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African American Cultural Complex

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The African American Heritage Preservation Cultural Complex (AACC) originated in 1984,as a hobby, by Dr. and Mrs. E.B. Palmer, then opened in 1989 as the Black Heritage Park. The Palmers' and George Barner incorporated AACC in 1994. The Palmers' entered into a Lease Agreement in 1991 for $1.00 per year. The park occupies approximately 3 acres of the wooded land to the rear of the Palmer House at 119 Sunnybrook Road. The AACC was chartered and granted 501 (c)(3) tax status in October 1994. The AACC currently has 3Exhibit Houses located along a natural trail beside a creek, a Mini-Amphitheater, a Bird Sanctuary, Nature Preserve and a Picnic Area and Botanical Gardens. There is no admission fee, however, visitors and friends have donated small sums of money. Friends and organizations have also donated labor and artifacts.

The AACC is striving to be self-sustaining. Plans for the acquisition of additional land for the construction of a major museum complex are being developed. A permanent and mobile exhibit of, "Women of Note" is one of the museum's new outstanding expansion projects. Plans for the display of a reproduction of the "Amistad" Slave Ship are being developed. The mutiny on the "Amistad" symbolizes the first Civil Rights Case in America and a pronounced example of how the judicial appellate system worked in America and North Carolina. A drama, telling the Amistad Story will be produced during July and August annually. The history of The Benjamin Spaulding Family (NC Mutual Life Insurance Co.) will be presented and preserved in a 4th exhibit house.

Word of what the Palmers' have done spread slowly throughout the Triangle area and friends began to request guided tours for small groups. As educators, the Palmers' made verycapable lecturers, thus the facilities were opened to these visitors with the Palmers' conducting tours through the Complex. During 2000, over 140,000 visitors experienced the program of AACC. Some of the organizations which have visited the AACC site, have endorsed its program, and which have given support are: Capital Area Visitors Bureau, North Carolina Department of Archives, schools in the Piedmont Area, North Carolina Association of Educators, Downtown Raleigh Development Corporation, Raleigh Arts Commission, A.J. Fletcher Foundation, Cannon Foundation, United Arts Council, Triangle Community Foundation, National Education Association and the D. Michael Warner Foundation to name a few. Tour groups have come from across the state of North Carolina, out-of-state and from foreign countries.

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