• Visit the Voices of Oberlin Exhibit June 15 - September 22 at the Block Gallery located at 222 W Hargett St, Raleigh, open 8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.

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.


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.


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.


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 2023 Clean-up Dates

Saturday  October 28

9 a.m. Rain or Shine!!

Wilson Temple

FOV Meetings

Wilson Temple United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.,  4th Monday except December

Registration is required. Request an invitation by completing the Contact Us form.

Woman with micorphone speaking to crowd.

Guided Walking Tour of Oberlin

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 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

Voices of Oberlin Exhibit Image

Voices of Oberlin Celebrates the Faces of Raleigh’s Oldest Historically Black Neighborhood

June 20, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — The nation is preparing to mark its newest federal holiday on…

Friends of Oberlin Hosts 5K Honoring One of Raleigh’s Oldest Black Communities

June 20, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) — The Friends of Oberlin Village is bringing back the Heritage 5K tomorrow,…

Historic Marker Honors Black Students Arrested in 1960 Sit-In

May 12, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (WRAL) — While many Raleighites know and love the Village District shopping center, they…


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 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.

Cheryl Williams-Cropped

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!


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.