On Display: March 6 - May 28:
“We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina”

By on February 9, 2024

Poplar Run A.M.E. Zion Church, built in the 1890s by Reverend H. B. Pettigrew Courtesy Preservation North Carolina.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Museum of the Albemarle is hosting the traveling exhibit, “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina”. We Built This will be on display March 6, 2024 through May 28, 2024.

This traveling exhibit, presented by Preservation North Carolina, highlights the stories of those who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites. Spanning more than three centuries, We Built This provides more than two dozen personal profiles and historic context on key topics including slavery and Reconstruction; the founding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black politicians and professionals.

Experience this extraordinary exhibit, which includes profiles of:

Gaston Alonzo Edwards (1875–1943), the first Black architect licensed in North Carolina. He worked at Shaw University, where he planned and superintended construction of key buildings such as Leonard Medical School Hospital (1910), now Tyler Hall, using students in the construction.

Stewart Ellison (1834–1899), an enslaved carpenter hired out in Raleigh, where he helped construct the North Carolina Hospital for the Insane (now Dorothea Dix Hospital). He became one of the state’s longest serving Black legislators of the 19th century, representing Wake County in five legislative sessions. He was also the first Black citizen to serve on what is now the Raleigh City Council.

William B. Gould (1837–1923), an enslaved plasterer in Wilmington who made his mark on the elaborate plasterwork at the Bellamy Mansion. His initials, WBG, were found on the back of decorative plaster pieces during the 1993 restoration of the mansion.

For more information about We Built This at Museum of the Albemarle, please contact Wanda Lassiter at (252) 335- 1453.


Museum of the Albemarle is located at 501 South Water Street, Elizabeth City, NC.

 

About the Museum of the Albemarle

The Museum of the Albemarle is located at 501 S. Water Street, Elizabeth City, NC. (252) 335-1453. www.museumofthealbemarle.com. Find us on Facebook! Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sundays and State Holidays. Serving Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties, the museum is the northeast regional history museum of the North Carolina Division of State History Museums within the N.C.

Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities and the visio n to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural, and economic future. Information is available 24/7 at www.dncr.nc.gov.

 

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency. For more information, please visit www.dncr.nc.gov.



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