Princeville, NC: Heritage and a Sense of Place

This grant supports “Princeville, NC: Heritage and a Sense of Place” which addresses the need for heritage preservation and public education for the historic town of Princeville, North Carolina. Originally named Freedom Hill, the town was settled by formerly enslaved Africans freed after the Civil War seeking self-determination and empowerment. Incorporated in 1885 and renamed Princeville, the city remains the oldest incorporated African American town in the United States. The town’s vulnerable ecological location has led to its near destruction from the Tar River floods from Hurricanes Floyd (1999) and Matthew (2016).

ECU in collaboration with the grassroots organization Fighters for Freedom Hill and other community efforts, aim to recover, document, preserve and publicize the historical and present-day story of Princeville. Through oral histories, archeological research, and community workshops, this project creates a moving public exhibit of Princeville, local colleges, public schools, public libraries; and also creates digital a version of the Princeville story.