Historic Oak View Everyone's Welcome

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Kids in the barn using the milking interactive display

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

Historic Oak View County Park affirms its commitment our organization’s long-term investment in serving our community equitably. Guided by Wake County’s Core Values, we believe that different backgrounds and experiences strengthen our organization and produce better results. We value inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity and experience.

Fourteen enslaved men, women, and children shaped Oak View’s natural and cultural landscape, and African American laborers continued to do so as landless farmers sharecropping and tenant farming after Emancipation. Despite living and laboring under an unfair and unjust system, these individuals impacted Oak View in powerful and fundamental ways. We recognize that racial inequities from the past are reflected in systemic racial inequities today. In response to historic and present-day inequities, in October 2020 Oak View adopted a Racial Equity & Inclusion Plan. The plan is neither complete nor static; it sets up a living document that will guide and create a system of support as we continually reevaluate our institution, our stated values, and our vision for the future as a just and equitable center for the community.

The purpose of Oak View’s Racial Equity & Inclusion Plan: To ground ourselves in previous equity and inclusion work and guide us to specific, measurable goals and outcomes. The actions identified will help us create clear and stated goals that are understood by all levels within our organization: staff, administrators, and community. We will use this plan to hold ourselves accountable internally and invite community members to hold us accountable for our stated goals, including the shaping and reframing of this plan, as well as updates about progress and outcomes. We recognize that the work of advancing racial equity and fostering true inclusion are ongoing and require lifelong learning, constant reflection, and guarantees of institutional accountability.

The vision of Oak View’s Racial Equity & Inclusion Plan: Historic Oak View will be a community-centered park with educational programming and interpretation that invites visitors to explore the historical relationship between farming, land, and freedom, elevating the stories and perspectives of landless farmers. Our park will serve a diverse public as a site for meaningful community engagement, thoughtful and honoring learning and reflection, and healthy recreation – a park for all.

Focus Area 1: Education and Interpretation

  1. Provide culturally competent educational programs that address the history of enslavement and the lives, labor, and legacy of the enslaved and landless farmers at Oak View.
    • Measurable outcome: “Historic Oak View Property Tour” highlights the history and lives of all who lived and worked at Oak View, landowner and landless, enslaved and free, before and after the Civil War.
    • Measurable outcome: Provide elementary field trip programs that are committed to empathetic and inclusive programming, with a focus on agency and personal narratives, elevating the perspectives, lives, and labor of the enslaved community and landless farmers.
      • The virtual field trip program “In the Farm’s Kitchen” debuted in 2020 and focuses on Eliza Hutchings, an enslaved woman on the plantation, and how she built a life for herself after emancipation.
      • New in-person field trip programs currently being developed will focus on the stories and experiences of the enslaved, sharecroppers, and tenant farmers to ask students to think critically about the historical and present-day relationship between land ownership, freedom, and farming. 
    • Measurable outcome: Update and develop additional tours that provide a conscientious and comprehensive interpretation of enslavement and landless farming before and after the Civil War.
      • In 2021, we debuted 3 new tours:
        • Plantation to Park – This tour focuses on the history of Oak View from plantation to park, lives of the people who lived and labored here, and the transitions that took place in their lives before and after the Civil War.
        • Plants with a Past – This tour focuses on the land, crops, and garden areas of Oak View, with a special emphasis on how enslaved labor and then sharecroppers and tenant farmers shaped the landscape in the 19th and 20th centuries.
        • Artifact Adventure – This tour is an interactive program that invites visitors to identify artifacts around the park and learn the history and stories of the individuals who created, used, and maintained them.
  2. Commit to providing a purposeful and inclusive interpretation of Oak View’s history in our physical interpretation and exhibits
    • Develop and install new interpretation and exhibits 
      • Measurable outcome: Complete installation of the Tenant House Exhibit.  The Tenant House exhibit engages visitors in participatory, hands-on, and inquiry-based pedagogy centered around the question of: “How did landless farmers create a home in spite of an oppressive labor system?” (Completed December 2020)
      • Measurable outcome: Move forward with development of a Main Farmhouse exhibit. The interpretive goal of this exhibit is to engage visitors in the questions of: “Whose farm is this? What’s your story? Who tells your story? Could you make a living as a farmer?” (In progress)
    • Measurable outcome: Conduct a comprehensive re-evaluation of current exhibit content to ensure it aligns with our goals of purposeful and inclusive interpretation.
      • Replace outdated artwork in the Farm History Center with a park map that supports a more welcoming and accessible visitor experience. (In progress)
      • Our focus in 2022 will be the Plank Kitchen exhibit. Updates will include a larger focus on the kitchen as the domain of the enslaved women on the plantation, and also as a site of complex interactions between women in the antebellum plantation era.

Focus Area 2: Authentic Community Relationships

  1. Develop and expand sustained community partnerships with organizations making a difference in Southeast Raleigh, with community, education, and collaboration at the heart of our mission.
    • Current and past partnerships include:
      • District C and Southeast Raleigh High School
      • Neighborhood Ecology Corps 
      • Wake County Register of Deeds Enslaved Persons Project
      • Raleigh’s Rolling Readers
      • Southeast Raleigh Elementary School 
  2. Continue to seek out and develop authentic partnerships with organizations that share our commitment to equity and inclusion.

Focus Area 3: Communications, Administration, and Accountability

  1. Ensure that our public communications make it easy for the public to find and understand our site and mission and the standards we are holding ourselves accountable to.
    • Measurable outcome: Ensure that individuals and groups utilizing the park for commercial purposes are aware of the history of the park and its foundations as a plantation, by providing historical information and learning opportunities in all available ways.
  2. Communicate our goals and mission in a way that engages and invites the community to hold us accountable for accomplishing these goals.
    • Measurable outcome: Ensure that our Racial Equity Action Plan remains publicly available on our website and ensure it is updated frequently to track outcomes and progress. 
    • Measurable outcome: Partner intentionally with educators as a group of stakeholders and include their expertise and perspectives in our programs and operations.
      • In 2022 we are developing a partnership with elementary teachers at Southeast Raleigh Elementary School to solicit teacher feedback on our new field trip programs and learn how we can provide curricular support for teaching about slavery.
  3. Understand that external actions and changes are superficial if we do not pair them with internal changes that align Oak View with more equitable and inclusive administrative practices. Wake County is committed to Embracing Diversity as a Core Value and actively supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
    • Measurable outcome: Audit our hiring and recruitment processes to align with Wake County’s Core Value of Embracing Diversity – We believe that different backgrounds and experiences strengthen the organization and produce better results. We value inclusion across race, color, national origin, gender identity, age, religion, sex, disability and experience, and strive to reflect in our workforce the diversity of our community.
      • We will follow and implement best practices and action items from Wake County’s partnership with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity 
    • Measurable outcome: Provide ongoing staff training and development to ensure that staff provide culturally competent programs and visitor services that respect the social and emotional needs of all visitors
      • All staff are required to attend The Equity Paradigm’s “Foundations in Racial Equity” training
      • Education staff receive monthly training on topics related to cultural competence.

We Welcome Feedback

We welcome any comments, ideas, and suggestions. We are also always actively seeking community organizations to partner with. To ask questions, provide feedback, or to request a full version of this plan, please contact Abby Kellerman at Abigail.Kellerman@wakegov.com or 919-212-7695.


Accessibility Statement

Historic Oak View County Park welcomes all visitors and affirms its commitment to offering programs and services that are accessible to everyone. We will make every effort to ensure that visitors of all abilities are fully included in all our programs and facilities.

Visitors Who Are Blind or Partially Sighted

Mobile Tour advertisement with picture of Tenant House

Listen to a recorded audio version of our property tour. 

Visitors Who Are Deaf

Mobile Tour advertisement with picture of Tenant House

Read a text version of our property tour. 

Visitors on the Autism Spectrum

We welcome families with children and adults on the autism spectrum. The following resources will help you plan for an enjoyable visit.

Historic Oak View is a 27-acre site with historic farm buildings and grounds, with lots of different opportunities to learn about and engage with Wake County’s agricultural heritage. Preparing for your visit a few days beforehand can make for a more manageable and enjoyable experience. The following tips will help in your planning:

Items in the My Oak View Park Pack for kids on the autism spectrum
Visual Schedules
  • "My Oak View" Visual Schedule: Download, print, and complete the "My Oak View" Visual Schedule before visiting the park. It includes a make-your-own visual checklist with location and communication cards to prepare and plan for your visit.
  • "My Oak View" Park Pack: This pack is available to borrow during our regular business hours. Stop by the Farm History Center before you begin your visit to check out the kit, which includes a customizable visual schedule, maps, sensory-seeking toys, noise-reducing headphones, and suggestions for planning a successful visit.
Social Stories
  • Visiting Oak View: Download and print this social story before coming out to Oak View for an independent, self-guided visit.
  • StoryWalk® at Oak View: Download and print this social story before coming out to Oak View to enjoy the monthly StoryWalk®.
Sensory Supports
  • Noise-reducing head phones and various sensory-seeking toys are available to borrow any time during our operating hours on a first-come, first-served basis. Simply ask a staff member at the front desk of the Farm History Center to borrow them at the start of your visit.
Sensory Tips and Activity Suggestions


Visitors of Different Physical Abilities

Historic Oak View County Park is an ADA accessible location. There is a marked accessible parking space in the main parking lot and near each picnic shelter. The parking lots and paved paths leading to picnic shelters and the restrooms meet ADA criteria and there are accessible restrooms in the Farm History Center visitors center and carriage house. The restrooms in the visitors center have automatic faucets and have a two step stool for visitors of short stature and children. The Farm History Center Visitors Center entrance is level and most historic building entrances have ramps. The plank kitchen and tenant house have steps. There is a portable ramp available for the plank kitchen (contact park staff to make available). There is a booklet that explains the second floor of the cotton gin house for visitors with mobility disabilities. A booklet with a print version of the exhibits in the tenant house for visitors with mobility disabilities is available upon request from park staff.