Sign of Oberlin Rising park with different patterns of hands beneath the sign.

The earliest beginnings of the settlement along present-day Oberlin Road, about two miles west of the State Capitol in Raleigh, have been attributed to the actions of a small group of white families at the end of the Civil War, who sold home sites to former slaves. At this time Oberlin Road was a “commanding ridge less than two miles distant from the State Capitol” known as the New Hillsboro Road. It extended north-south from Hillsboro Road skirting the farmland of Paul C. Cameron (son of Duncan Cameron, who died in 1854), whose house stood across from St. Mary’s College. The New Hillsboro Road was renamed Oberlin Road in the early 1870s. According to oral tradition, the Camerons gave home sites along this road to their emancipated slaves, who founded the Oberlin community.

– Excerpt from History of Oberlin Village by M. Ruth Little, Longleaf Historic Resources, Raleigh, N.C. May 2012

Historical Statements

Claudia Morgan Johnson

1980

Raleigh City Directory

“I wish now that they'd leave the houses and stop putting up oce building in Oberlin.”

Rose Morgan-Goode

May 1990

Culture Town

“It was like living in a little pocket.”

Delores B. Wilder

June 1989

Culture Town

“I remember a close- knit community... In fact, everybody in the neighborhood was close and anything that happened, everybody knew it.”

Frank James Flagg

May 1989

Culture Town

"Great contributions have been made to the city of Raleigh, Wake County and, maybe, the state and country by people from Oberlin. Those early technicians were responsible for much of the labor that was applies to the growth of Raleigh."

Historical Timeline

1865

Civil War Ends; Reconstruction Begins; Lewis Peck, wealthy white grocer, divided his farm into lots sold to African Americans at about $50/acre; Wilson Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church founded (later Wilson Temple)

1866

Oberlin Village founded along old Hillsboro Road as “Peck’s Place”, nicknamed “Save Rent”

1868

Raleigh Cooperative Land and Building Association provided financial aid to freed men to purchase land and build homes.

1870

New Hillsboro Road renamed Oberlin Road

1872

Oberlin community drafted letter to Daily News editor that their village should be known as “Oberlin.”

1873

Wilson Temple United Methodist church building completed, presumably after James H. Harris’s alma mater Oberlin College in Ohio named in honor of Wilson Morgan, a Wake Co. State Representative and resident who donated the land. Oberlin Cemetery officially established according to oral tradition, the site was previously a slave graveyard.

1877

(1) Wake County Referendum funds a new building for Oberlin Graded School. A wooden one room school house was built by 1882. The school was formerly housed in Wilson Temple United Methodist Church. (2)Reconstruction ends, marking the return of “home rule” in the South.

1880

First Baptist Church of Oberlin formally established in the 2000 block of Wade Avenue, under guidance of former slave, Rev. Plummer T. Hall, and the church is often referred to as “Halls Chapel”.

1892

Rev. Morgan L. Latta founds Latta University along Parker Street. The school provided industrial or vocational education, a night school, and orphanage.

1896

1896

(1) Present building of Wilson Temple United Methodist church constructed at 1023 Oberlin Road. (2) Plessy v. Ferguson: “separate but equal” doctrine 1911 established.

1912

Halls Chapel and Mt. Moriah Baptist Church merge to form Oberlin Baptist Church at its current location, 806 Oberlin Road.

1916

Oberlin School builds new, large brick building with eight classrooms.

1922

Oberlin School builds new, large brick building with eight classrooms.

1947

Construction begins on Cameron Village.

1948

Shelly v. Kramer: discriminatory restrictive covenants illegal to enforce Raleigh neighborhoods like Cameron Park, Hayes Barton, and Oakwood all had restrictive covenants excluding black ownership.

1954

(1) Wade Ave. Extension: Work begins to widen Wade Avenue and extend it east to Capital Boulevard. Oberlin Village homes along this stretch of Oberlin Road are demolished for the project. (2) Brown v. Board of Education: school segregation is unconstitutional

1956

(1) Joe Holt, Jr. of Oberlin Village is denied admission to the all-white Josephus Daniels Junior High School. The 1st attempt to desegregate the Raleigh public schools. (2) New brick church built to replace Oberlin Baptist church building that was destroyed by fire in 1955. (3) Historic Oberlin Village pamphlet research and designed by Rebecca Ryan.

1958

Oberlin Road overpass spanning Wade Avenue is built. Oberlin Village is split in two. Part of a larger trend of Urban Renewal in the country at this time. These programs disproportionately displaced black communities.

1964

Civil Rights Act: outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

1966

The Raleigh School Board permanently closes Oberlin School. Oberlin School was the district’s sole black school in western Raleigh.

1967

Community Grocery at 901 Oberlin Road begins as a small grocery store, one of many neighborhood stores along Oberlin, but the only one still existing.

1968

Fair Housing Act: protects the buyer or renter of a dwelling from seller or landlord discrimination. (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) Built in front of the older wooden school at 1012 Oberlin Road, where Interact currently exists.

1974

Vacant Oberlin School building across from Wilson Temple church is demolished, and a new YWCA building is erected in its place.

1983

Large oce building is constructed across from Oberlin Baptist church (801 Oberlin Road), This construction displaced several Oberlin Village houses.

1992 – 1996

First wave of Oberlin Village houses receive Historic Landmark designation by Raleigh Historic Development Commission

2007

The last remaining building of Latta University is destroyed by fire.

2011

Friends of Oberlin Village is founded.