Portraits of 15 Oberlin Village community members have been installed on the outside of Oberlin Regional Library at 1930 Clark Ave, Raleigh, NC 27605. The portraits are part of Voices of Oberlin, an exhibition on display at Block Gallery in downtown Raleigh that explores the memories of Oberlin community members through portraiture and oral histories that celebrate how special the Oberlin Village community is.
In addition to the portraits featured at Oberlin Regional Library, the Block Gallery exhibition includes other Oberlin Village community member portraits, each with a QR code linking to their oral histories, and historical photographs of the neighborhood. The oral histories were collected as part of the Oberlin Oral Histories Project.
A Reconstruction-era settlement of free African Americans, Oberlin Village residents have made significant contributions to North Carolina and the nation. What makes this community so great are its families and institutions. Through sharing memories and lessons from the mostly African American enclave, the spirit of Oberlin Village is made clear.
Learn more about the Voices of Oberlin Block Gallery Exhibition
About the Oberlin Oral Histories Project
Oberlin Oral Histories is a partnership project with the Friends of Oberlin Village and Raleigh Arts. In 2017, as a part of the Percent for Art Program associated with the Transportation Bond, Raleigh Arts began working with Friends of Oberlin Village and residents to develop the scope for a public art project along Oberlin Road.
During engagement, it became clear that capturing the voices of the Oberlin elders and original residents of Oberlin Village was vital for both the public art project and the City of Raleigh. Oral Histories were taken from 27 members of Oberlin Village selected by Friends of Oberlin Village. The interviews were taken throughout 2020-2021, mostly through virtual recording, due to the Covid 19 pandemic.