Campbell Kitchen Table Saw a Lot of History

The "Oval Table" around which Raleigh's black leaders met for decades

A kitchen table that is part of the N.C. Museum of History’s collection bore witness to plans, hopes, and dreams of the leaders of Raleigh’s black community. Donated to the Museum in October 2004, the table sat for years in the kitchen of the late Ralph Campbell, Sr., and his wife, the late June Campbell.

Beginning in the early 1960s, the group, known as “Oval Table Gang,” would gather in the Campbell kitchen to plan strategies relating to civil rights, desegregation, and black political involvement. Following the death of Ralph Campbell Sr. in 1983, the table continued to serve its more utilitarian purpose in Mrs. Campbell’s kitchen until her death in 2003. 

The couple’s son, Ralph Campbell, Jr., was the first African American elected to statewide office in North Carolina whne he was sworn in as state auditor in 1993. He passed away Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the age of 64.

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