We Built This
Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina
Hiding in plain sight is the physical manifestation of our labor, because most of the historic structures in this country were built by, constructed by Black people… and yet those stories have never been told.
— Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation (2020)
We Built This is part of a multi-faceted educational program about the history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina. The traveling exhibit 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; founding of HBCUs and Black churches; Jim Crow and segregation; and the rise of Black civic leaders and professionals. We Built This offers endless opportunities for expanded programming.
- Exhibit Specs
- (6) 89”x89”x12” Freestanding backdrops
- (15) 33.5”x80” Double-sided banner stands
- Space required: approximately 800sf (multiple configurations)
- Rental Fee: $2,500 + shipping to your site
- Loan Period: 8-16 weeks suggested
Contact: Julianne Patterson to inquire about availability.
Download a brochure with more information.
Thank you to the many people who contributed research, stories, and time to make this exhibit possible, including Sami Allen, Catherine Bishir, Al Bredenberg, Benjamin Briggs, Martha Canipe, Andrea Clarke, Monica Davis, Stephanie Davis, Design Dimensions, Chris Everett, Dr. Torren L. Gatson, Clarissa Goodlett, Tom Hanchett, Lisa Y. Henderson, Alice Eley Jones, Kim Smith, Laurel Sneed, Dr. Benjamin Speller Jr, Gwynne Taylor, Sarah Woodard, and a growing list of many more.
Thank you to the following generous donors:
Anonymous Trust, Marion S. Covington Foundation, A. J. Fletcher Foundation
Empire Properties, Mary Anne Howard, Neighboring Concepts
Stephanie Fanjul, Anne Franklin, Baird S. and Pauline F. Grimson, Myrick Howard, Thomas S. Kenan, The Terence L. Mills Fund for North and South Carolina of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Rodney Swink and Juanita Shearer-Swink, Patricia Wilson
We Built This in the Press
- If these walls could talk: Exhibits tell stories of Dix Park’s past, NC’s Black architects
- Preservation NC Project Explores the Legacy of Black Builders in North Carolina
- ‘We Built This’: A look at North Carolina’s architectural past
- Wilmington’s Bellamy Mansion offers new exhibit highlighting black architects
- NC Black Architects and Builders Exhibit at Pack Memorial Library
- University Galleries to Host “We Built This,” a History and Legacy of Black Builders Exhibition
- Wake County Park to Host Exhibit Featuring Black Builders and Architects
- History and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina
- “We Built This” exhibit open at Historic Oak View County Park
- ‘We Built This’ exhibit in Raleigh highlights Black architects who helped build NC
We Built This Venues (past, present, and future)
- January 15, 2022 – February 27, 2022 Greg Poole, Jr. All Faiths Chapel at Dorothea Dix Park, Raleigh
- April 1, 2022 – June 10, 2022 Historic Rosedale, Charlotte
- June 22, 2022 – November 4, 2022 Bellamy Mansion Museum, Wilmington
- August 1, 2022 – October 10, 2022 Pack Memorial Library, Asheville
- October 19, 2022 – December 9, 2022 NC A&T (H.C. Taylor Gallery), Greensboro
- November 21, 2022 – March 27, 2023 Historic Oak View County Park, Raleigh
- February 1, 2023 – February 28, 2023 Tar River Center for History and Culture, (Louisburg College), Louisburg
- April 3, 2023 – July 23, 2023 Tryon Palace, New Bern
- August 1, 2023 – October 31, 2023 Oliver Nestus Freeman Roundhouse Museum, Wilson
- September 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023 Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, Fayetteville
- March 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024 Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City