On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, a meeting was held at the Biltmore Hills Community Center to kickoff Raleigh’s Black Heritage and Historic Places: 1945-1975 study.
At the meeting, project consultant Mary Ruffin Hanbury introduced herself and gave a brief background on past survey work that has been done in Raleigh. Many of the past oral history interview recordings and transcripts conducted as a part of the Raleigh Roots and Culture Town projects were discussed. Those who are interested can find them in the City of Raleigh Museum’s Online Collections Database.
Mary Ruffin explained what an architectural survey is and why the city is pursuing this grant project. An architectural survey is a process of identifying and gathering information about historic architectural resources. Documenting these places – and the people and events that have made them significant to a community – is often the first step towards responsible cultural resource stewardship. Mary Ruffin also highlighted the project’s scope of work, including the questions the study is trying to answer, how the research will be conducted, and requested input from members of the community about places that should be studied. Questions were also answered about the project timeline, where to track the project’s progress, and how individuals can participate further and share information about historic places that are important to them. The consultant and participants had an engaging discussion regarding the neighborhood history and resident concerns about the impacts of growth around them.
Mary Ruffin highlighted the goals and potential outcomes of the study, including the final report. The report will make recommendations to the city and state about places that may be eligible to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Register is a largely honorary designation and does not impose any local regulations or prevent demolition. For interested property owners or neighborhoods, the report could also be used to pursue local historic designation, although historic designation is not a required outcome of the study for anyone. The study will not designate any properties as historic, only recommend properties that may be eligible with more in-depth research.
Ultimately, we hope to celebrate Raleigh’s Black heritage and historic places and help more members of the public learn about the important people and stories behind them. We invite you to tell our consultant about historic places in Raleigh that are important to you by participating in our online survey.
View the meeting presentation slides.