Raleigh, North Carolina – Niche far downtown Raleigh, at the intersection of Lane and Wilmington streets near the Executive Mansion, is an acre of land that will be the site of the North Carolina Freedom Park.
On Wednesday, crews unveiled North Carolina’s first state monument to African Americans – a dream in the making for two decades.
Reginald Hildebrand, board member for the new park, calls it a place where people can learn about the contributions of African Americans who have fought for a better society.
Quotes from local slaves and freedom fighters
A virtual tour allows viewers to experience what the park will look like. It will feature five gateways filled with words of freedom from people once enslaved and who have fought for freedom and equality across generations.
“Every voice, every word that will be inscribed on these walls, will be the words of the Black North Carolinians,” said Hildebrand.
There will be “words of freedom, words of encouragement, words of understanding of oppression and how it is overcome, words that will help people persevere in times of adversity.”
Governor Roy Cooper, who spoke at the inauguration, said: “History books often fail to recognize the contributions and struggles of people of color.”
Hildebrand believes the park will be their gift to future generations, saying: “It will tell them what we value.”
In the middle of the park will be a beacon of light.
“It will shine in the night sky. It will reflect the fire for freedom,” Hildebrand said.
A park for all North Carolinians – not just the black community
The late Phil Freelon, a notable architect from the North Caroline who designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall, designed Liberty Park. His son said Freelon remained committed to the project until he died of ALS last year.
pierce Freelon said his father loved to reflect the rich history through his work and was excited and proud to bring Freedom Park to life.
“There has never been a time when there has been a greater need to establish common ground,” said Hildebrand. “Freedom is a value we all cherish, an idea we all pursue. This park represents that common ground.
“Freedom Park is not just a park for blacks. It is a park for all North Carolinians and Americans,” Hildebrand said.
Public and private funding is financing this $ 4 million park. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021 and is expected to last a year.