Press release from N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources:
Nine properties of historic significance to the North Carolina African American community will soon be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places thanks to a $70,000 Underrepresented Community (URC) Grant from the U. S. National Park Service that was recently awarded to the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office.
The purpose of the URC grant program is to provide funds to state, tribal, and local governments to survey and designate historic properties associated with communities that are currently underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places. North Carolina’s $70,000 grant will be matched by in-kind services and cash from project partners the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Preservation Durham, and the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.
The state’s URC project will result in National Register of Historic Places nominations for nine historic African American properties, including six Rosenwald schools in the eastern, southeastern, central, and western regions of the state; Oak Grove Cemetery and Oberlin Cemetery in Raleigh; and the College Heights neighborhood near North Carolina Central University in Durham.
Work on the project began late last spring, following a grant agreement between NPS and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Genevieve Barnes, an intern sponsored by the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, conducted research on the six Rosenwald schools to be nominated to the National Register: Allen Grove School (Halifax County), Bladen County Training School, Canetuck School (Pender County), Castalia School (Nash County), Concord School (Franklin County), and Mars Hill School (Madison County). Research included an extensive search of documents in the State Archives and interviews of alumni.
At the same time, Preservation Durham staff and interns began conducting interviews for an oral history project in the College Heights neighborhood, producing data that will be used in the preparation of the National Register nomination for the neighborhood. Last summer, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission hired New South Associates to conduct ground-penetrating radar (GPR) at Oak Grove Cemetery, located in Raleigh’s Method community, to produce data necessary for the preparation of a nomination. As part of the community outreach that is an important aspect of the Under Represented Community project, the commission organized Method Day, which was held at Method Community Park on Aug. 20, 2016, and included presentations on the GPR at Oak Grove Cemetery and on upcoming phases of the project.
In the coming months, the State Historic Preservation Office will hire consultants to conduct ground-penetrating radar at Oberlin Cemetery and to prepare the National Register nominations for both cemeteries, the six Rosenwald schools, and the College Heights neighborhood. As each phase of the project is completed, a community meeting will be held to share the results. The nominations will be prepared in 2017 and reviewed by the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee prior to the expiration of the URC grant on March 31, 2018.
The State Historic Preservation Office is within the Office of Archives and History of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.