Oberlin

Edward Neuwirth

As a child, Brandi Neuwirth remembers family chatter about her great-great-grandfather owning a school in North Carolina. But she was young and North Carolina seemed a world away from the life she lived in New York City. Her great-great-grandfather the Rev. Morgan Latta had a vision of a school that would educate the children of freed slaves.

Old Oberlin Road schoolhouse archive photo.
Albert Barden Collection, State Archives of North Carolina

Oberlin Village is an important part of Raleigh’s history — but there is not much of the historic African American community left.

photo of a garden area, with several spires made of earthy material, rising about 10-15 feet into the air
Courtesy of Clearscapes

The new “Oberlin Rising” monument in Raleigh commemorates one of the first African-American communities in the city. After the Civil War, Southern land was divided into parcels and sold to former slaves, and Raleigh’s Oberlin Village was made up of several of these parcels. It was established in 1866 as one of the first freedmen communities in the city. Oberlin’s history is largely overlooked, and development has nearly erased the community from the landscape.