On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, an in-person meeting was held at CAM Raleigh to share information about the RHDC’s ongoing LGBTQIA+ Historic Context Study. This was a follow-up to a virtual meeting held to kick off the study in October 2021.
At the meeting, Raleigh Pride co-founder, Trey Roberts, expressed the importance of preserving LGBTQIA+ spaces in Raleigh. Historic Preservation staff, Tania Tully, Erin Morton, and Collette Kinane introduced the historic context study and shared the citizen request that led to this study. They highlighted the lack of representation of LGBTQIA+ historic places on the National Register of Historic Places and in the roster of Raleigh Historic Landmarks. The context study will focus on places, buildings, and sites that tell the story of people. Although the study is comprehensive, it will not capture the entirety of the LGBTQIA+ history in Raleigh.
The benefits of a historic context study include:
- Honoring influential people and places.
- Sharing collected knowledge.
- Empowering independent community projects.
- Guiding future planning efforts through the identification of historic places.
Staff shared examples of past historic context studies undertaken in Raleigh such as Raleigh’s Kit Homes, Residential Development in the Village of Method, and Historic Context + Physical Evolution of Nash Square.
Free shared his experience with local organizations such as the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. Free was the first Director for Diversity of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and currently serves on the Virginia Board of Historic Resources. He is also the current Board Chair of the Rainbow Heritage Network. He contributed the chapter "'Where We Could Be Ourselves': African American LGBTQ Historic Places and Why They Matter" for the National Park Service’s LGBTQ Heritage Theme Study.
Free explained how he will conduct research for the study and project components, including a context narrative essay, list of places potentially eligible for local or national designation, 10 oral histories, public meetings, and recommendations for future study. There will be a focus on LGBTQIA+ history from the 1920s through the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. There was also a question on what will be done with the spaces that are no longer in existence. Staff highlighted the project’s schedule which aims to have a draft report by the end of the year with another community meeting to share the results. The end of the presentation included a demonstration of the online survey, which closes Aug 31, 2022.
Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and connect with the consultant. They discussed how spaces that no longer exist might be commemorated and recommended members of the community as potential candidates for an oral history interview. Attendees shared memories of events, places, people, and stories in the LGBTQIA+ community.
The City of Raleigh and the Raleigh Historic Development Commission are eager to learn more about the places important to the LGBTQIA+ community. We invite you to connect with our consultant, share your experiences, and participate in our online survey.
View the meeting presentation slides.