RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – After Cameron Village said it was rebranding to distance itself from a slave-owning family name, Raleigh’s mayor wants to know if any street names in that area are associated with the same name.
When it opened in 1949, Cameron Village became the first shopping center between Washington D.C. and Atlanta.
It was built on 160 acres of land purchased from the Cameron family.
The name Cameron stems from Duncan Cameron, who was one of the largest slave owners east of the Mississippi, according to Friends of Oberlin Village executive director Sabrina Goode.
While his main home was in Orange County, Cameron’s summer home was along present-day Hillsborough Street near St. Mary’s School.
Regency Centers, who said it owns more than 400 retail properties across the U.S., said it is incumbent upon the company to help create a more inclusive future.
“In Raleigh, Regency has made great efforts to listen and better understand history about the name Cameron Village that has been overlooked for generations,” Regency said. “As a result, we are announcing the decision to remove the Cameron name from one of Raleigh’s most iconic landmarks.”
Eric Davidson, Regency Centers’ senior communications manager, says about a year ago the company looked at rebranding the shopping center. It was then they learned about the history behind the name.
“Once we saw the ties of Duncan Cameron, specifically his ties to slavery, the decision was pretty easy. It just wasn’t something that lined up with our company values,” said Davidson.
Davidson said “Friends of Oberlin Village” was instrumental in educating them about the area’s past.
On Tuesday, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin asked staff to research the street names in the area of Cameron Village may be associated or related to the Cameron name.
Regency said it was rebranding the shopping center as the “Village District.”