The NC Realtors headquarters in Raleigh have a history of Confederacy


Six years ago, the State Association of Realtors paid $ 1.5 million for one of Raleigh’s greatest old houses – the beauty of the Second Empire on Blount Street, almost next to all legislative actions.

Even more expensive was the reconstruction of the mansion of 1870, known as the House of Heck-Andrews and entered in the National Register of Historic Places. It stood empty and largely neglected by its last owner: the state of North Carolina.

But now that the house has been revived, some of the 55,000 members of the NC Realtors Association have begun to point to its ugly past and question their own role in confronting it.

Colonel of the Confederacy

Jonathan McGee Heck, for whom the house was built, fought as a Confederate colonel, identifying so strongly with the southern cause that he left his family in what is now West Virginia and joined the rebels in Richmond.

He then served in the Virginia legislature during the Confederacy, buying raw materials to produce weapons for the Southern Army. In the years after the war, becoming a successful businessman, he and Hackie moved to Raleigh and built their ornate house on what became one of Raleigh’s prestigious neighborhoods.

So, a century and a half later, some realtors from North Carolina, especially its black members, are wondering how they fit into their organization’s showy office in Raleigh.

“I don’t think colored people like to walk in places named after people who have a racist history from the south,” said Monique Edwards, a broker at NC Living Realty. “I don’t. For me, it really becomes a conversation about how organizations buy things and how they move forward when dealing with stigmatized real estate. ”

“We can’t change the past”

In a statement sent by CEO Andrea Bushnell on Thursday, NC Realtors said it has for decades tackled racial inequality in housing through fair and affordable housing policies. The Heck-Andrews House is next to state lawmakers, allowing the group to continue its work on behalf of homeowners.

“Like many historic sites in Raleigh, this property also has a history that links it to part of the South Confederate’s past through some of its many previous owners,” the statement said. “While we cannot change the past, we are committed to recognizing this story and those in our industry who have broken down racial barriers to help realize the dream of home ownership.”

View from the top of the characteristic tower of the Hack Andrews House on North Blount Street in Raleigh, North Carolina, photographed on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Inside the historic Hack Andrews House on North Blount Street in downtown Raleigh was once in ruins . The NC Realtors Association is bringing it back to life. Ethan Hyman

In recent years Raleigh has publicly fought his Confederate past, watching the state destroy three monuments of the Confederacy on the Capitol in 2020.

Just last year, Cameron Village dropped its old name and became known as the Village District, severing ties with his namesake slave owner. Nearby quickly followed by mailas well as Cameron Park neighborhood.

City center a statue dedicated to Joseph Danielsthe former publisher of The News & Observer, a supporter of the white race, resigned in 2020 as well the high school is named after him changed to Oberlin.

Owners of historical markers Fannie Heck

Local historians don’t think Heck owned slaves, being a young lawyer and real estate buyer before the war and a city businessman afterwards, focusing heavily on attracting investors to the new North Carolina.

The historic sign near the house is not dedicated to Jonathan Heck, but to his wife Fanny, who held a prominent place in women’s missionary work.

A detail of the architecture radiates in the morning sun at the Hack Andrews House on Blunt Street in Raleigh. CHRYS SEWARD NEWS FILE AND PHOTO OBSERVER

Realtors note that North Carolina owned the mansion for many years while it stood in poor condition, and its ties to the rebels there are also not mentioned. They said that, in addition to monuments, this story will have to be addressed repeatedly, because it lives in every building of a certain age.

For Anthony Lindsay, a real estate agent in Charlotte, the question is whether the group with the size and reach of NC Realtors will constructively and positively fight the Confederacy’s ties.

Does the membership know about this, he asked, especially outside of Raleigh? Does the organization feel any motivation to address the Confederate past of its new office, given the state’s push for social and racial justice?

“The point for me is,‘ How much do members know about this story and how do they feel about this affiliation? ’” He asked. “Where do people relate to this? Do they care? Maybe they don’t care. I would be upset if they didn’t care. What worries me is that I don’t know that the organization has done a really good job of informing the members. “

The story will tell.

The front view of the Heck-Andrews house, built around. 1870, at 309 North Blount Street in downtown Raleigh, NC, photographed in July 2015. Harry Lynch NEWS FILE AND PHOTO OBSERVER

The NC Realtors headquarters in Raleigh have a history of Confederacy

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