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Images of Black History


After the Civil War, many former slaves prospered. They built fine homes, like this two-story Four Square style house at 414 North Myers St. in First Ward. It was the home of Samuel and Anderson McKnight, who had been born into slavery.


Charlotte had an African American newspaper in the 1800's. The founder, editor and publisher of the Charlotte Messenger was W. C. Smith. A member of Grace A.M.E. Zion Church, he believed that blacks must be totally upright and virtuous to be accepted by whites.


One of the major social events for African Americans in Charlotte was the Christmas reception at the home of Bishop George Wiley Clinton, minister at Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church. You see the Bishop standing at the front with his wife over his left shoulder.


Black men and women owned and operated their own business. This picture was made about 1910 in front of the Queen City Drug Store on E. Second St. in Brooklyn. Almost all of Brooklyn or Second Ward was demolished by the City's Urban Renewal program in the 1960's and 1970's.



This is the slave burial ground on the W. T. Alexander Plantation near UNCC. Simple rocks mark most of the gravesites. Mecklenburg County was one of the largest cotton producing counties in the North Carolina Piedmont. About 40 percent of the entire population were slaves before the Civil War.


This is the largest headstone in the W. T. Alexander Slave Burial Ground. It was erected after the Civil by the children of two slaves, Soloman Alexander and Violet Alexander. Slaves frequently used the names of their masters. This slave burial ground is highly endangered. The land is zoned for apartments.


Blacks provided much of the labor for heavy mover J. P. Carr. This photograph taken about 1920's shows Carr (the man in the far right wearing a hat) and his black crew hauling a monument to Elmwood Cemetery.


Mrs. Olivia Siglar standing in front of her home at 222 N. Myers St. The house was later destroyed by the City's Urban Renewal program for First Ward.



This site was developed using a Macintosh Performa 6290 by Bruce Schulman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.