Local News

Wilson Museum To Showcase Town's African-American History

Posted December 13, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— An unusual home built right after World War II is getting a new life in Wilson. The building will soon be a African-American history museum.

The old house is unusual, designed to look like east African homes. Organizers say the future museum is the perfect place to show Wilson's rich African-American history.

"We found out there are people here who are part of the original Tuskeegee Airmen group, people who were acquainted with George Washington Carver and people who were the first in this area to be elected officials," says Bill Myers of Omega Development Group.

Crews towed the house several blocks to a new neighborhood where it will be fixed up and re-opened next year. The neighborhood, named after builder Oliver Freeman, is on one of the busiest streets in town.

Oliver Freeman's family says that the architect had made it his dream to build a round house in Wilson. However, his daughter, Connie Freeman Banks, says that the stone was actually his second choice for materials. She was able to talk him out of his first choice, which would have really turned heads.

"He kept talking about a glass house, and I told him, 'Daddy, you don't want to build a glass house,'" she says. "I said, 'Nobody's going to live in a glass house.'"

Freeman's stone house will soon enjoy a new life. Organizers believe the unusual architecture and the history it will soon display will bring vacationers and their wallets to the town Freeman loved so much.

Organizers need historic items to display in the museum. The city of Wilson, which owns the house, is paying about $40,000 for its transition.