John Chavis Memorial Park: Past to Present Exhibit

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John Chavis Memorial Park: Past to Present Exhibit | Photo by @raleighparks


The City of Raleigh hosted a dedication to the John Chavis Memorial Park: Past to Present Exhibit last week to celebrate John Chavis. The exhibit engages park visitors with historical resources, natural features, and community stories related to the memorial park.

John Chavis was a free Black educator who taught in Wake, Granville, and Chatham counties. He founded a school when he moved to Raleigh in 1809 for all local children to attend. Chavis was also a Presbyterian minister.

Located by the historic carousel house and playgrounds, the exhibit displays on its exterior a detailed timeline of events impacting the development of the park from Reverend John Chavis’ arrival to Raleigh in 1809 to the park’s latest improvements this year. On the interior, you’ll find full-color images and text highlighting stories + events that happened inside the park from 1937 up until today.

Don’t worry about what time of day you go to see it, either. The exhibit features an internal LED lighting system for legibility during the day + at night.

Raleigh Parks shared that the purpose of adding this memorial to the park was to “stand as a symbol of African American agency + identity and remains a place of civic engagement for the local, regional, and even national Black community.”

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