Shanklin’s Press

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Shanklin’s Press

When Gerald Shanklin was growing up, he remembers listening to the adults talking politics at the family’s press business.

It’s not surprising given that his father, Thomas Shanklin, was an independent Black businessman and a former president of the Northern Orange NAACP. The Shanklin family’s printing press business was a key part of the Hillsborough community from the 1960s until the 1980s.

The business started as a side venture out of the family home while Thomas Shanklin was still working on the press at the News of Orange County. For a time, it was in the heart of Hillsborough’s Black downtown in the basement of one of Roosevelt Warner’s ventures, then it moved to a building on Cornelius Street.

Gerald Shanklin, like his siblings, worked at the press growing up – starting by running errands and moving up to the letterpress when he was 12 years old. As the business grew to add more equipment, it became a full-service print shop.

Shanklin’s Press printed a wide range of items, including business cards, advertising mailers, memorial programs for the Black funeral homes, political materials for many local candidates, and promotional posters for entertainers who came to the area.

“We printed everything. As my father brought in more equipment, we were able to do all the business cards, funeral programs, all the political materials… We had business from Orange County, Durham County, Wake County, Person County, Alamance County, and then around Yanceyville.”

-Gerald Shanklin