At more than 100 years old , the house on 1001 Parker St is showing its age. Caretaker Bill Sheperd wants to preserve it for future generations.
"I think it's family," he says, "I think the place is art, and it's history."
He wants to turn it into a living monument to the man it is named for, the Rev. M.L. Latta, who grew up a slave on the Cameron family plantation, won his freedom, graduated from Shaw, and built a school for underprivileged African-American children.
"His personal commitment was to build this institution to prove that no matter who or how lowly a person, he could build this great place of learning," Shepherd says.
Shepherd has nursed the 2 acres in the heart of Raleigh's Oberlin neighborhood back to life. Now he is working on the house, intending to turn it into a multi-cultural center for families and artists.
"We wanted to sort of rekindle that spirit of bringing the races together through this facility, through the cultural arts."
The picnic starts Saturday at noon. Tickets are available through Schoolkids Records for $15, and will be $20 at the door.
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