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History at High Noon: The Fate of Raleigh’s 11 Missing Freedmen’s Villages

Wednesday, Feb. 24, noon–1 p.m. via Zoom

Access the event using the Zoom link below!

Presenter: Heather Leah, Multimedia Journalist, and Carmen Cauthen, Writer, Editor, Historian

In the years after America’s Civil War, more than 4,000 men, women, and children—roughly half of the city’s population at that time—all freed from nearby plantations, formed 13 freedmen’s villages in and around Raleigh. These new residents were starting their free lives with no jobs, no homes, and no money. Still, they pulled together to build homes, churches, schools, and businesses. Despite all their work and contributions, of the 13 villages formed during this time, only Oberlin Village and Method remain today, and many historians don’t even agree on the other 11 villages’ names, let alone where they were located or what happened to them. Hear about some recent research as these two passionate women explore what happened to the other historically Black communities, why they vanished, and what remnants can still be found today.

Leah is a fifth-generation Raleighite whose passion is exploring lost and hidden history. She has served as editor in chief for local news and entertainment blog Candid Slice since 2012 and covers a “Hidden History” beat for WRAL.com, after having done so previously at ABC11. Cauthen was responsible for writing, editing, proofreading, and indexing the official journal of the North Carolina House of Representatives for more than 19 years. She now shares Raleigh’s Black history through detailed posts at her Research and Resource blog.