The Friends of Oberlin Village, through preservation and education, honors Oberlin, one of the last known surviving free and freedmen's villages in the state of North Carolina that grew out of an antebellum Free Black settlement.
Oberlin Village is a thriving diverse community that preserves and honors its rich heritage, founded by Free Blacks whose strengths and struggles continue to inform history and influence racial reconciliation.
our Passion Our Purpose
We are honoring Oberlin Village by advocating the preservation of the original homes, restoring the Historic Oberlin Cemetery headstones and grounds; and conducting oral histories of the founding descendants and residents.
The rich history of Oberlin’s community is still being discovered within the personal vaults of the historic homes and cemetery; family Bibles, between walls, stashed news clippings, and carved headstones share the true stories of the struggles and strengths of the Free Black founders and generations of long-term residents. Preserving these places accurately informs history and positively influences racial reconciliation.
We are honoring our Oberlin founders, descendants, and beloved community with commemorative public art, celebratory events, narrative trails, and the naming of schools, streets, and businesses.
We are educating the public with documentaries, brochures, guided walking tours, and presentations to community groups, churches, civic organizations, and schools. Additionally, we are cultivating research partnerships with area universities.
Oberlin: A Village Rooted in Freedom
Reveals how a historic preservation project has helped recover the story of the thriving community of Oberlin Village the only known surviving Antebellum enclave in the state of North Carolina founded by Free Blacks. At the height of its prosperity, the highly respected Village of Oberlin had more than 1200 inhabitants before being compromised by racial injustices disguised as urban renewal progress. The renovation of two 1880s houses by Preservation North Carolina has exposed remarkable stories about the families who lived there and their beloved community. (Documentary Runtime 56:32)
Historic Oberlin Cemetery 2023 Clean-up Dates
Saturday July 15, October 28
9 a.m. Rain or Shine!!
Wilson Temple United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Fourth Monday except December
Registration is required. Request an invitation by completing the Contact Us form.
Guided Walking Tour of Oberlin
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Tours usually occur on the third Saturday of each month.
Sign up by completing our Contact Us form.
In the News
RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) — While many Raleighites know and love the Village District shopping center, they…
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — They were the Raleigh college students who helped ignite a movement for…
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Oberlin Village is one of the last known surviving freedmen’s villages in…
OUR PURSUIT TO PRESERVE
Join Us for a Tour!
Walking Tours of Oberlin Village lead by an FOV volunteer are available the third Saturday of each month. Tours start at 1:30 p.m. October through April, and at 10:00 a.m. May through September. Custom dates can be scheduled for groups of 10 or more.
Tours are free but you must sign up by completing our contact us form.
Celebrating our Volunteers
Cheryl Crooms Williams
A descendant of one of the founding families of Oberlin, Cheryl Crooms Williams returned home and thrives in researching and sharing the rich history of the community. For many years, Cheryl’s maternal Turner family ancestors served as the sexton of the Oberlin Cemetery. Today Cheryl continues the stewardship of the National Historic Oberlin Cemetery by serving as the Chair of the FOV cemetery committee. This committee hosts the multiple community cemetery “straighten ups” that have transformed the cemetery from a place of disrepair to a place of dignity. After retirement and several requests to help us grow, Cheryl kept to her promise and joined the Friends of Oberlin Village. In addition, to her devotion to the cemetery she has served as a Board Member and the Education Chair. Her “boots on the ground” request for signatures was vital to the establishment of the Oberlin Historic Overlay District. Attendees of the FOV guided walking tours especially enjoy her narration of the rich history of Oberlin. We thank Cheryl for being such a passionate advocate of our organization and community!
Help Build a Village
Oberlin Historic Overlay District [Oberlin HOD]
To further preserve and enhance the core of Oberlin Village, including its seven Historic properties, in 2018 City Council adopted Historic Overlay zoning within the outline shown on the next page. Links to the zoning ordinance and the Historic Research Report are available. Regulations provide specific guidance on building materials, landscaping and architectural features. If you wish to make changes to the exterior of your home and it is within the HOD, staff members at the Raleigh Historic Development Commission will be happy to help you. Please call (919) 832-7238 or visit the RHDC website.