old photo image of people in a store


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

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

Raleigh's Black Heritage and Historic Places: 1945-1975 highlighted churches, entertainment venues, Black architects and building professionals, sites important to the Civil Rights Movement, and the Biltmore Hills neighborhood. The project suggests places for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and provides recommendations for further study. View the project summary (a project overview) and final report (complete study findings).

Project Details

Historic Preservation
Date Range:
Project Lead:
Tania Georgiou Tully
Mary Ruffin Hanbury

The Raleigh's Black Heritage & Historic Places: 1945-1975 report and project summary are now available. 


The Planning and Development Department, in partnership with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission and consultant Mary Ruffin Hanbury, conducted an architectural survey to identify places important to Black history and heritage in Raleigh. The project focused on the years between 1945-1975 and includes 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 recommends 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 Sept. 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 (Completed; Published Nov. 14 2023; comment period closed Dec. 2023)
  • Community meeting to share the results of the study (Completed Nov. 30, 2023)
  • Report presented to the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (Completed June 18, 2024)
  • Report presented to the Raleigh City Council (Completed July 2, 2024)
  • Identified properties submitted to the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee (Biltmore Hills Neighborhood added to NC Study List June 13, 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.