Preservation of the Oberlin Cemetery
The mission of the Friends of Oberlin Village is to preserve the legacy and remains of Oberlin Village and Cemetery. The village was settled in the late 1860s by African Americans recently freed from slavery. The cemetery, traditionally considered the heart of Oberlin Village, is the largest African American cemetery in Wake County. Prior to the formation of Friends of Oberlin Village in 2011, there was some concern that the community's legacy and the cemetery might be lost due to commercial development pressure.
All planning, correspondence, promotion, and activities of the organization are carried out by volunteers. Two or more cemetery clean-ups are carried out annually by volunteers, including North Carolina State University students, local high school students, and Boy Scouts. Boy Scout volunteers built an interpretive visitor kiosk and benches. Interpretive kiosk information, a brochure, and a video are the product of volunteer efforts. In addition to preserving and maintaining the cemetery, Friends of Oberlin Village are collecting reminiscences of descendants of Oberlin Village founders and other longtime residents.
The cemetery is the last resting place of the first African American North Carolina state senator; the founder of the educational organization that later became North Carolina Central University; a Buffalo Soldier; and a number of individuals prominent as educators, clergy, entrepreneurs, and political leaders who could not be interred in white cemeteries during the days of segregation.
Designated a Preserve America Steward in February 2016.