From the beginning of this project, through town hall conversations across North Carolina, the thrust of the biracial grass roots movement for this public park project has been focused on the words of the founding Advisory Committee Chair, Dr. John Hope Franklin:
“To tell the truth about our Past and to be a beacon of hope for our Future”
He was pointing to the thousands of our schoolkids (mostly 4th and 8th graders) from Manteo to Murphy who make annual school bus trips to our State Capital to study North Carolina history through visits to the museums and government buildings. The North Carolina Freedom Park will be a prime site (next to the State Legislature) on their educational tour.
The school children, state and city employees working in the area, and myriad visitors to Raleigh from North Carolina and, indeed, outside our state, will have the opportunity to learn about an important but sometimes overlooked perspective on North Carolina history and culture – the African American struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
There will be more than inscriptions in this Park. Renowned architect Phil Freelon, the Park designer, is planning dazzling lighting effects that will promote educational content programming. Notably, as seen in the concept sketch, a giant daylight/evening LED screen on the State Archives Building can feature moving images of events and people in our history, as well as contemporary stories through movies, documentaries and poetry.
In advance of school visits (arranged through the NC Museum of History), teachers will be encouraged to use the special school curriculum “The African American Experience” we developed in cooperation with the State Department of Public Instruction. In this way children will benefit from the teaching moment inspired by the visit to this new educational and cultural landmark.
The North Carolina Freedom Park, upon completion, will be managed by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources with project funds for programs—including musical events, docent tours, civic gatherings, reenactments, and celebrations.