Black Main Street

History on Foot

In June 2021, Web Exclusive by Anna BresciaLeave a Comment

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WEB EXCLUSIVE Explore Raleigh’s African American heritage with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s Black History Walking Tours.

Lace up your sneakers and head Downtown—we’re going walking through history. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s digital self-guided Black History Walking Tours are the perfect way to explore and learn about the untold history of Raleigh, with stops highlighting Black leaders, entrepreneurs, institutions and places that played pivotal roles in the community. 

DRA currently has two tours available—the Raleigh’s Black Main Street and the Historic African American Churches tours. Stops include familiar locales Downtown like the Hamlin Drug Store, East Hargett Street and the Raleigh Furniture Building, with each stop providing a brief writeup on the history of the building, when it was built and its current condition. In between stops, you can read up on some of the people who were influential in Raleigh’s Black community, like Calvin Lightner, an American architect, building contractor and mortician; and Mollie Huston Lee, the first African American librarian in Raleigh.

Next month, DRA is launching two new walking tours exploring the Prince Hall Historic District and East Raleigh – South Park Historic District. The Prince Hall Historic District, formerly South Person/South Blount, is home to several Raleigh landmarks—and US National Register of Historic Places—like the Prince Hall Masonic Temple and the Rogers-Bagley-Daniels-Pegues House.

DRA African American history walking tour

This area has been home to the African American community (largely given its proximity to Shaw University and to East Hargett Street) since the Reconstruction era. Additionally, the Prince Hall Historic District is dubbed Raleigh’s first African American and mixed-use district. 

The East Raleigh – South Park area’s history runs just as deep. African Americans moved to the area en masse just after the Civil War and continuing through the turn of the 20th century, making it Raleigh’s largest historic African American neighborhood.

So the next time you’re gearing up for an afternoon stroll Downtown, why not tune in to a little bit of Raleigh’s history along the way. You might just learn a thing or two. Click here for tour information and map.

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