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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Abraham Wooten Memorial, Princeville

  • Type

    Column

  • Subjects

    Historic Religious Figures

    Historic African American Figures

    African American Monuments

  • City

    Princeville

  • County

    Edgecombe

  • Description

    The white painted marble monument is in the form of a stele with a four way Gothic top on a multi-tiered base of marble and concrete. It features a deep bas-relief bust of Abraham Wooten framed within an oval at the top. Wooten is bearded and dressed in a coat and cravat. The inscription appears below the Wooten bust. This may be the earliest dedicated monument to an African-American in North Carolina. It stands on the front porch of the historic Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church, centered between two sets of doors. Old photos of the church show that the concrete porch was built around the monument at a later date.

    Images: Wooten bust and inscription

  • Inscription

    THIS CORNER STONE IS ERECT- / ED IN MEMORY OF THE / RADICUE PRIMATIVE BAPTIST / CHURCH FOUNDED BY ELDER / ABRAHAM WOOTEN / AND MEMBERS THAT CAME OUT / FROM CHURCHES AT OTTER’S / CREEK, SPARTA AND TYSON’S / MEETING HOUSE, WHO WERE / ALL DISMISSED BY LETTERS / OF GOOD STANDING AND IN / FULL FELLOWSHIP. THIS CHURCH / WAS ORGANIZED BY ELDER / JOHN BELL / OF FAIRFAX CO. VA. ON FRIDAY / BEFORE THE FIRST SUNDAY / IN AUGUST 1876. ELDER BELL / WAS A MEMBER OF THE / BALTIMORE ASSOCIATION / ERECTED OCT. 1896.

  • Custodian

    Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church

  • Dedication Date

    October 1896

  • Decade

    1890s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.888890 , -77.528360 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Fleming, Monika S. Echoes Of Edgecombe County, 1860-1940, Arcadia Publishing, 1996), (accessed November 15, 2015), 29 Link

      “History,” Princeville North Carolina, http://www.townofprinceville.com, (accessed November 15, 2015) Link

      “Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church,” Perry-Weston Educational and Cultural Institute, http://www.perry-weston.org, (accessed November 15, 2015) Link

      “Radicue Primitive Baptist Church Memorial, (sculpture),” Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums, (accessed November 15, 2015) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Italian marble, concrete

  • Subject Notes

    One problem for the South to solve after the Civil War was that of religious freedom for African- Americans. In an 1869 Baptist Association meeting in Tarboro the arguments for and against separate churches for African-Americans grew heated. In the end a resolution was passed that white members should control any Baptist church government and discipline. This meant that African-Americans would be restricted in their religious freedoms which did not meet their approval. Despite strong opposition from the Baptist churches in Edgecombe County, Abraham Wooten with the assistance of supporters in the white community received his letter of dismission to join any church he chose. This opened the way to form independent African- American congregations. In 1876 Wooten was able to form a church to his own liking with members who came from white controlled churches. This early congregation was called Radicue Baptist.

    Princeville, formerly known as Freedom Hill, was founded by former slaves and is the oldest town in North Carolina incorporated by African-Americans (1885). Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church where the monument is located was built in 1890 and is the oldest existing church building in town.

  • Location

    The monument is located at Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church on Church Street in Princeville, NC.

  • Landscape

    Church Street is narrow byway and the church and monument stand only a few feet off the street surrounded by empty lots and scattered housing.

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