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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Latta House Foundation

6501 Golden Lantern Court #107 Raleigh, NC 27613  (919) 841-0953

Contact: Judith L. Guest, Executive Director (919) 841-0953 This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Archaeology Survey To Take Place At Former Site Of Historic Latta University An archaeology survey will take place this Wednesday, January 14th at the former site of Latta University. It will be conducted by Raleigh based Environmental Services, Inc. through the Raleigh Historic District Commission. According to its Principal, Scott Seibel, the survey/ dig will consist of two phases followed up with an assessment. The entire duration of the survey should not exceed more than a few weeks with all findings being reported to the City of Raleigh. The City had acquired the donated 1.97 acre property from developer Adryon Clay in October of 2007.

This archaeology survey is being made possible through the City of Raleigh in response to a financial request made by the Latta House Foundation as per request of a citizens petition where over 1,000 signatures were secured.  In May of 2008, the City of Raleigh made the decision to allocate $15,000
from their general budget for the archaeology survey and $50,000 from the 2009 Parks & Recreation Department budget for park planning.

Latta University was a former school and orphanage for the children of freed slaves. Founded by Reverend Morgan London Latta in 1892. The former slave of the Cameron family was one of Shaw University’s first graduates. The historic landmark was lost to a fire in January of 2007. It was the last of remaining of 26 structures.;/pt03/DIG_Web_Content/category/Leisure/Park_and_Greenway_Planning/Current_Projects/Cat-1C-20081210-100619-Latta_House_Site_Park.html

The Latta House Foundation encouraged the archaeology survey due to the wealth of information the former university’s campus may yield. The property is important for the contributions it can make to learn about the life, culture, education and economics of one of Raleigh’s first African American communities. This would also lead to the eligibility of the site of Latta University to be recognized on the National Registry of Historic Places.  This initial phase will provide the necessities to secure factual info and resources for future plans to convert the property into a memorial “teaching “park and cultural center. It is the Latta House Foundation’s desire to appropriately have a structure on the site as well to highlight other historic facets of Oberlin Village that are vanishing at an alarming rate due to development, neglect and limited resources. The non profit organization would like to see   the much needed facility to hold the community’s history and to co-manage the property in partnership with the City.

*Below is an excerpt taken directly from an email from Adryon Clay sent to Judith Guest 9/2/07

 “It seems natural that you be deeply involved in the design I alone cannot say the City will ultimately become the owner until I get the OK from the appropriate official.  How the City co-operates or partners with another organization will be decided by the City and that organization, not me.  Your
organization has the advantage of knowledge, contacts, and long association with this property.  Thus, of the park and take the lead in developing any enhancements AGREED upon by you and the City.” – Adryon Clay

“I am most certain that the former owner, Adyron Clay would be pleased to see the progress both the Latta House Foundation and the City of Raleigh have made. Most importantly, she would appreciate the working partnership that both parties have established in the best interest of the community. Good
things have come from this and I believe the best is yet to come.”

-Judith Guest, LHF Executive Director

LHF Mission Statement
 As a steward to the community; we will serve as a vessel to promote the history of the Latta School, its founder and other historic facets of Oberlin Village. These offerings will be rendered through educational and cultural opportunities for all.

Board of Directors  
 Judith Guest, Judith Guest is the newly appointed Executive Director of the Latta House Foundation.  She has volunteered with the non profit organization for the past 10 years providing youth programs, publicity and outreach services. Ms. Guest owns a small home based business, Perfecting The Persona where she offers professional writing services and media consultations.  The New Jersey native attended Lyndon State College in Vermont where she received a Bachelors Degree in Communication. Her professional career has been in the media and non-profit sector that has afforded her the opportunity to work on a management level with diverse populations. Ms. Guest possesses experience in fundraising, program development, staffing and establishing community and corporate partnerships.

Brandi Neuwirth, A recent resident of North Carolina, Brandi Neuwirth is the great-great- granddaughter of the Rev. Morgan Latta, founder of Latta University. Ms. Neuwirth earned her BA in English from Williams College in Massachusetts and a Masters of Fine Arts in Film from the University of
California at Las Angeles. Ms. Neuwirth has been an Acquisitions Executive at 20th Century Fox, a film producer and editor for Bon Appétit Magazine.

Eric Phoenix, Married and with two children, Ohio native Eric Phoenix is the owner of his construction management business entitled, Phoenix & Associates. The East Carolina University Alumni has a long standing commitment to the Latta House Foundation as a patron of special events to serving as a volunteer consultant and supporter of its youth enrichment programs.

Walter McLeod, Married and with two children, Ohio native Eric Phoenix is the owner of his construction management business entitled, Phoenix & Associates. The East Carolina University Alumni has a long standing commitment to the Latta House Foundation as a patron of special events to serving as a volunteer consultant and supporter of its youth enrichment programs.

Greg Paige, A long standing friend and advocate of the Latta House Foundation, Paige is professional artist who has shared his talent with our youth over the years. His interactive projects extract self expression while showcasing the strength and compatibility of collaborative artistic works. Under Paige’s instruction, youth learn various techniques while he incorporates educational discussion, self-discipline and project management.  Paige is an Art graduate of Virginia
Commonwealth University specializing in charcoal and oil paint. Paige Portraits is his   home-based business and studio. He often travels the country to do commissioned projects, trade shows and festivals.

Kim Best, Kim M. Best is the Executive Director of the Family Resource Center of Raleigh. The grassroots, community-based non-profit organization serves Southeast Raleigh and neighboring communities in Wake County. Ms. Best has been with the agency for over 10 years. Ms. Her previous job experience was with the North Carolina Low Income Housing Coalition as the AmeriCorps Director, a statewide position where she worked with affordable housing.

Advisory Committee

Briece Edwards- Archaeologist  Cultural Resources Assessment Group Earl Ijames- Curator of African American Studies and Community History NC Museum of History

Joseph Holt- Former Resident of Historic Oberlin Village. Visit

Nicole Loeffler, Commercial Real Estate Attorney -Manning Fulton

Mary Farlander, Project Manager -Maurer Architecture

Greg Bright, Section Chief - Ground Water Program Wake County Dept. of Environmental Services

Jeff Adolphsen, Restoration Specialist- NC State Historic Preservation Office

Elizabeth Sappenfield, Urban Issues Director- Preservation North Carolina
William Shephard, Founder of The Latta House Foundation and former property caretaker #   #   #

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 January 2009 )
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