We Built This: the exhibit.

Preservation of Wilson presents

We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina

1 September-31 October 2023

Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House & African-American Museum
1202 Hines Street SE
Wilson, NC 27893

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.

10 A.M.–3 P.M.
Free Admission

Big thanks to Preservation North Carolina and Wilson Arts for helping bring this exhibit to Wilson.


Don’t miss this fantastic exhibit! Wilson’s most notable African-American builders were Oliver Nestus Freeman and John Mack Barnes, but other early craftsmen included brickmasons like Julius F. Freeman Jr. and Benjamin A. Harris Sr., and carpenters like Julius F. Freeman Sr., Short W. Barnes, John R. Reid, Louis Thomas Sr.,