Campus News

Home of Abolitionist Wilson Bruce Evans Will be Restored as a Museum

September 13, 2021

Scott Wargo

Front exterior view of two-story red brick house built in 1850s
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

More than 160 years after abolitionist Wilson Bruce Evans joined the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue to free John Price, two dozen of Evans’ descendants will return to Oberlin on September 18 to celebrate the first annual meeting of the Evans Home Historical Society.

A nonprofit founded in January 2021, the Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society  will restore the Evans house for use as a museum and educational resource. An African American carpenter and furniture maker, Evans built the red brick home  from 1854 to 1856 for his family when they moved to Oberlin from North Carolina. 

Oberlin College Emerita Professor of History and Evans Home Historical Society Manager Carol Lasser says the society intends to honor Evans and the efforts of all those who continue to struggle for Black freedom, equality, and racial justice. 

“The home is envisioned as a destination for community members, students, and visitors who are interested in understanding how Black abolitionists lived in this small town and stood up for emancipation and African American empowerment,” says Lasser. 

The celebration program will include remarks by Evans’ descendants Doris Hughes-Moore and Nina Grooms Lee as well as greetings from the National Park Service and from the Hillsborough Historical Commission in the North Carolina town where Evans was born. Oberlin historians Margaret Christian and Thelma Quinn Smith, both of whom worked with the last resident of the house, Dorothy Inborden Miller, will be honored as legacy guardians for their efforts to ensure recognition of the historical significance of the building and the family.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and named a National Historic Landmark by the National Parks Service in 1997, the house stands today where it was built on East Vine Street and serves as a reminder of Oberlin’s involvement in the antislavery movement. Plans for the restoration of the Evans home will be on display at the celebration.

The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. in Oberlin’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, across the street from the Evans house at 33 East Vine Street. The event is open to the public and visitors can join the Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society as a founding member for $10. 

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