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Raleigh's Black Heritage and Historic Places: 1945-1975

The history and heritage behind Raleigh’s black architects, builders, and buildings.

Six oral history interviews have been completed to date, and we are still working to collect more stories. We are seeking volunteers to participate in an interview and share about historic places important to Raleigh’s Black community between 1945-1975. If interested, please contact the city’s Historic Preservation Unit at historicpreservation@raleighnc.gov.

Project Details

Historic Preservation
Date Range:
Project Lead:
Tania Georgiou Tully
Mary Ruffin Hanbury
Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Unit:
Historic PreservationHistoric Preservation



Planning is in progress for a fall 2023 meeting.  View the project schedule below. 

Please visit the meeting summary page to view the meeting recording from the September 13, 2022 meeting, download presentation slides, sign up to be alerted about future community meetings, and access the city’s previous Raleigh Roots/Culture Town project oral history interviews.

The Planning and Development Department, in partnership with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission and consultant Mary Ruffin Hanbury, is conducting an architectural survey to identify places important to Black history and heritage in Raleigh. The project focus is from 1945-1975 and will include a list of significant historic places (both existing and lost), with a special emphasis on churches, entertainment venues, the Civil Rights movement, Black architects and builders, and the Biltmore Hills neighborhood. Finally, it will recommend buildings and sites that are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

What is an architectural survey?

  • Primarily a tool used to form a comprehensive understanding of a community’s heritage and to develop an inventory of important historic resources.
  • Provides a list of the types, styles, and features of each historic resource present in the study area.
  • Can also include an analysis of cultural landscape resources such as parks, public spaces, roads, cemeteries, and natural resources present in the community.


  • Community meeting to introduce the project (Completed May 11, 2022) 
  • Document research by consultant Mary Ruffin Hanbury (Completed) 
  • Community meeting to provide project updates (Completed September 13, 2022) 
  • Up to ten (10) oral history interviews (Winter 2022- Summer 2023). 
  • Draft report review by the State Historic Preservation Office (Completed) 
  • Final draft report available for public comment (Anticipated August 2023)
  • Community meeting to share the results of the study (Anticipated September/October 2023)
  • Report presented to the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (Anticipated fall 2023)
  • Report presented to the Raleigh City Council (Anticipated late fall 2023)
  • Identified properties submitted to the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee (2024)


Part of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission’s (RHDC) mission is to identify and recommend properties and neighborhoods for historic designation. This includes Raleigh Historic LandmarksRaleigh Historic Overlay Districts, and National Register designation. Broad citywide updates to the architectural survey and targeted context studies help identify properties. Previous context reports prepared include Kit Homes and the Method Community

In 2021, RHDC staff submitted a grant request to fund an architectural survey to expand the City’s knowledge of Black architectural and cultural resources. This project follows a previous study, conducted in the late 1980s that resulted in the publication of Culture Town: Life in Raleigh's African American Communities. The overall project budget is $40,000. The grant funding received is $20,000. The remaining funds are from the Planning and Development budget targeted for historic reports and surveys. A consultant was hired in the winter of 2021.