Oberlin Village Heritage 5K

Cary, NC

The goal of the Friends of Oberlin Village (FOV) is to create a robust repository of information about the development of Oberlin Village, an African American reconstruction settlement established in 1866, and its outstanding citizens.

Despite their suffering from slavery, segregation, discrimination and gentrification, the residents of Oberlin Village established a strong community bond and always exhibited pride, purpose and prosperity. In a News & Observer article dated August 8, 1948, Willis Briggs stated the residents of Oberlin “were esteemed by both races for their industry, frugality and high character.”

The founders of Oberlin as well as their descendants have made significant contributions both locally and on the world stage. In fact, did you know …

  • Robert Fryson, a song writer grew up on Chamberlain Street in Raleigh. His hymn, “God Is” has been recorded by many artists including Aretha Franklin and Pat Boone.
  • John Baker was drafted into the National Football League and later became the first African American sheriff in North Carolina. His father was the first African American police officer in Wake County.
  • Oberlin Village established its own school and Latta University.
  • Dr. James E. Shepard was the founder and first president of North Carolina Central University located in Durham, N.C. and helped to establish Farmers & Mechanics bank. His business acumen enabled him to become one of the richest African Americans in the nation.
  • Over 100 residents from Oberlin served in the military.
  • Willis Graves, Jr. became an attorney and worked with Thurgood Marshall on a landmark integration case.
  • Joe Holt was the first student to attempt to integrate Raleigh’s public schools. Currently, a group of students are rallying to have a Wake County school named after the Holt family.

To learn more about these facts and many others, I invite you to explore our entire website. We will continue uploading a wealth of information as our volunteers continue their research. Feel free to let me know what information you find rewarding as well as what information you are seeking, but not finding.

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