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Park planned for downtown Raleigh to highlight African-American legacy in NC

Posted October 19, 2015

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— Organizers are one step closer to building a park dedicated to highlighting the African-American experience in North Carolina, but they still need financial support to making it a reality.

The North Carolina Freedom Monument Project would be located on a 1-acre plot at Wilmington and Lane streets in downtown Raleigh, across the street from the Legislative Building.

The organizers have leased the site, which is now an open green space, from the state for $10 million, but they need another $5 million to build an amphitheater and a sculpture park there.

"This is the time to really recognize the fact that African-Americans played a very important role in North Carolina from the very beginning and continue to do so," said David Warren, a professor emeritus at Duke University and co-chairman of the Freedom Monument Project. "A whole lot of things have happened in North Carolina – positive as well as some negative, and we want to show both."

Juan Logan, a painter, sculptor and retired professor of studio art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carrboro landscape architect David Swanson and UNC-Chapel Hill assistant professor of art history Lyneise Williams were chosen from more than 100 submissions to design the park, which hopes to articulate a vision of “freedom” captured through the experience of African-Americans in North Carolina.

"It’s hard to put up monuments for each person, but to put up a monument to the effort and to help us all learn from that effort, I think that’s where this fits in," said Chuck Watts, an attorney and Freedom Monument Project board member.

Organizers said they hope the park's proximity to the General Assembly will remind state lawmakers of the contributions made by African-Americans to North Carolina.

"It will be of educational use for school children coming through here and for the general public to learn more," Warren said.

Construction on the park must be started by 2022, or the site will revert to state control, according to terms of the lease.


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  • Kathy Bundy Oct 20, 2015
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    Just read all the comments so far ---- whew! Resentment on parade. Take a breath, guys.

  • Sean Creasy Oct 20, 2015
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    ... Seems that any display of "white pride" is deemed racist in today's America...

  • Sam Adams Oct 20, 2015
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    I don't like stating this because usually it should not matter at all. However, I am black. I am not an African American because I was born in America and I am an American. Personally, I cant stand the term African American unless it us used for those who actually immigrated here from Africa, but that's besides the point.

    While the parks intentions are good, the end result seems to be misguided. This park is just another example of our "leaders" and politicians are trying to further divide this country. If we have this park, then we should have one celebrating Whites, Hispanics, and Asians. Within a close vicinity to this park. That is only fair and it would be the right thing to do.

    That said, the best answer would be to create a park that highlights everyone's contributions to NC. Each race could even have a section of the park dedicated to the contributions and highlight them.

    To me this is typical PC run amuck.

  • Jonathan Barnes Oct 20, 2015
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    depends how you celebrate.

  • Sean Creasy Oct 20, 2015
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    So it's OK to celebrate being black but I'm consid3ered a racist if I try to celebrate being white? Seems like a double standard to me.... What happened to all that "equality" everyone keeps screaming?

  • Tom Laurence Oct 19, 2015
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    Yes, and The City already has an Amphitheater. No doubt African Americans contributed to NC, but is this park really necessary? I don't believe that there is a park Dedicated solely to Other Races, and I've lived in Wake County & NC all my life.

  • Amanda Jones Oct 19, 2015
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    Just keep dividing! It should just be American!

  • Jack Lamb Oct 19, 2015
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    Where are they going to put the Hispanic Park. You know it's coming!!