(Photo from 1940 publication Who's Who Among North Carolina Negro Baptists, p.323. Available online at archive.org)
Richard L. McDougald was born in Columbus County, NC and graduated from now-North Carolina Central University. He was a bookkeeper at the Mechanics and Farmers Bank, started the Mutual Building and Loan Association in 1921, a real estate company that aimed to improve African-American home ownership. In 1922, the Merrick-Moore-Spaulding real estate company reorganized and added McDougald as a partner; the new venture was renamed Merrick-McDougald-Wilson, and managed the NC Mutual company's real estate.
According to the Bull City 150 project focusing on the unequal history of land ownership in Durham, McDougald made over 300 real estate purchases between 1919 and 1945.
McDougald would also be instrumental in the creation of The Carolina Times, loaning Louis Austin the money to purchase The Standard Advertiser and recast the paper as a forceful societal commentary. In addition to his business activities, he was active in religious organizations, serving as a trustee of White Rock Baptist Church.
McDougald died in 1944 and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery; his advocacy for better living conditions for African-Americans would result in the 1953 housing project on Lawson St. being named McDougald Terrace in his honor.