Welcome to Freedom Park, a historic 1-acre green space nestled in the heart of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. With deep reverence for the spirit of the African American struggle for freedom, this park stands as a timeless tribute to the universal ideals of liberty, resilience, and equality.
Anchored by the Beacon of Freedom, the park features 20 “Voices of Freedom” inscribed along its walkways – powerful words of African Americans throughout North Carolina history. As the first park in North Carolina dedicated to honoring the African American struggle for freedom, it stands as a beacon of hope and a reminder that the ideals of perseverance, equality, and freedom are universal aspirations that can unite us all.
The seed for Freedom Park began in 2000 with a group of North Carolinians assembled by the Paul Green Foundation to answer the question, “What are we doing in North Carolina to celebrate emancipation and freedom?” As a result of those conversations, a non-profit organization was formed to plan and build a commemorative park in downtown Raleigh.
A team of dedicated supporters raised over $7 million for the park’s construction, including funds from foundations, businesses, individuals and the N.C. General Assembly.
Design and Construction
The late Phil Freelon of the architecture firm Perkins + Will was chosen to create a meaningful design for the park. His dramatic plan features five walkways leading to a 45-foot-tall Beacon of Freedom at the park’s center. The beacon will be lit at dusk each evening.
Holt Brothers Construction Company in Raleigh was the lead contractor, working with Perkins + Will, the State Construction Office, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and other state advisors.
Opening North Carolina Freedom Park officially opens to the public on Aug. 23, 2023, and will be open daily from dawn to dusk. Managed by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, with assistance from the Friends of North Carolina Freedom Park, the park is open to all. Especially welcome are the thousands of school children who annually visit the state capital complex as part of their study of North Carolina history.
Freedom Park is not merely a physical space; it is a living testament to the strength of the human spirit. It reminds us that the pursuit of freedom is a shared endeavor that transcends time, race, and background.