For the African American Community Outreach Program at Historic Oak View County Park, 4028 Carya Drive, Raleigh
The African American Community Outreach Program at Historic Oak View County Park developed out of the accidental discovery of a property deed that included the sale of an enslaved woman. As a result, Park Staff initiated research into the antebellum and slave history of the farm — an aspect of the farm’s history that had not previously been explored. What they discovered was a story of enslaved laborers developing a strong, tightly-knit community that continued to thrive after emancipation and even up to the present day.
Not just a research project, the Outreach program has two clear purposes: to enrich the interpretive program at the Park by telling the antebellum and slave history of the Park; and, to share the Park’s resources with the surrounding African American community. At an outreach event attended by more than sixty members of the local community – hosted by New Bethel Christian Church, a congregation that can trace its own roots to antebellum Oak View – those who attended the event were encouraged to bring their own genealogical research and questions. A special effort was made to reach out to families with surnames that had appeared frequently in the research. Staff also invited the approximately sixty attendees to share their personal histories for incorporation into future events and exhibits at the park; and, welcomed community members to visit Oak View to conduct additional research using the Park’s resources.
Although no slave houses remain at Historic Oak View County Park, the stories of the enslaved workers are a critical part of the site’s history. The extant structures at the park allow staff to interpret the lives of enslaved African Americans on the farm through their work spaces; but, Staff at Oak View has taken this interpretation of the landscape a step further by looking outside the Park’s boundaries. By taking history back to the descendants of the people who were enslaved on the farm, they have offered members of the community new links to their past.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2012 Anthemion Award to Wake County Government; New Bethel Christian Church; and In the Beginning Missionary Baptist Church for the African American Community Outreach Program at Historic Oak View County Park, 4028 Carya Drive, Raleigh.