Thomas Day

Bronze sculpture pic of Thomas Day

Thomas Day was a master craftsmen, successful entrepreneur [a person who starts a business] and a free man of color. In the 1850's when many people of color were slaves, Thomas Day was running his own thriving business. He was born in southern Virginia to free land owning African-American parents in 1801, and later moved to North Carolina. Thomas Day’s father, John Day, taught him to work with wood and make furniture. With this training, Thomas Day built and operated the largest cabinet shop in North Carolina before the Civil War. His company made not only cabinets, but furniture, and architectural decorations. Thomas Day had many important clients like governors and major universities in the south. He is considered one of the founding fathers of furniture making in North Carolina. Thomas Day’s workshop is now a museum in Milton, North Carolina.

Pic of Thomas Day dresser
Pic of Thomas Day sewing stand
Did You Know?


  • Thomas Day was one the first to use (steam) powered tools in his workshop.
  • Thomas Day’s work has been exhibited in major museums in Washington, D.C.
  • Thomas Day had slaves, free blacks and whites working for his business.