Following 20 years of delays and red tape, the construction of the first state monument for African Americans is almost complete.

North Carolina Freedom Park is under construction on a one-acre site on Lane Street, located between the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. It is the first monument on or near the Capitol grounds to honor Black North Carolinians. 

The centerpiece of the park, a 40-foot-tall metal structure dubbed the Beacon of Freedom, was installed this week after traveling to Raleigh from Denver, Colorado, where it was built. 

The beacon will stand at the intersection of five walkways, to be inscribed with quotes from Black North Carolinians who fought for freedom. Each night, a beam of light from the beacon will illuminate the park. 

Rendering of NC Freedom Park

The design is the work of legendary late architect Phil Freelon, who also led the design team for the Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. The park was one of Freelon’s last designs before he died in 2019 from ALS. 

NC Freedom Park was first conceived in 2002, but it took two decades and a lot of fundraising for the $4 million project to become a reality. Construction finally began last year and is expected to be complete in the coming months. A grand opening is set for 2023. 

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