• Save the date:  Celebrate Oberlin!  September 17th  5:00 - 8:00 pm!
  • We invite you to review our 2021 Impact Report

Mission Statement

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.

Older Black people sitting in lawn chairs

Our Organization

The Friends of Oberlin Village is a grassroots organization that formed in 2011 and was designated a non-profit 501 (C)(3) organization in 2016.

Sabrina Goode's hand on Wilson Morgan Headstone

Our Vision

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

Old headstones standing in a cemetery.

Preserve

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.

Marines folding the US flag.

Honor

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.

Over 100 men and women from Oberlin served in the military including the Poole family who had six sons that served during the same period. Cpl. Hubert Andrew Poole posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor for distinguished achievement as a Montford Point Marine. The ceremony was held at Wilson Temple United Methodist Church, Raleigh N.C. on August 19, 2012.

Learn More
1959 Holt Family black and white portrait.

Educate

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.

After reconstruction Oberlin Village had one of the highest concentrations of educated Blacks in North Carolina.  Education was paramount to self-sufficiency; therefore the Oberlin School (1873) and Latta University (1892) was established within the village. The family of Joe Holt continued the fight for education excellence by leading the first effort to integrate the City of Raleigh public school system in North Carolina.

Learn More

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)

Our Community

Two people walking with a wheelbarrow that has debris from Oberlin cemetery clean up.

Upcoming Events

Man cutting back a fallen tree in the cemetery.

Historic Oberlin Cemetery Clean-up Dates

July 16, 2022
October 22, 2022

9 a.m. Rain or Shine!!

WTUMC with Garden Ruth Little-cropped(1)

FOV Meetings

Wilson Temple United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.,  Fourth Monday except December

We currently meet virtually. Request an invitation by completing the Contact Us form.

Woman with micorphone speaking to crowd.

Guided Walking Tour of Oberlin

10 a.m. - 11 a.m., Next Tour is August 20.  Tours usually occur on the third Saturday of each month.

Sign up by completing our Contact Us form.

News cameras and reporters covering an Oberlin event.

In the News

WRAL and Sabrina Goode Promote Oberlin Village Heritage 5K

June 16, 2022

Sabrina Goode, Friends of Oberlin Village Executive Director, invited the community to participate in the…

Headshot of Ross

Name Change to Oberlin Village Post Office is Official

May 4, 2022

Raleigh, NC – After months of urging the USPS to change the name of the…

Dr. Capehardt

WakeMed Oberlin Opens

July 26, 2021

Oberlin medical pioneers and professionals are honored in the main entrance of the recently opened…

OUR PURSUIT TO PRESERVE

Fields-Graves House Restored

Before restoration and after restoration

Oberlin's Historic Cemetery

Before restoration and after restoration

Plummer T. Hall Restoration

Before restoration and after restoration

Join Us for a Tour!

Walking Tours of Oberlin Village lead by a FOV volunteer is available the third Saturday of each month starting at 10 a.m. 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.

Swade Sanders Portrait

Celebrating our Volunteers

Swade Sanders, Sr.

Another majestic oak has been lost in the Oberlin community; Swade D. Sanders, Sr. transitioned on May 3, 2022, two days after his 91st birthday. Although Swade resided in Method, a vanishing Black settlement near the fairgrounds, his passion for Oberlin was never ending. Swade had been a member of the FOV predecessor, Oberlin Neighborhood Association, and although it disbanded in the ‘80’s he continued without fanfare or recognition to maintain the Oberlin cemetery using his weed eater and own funds. Those of you who have attended our Celebrate Oberlin community gathering have undoubtedly enjoyed Swade's homemade pound cake, which he made with love and donated annually.

Serving 26 years with Greyhound, Swade helped to break racial barriers. In 1964 he was the first Black driver in Central North Carolina and one of two in the entire state. Swade joined Oberlin Baptist Church in 1952 and later served as the Chair of the Deacon Board. Swade was a stellar example of how small acts of kindness can bond a community and initiate conversations towards reconciliation. We will dearly miss him but will continue to honor his legacy through FOV's core values. 

 

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.