, legal and tax issues.  Women In Action volunteers helped promote the show and man the telephones for WRAL’s “Call to Action.”  The program was such a success that WRAL staffed the show as a regular series that remains popular today.

Women In Action partnered with many agencies to bridge the gap and provide resources for people of all races and backgrounds.  Partners of Women In Action included:  Project Safe Neighborhoods, Durham Crisis Response Center, DJJDDP, Durham County Criminal Justice Resource Center, NCCU, Durham Public Schools, and the courts.

During the summer of 2001 the Board of Directors met to discuss the future of WIA. The Board decided it needed to change directions as the Clearinghouse had little value. A new director was hired in October of the same year and the decision of the new direction was made by the new ED.

In 2004 the ED approached Durham Delegation about funding a community mediation center. A committee was formed with mainly members of the defunct Dispute Settlement Center of Durham County.  The ED reached out to Durham leaders for their written support and the Durham Delegation fought for funding.

In July 2005 the North Carolina General Assembly funded the Center. The Durham Mediation Center opened its doors functioning under the umbrella of WoMen in Action.

In August of 2011, the organizational name was changed to Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., and shifted all its efforts towards Mrs. Spaulding’s view of using peaceful approaches to solving the problems of violence in our community.

To learn more about our services, please contact us.