28 days of Charlotte-Mecklenburg black history

Each day in February — Black History Month — Qcitymetro will post a link to black heritage in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Charlotte has a rich history of African-American achievement. In our fast-changing city, it’s easy for that knowledge to get lost.

Check out a different web-link each day during February to explore some of those stories.  But don’t stop then. Every month can be Black History Month — twelve months a year. #BlackHistoryCLT

This bronze statue of Thad Tate stands on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. (Photo: Qcitymetro)

Feb. 1 — The first funk record was made in Charlotte? Yes! Here’s the story of James Brown’s Brand New Bag. #BlackHistoryCLT

Feb. 2 — Here’s a top-notch overview of Charlotte’s Civil Rights history from UNC Charlotte. #BlackHistoryCLT

Feb. 3 —Good Sam” – first privately funded hospital for African Americans in NC – stood where Panthers Stadium is now. The building is gone but a plaque marks the spot and the hospital chapel is part of the permanent Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers exhibit at Levine Museum of the New South.  #BlackHistoryCLT

Feb. 4 — Barber, church-founder, community leader — WTVI looks back at the life of Thad Tate a century ago. Have you seen his statue on Little Sugar Creek Greenway? #BlackHistoryCLT

A plaque on Little Sugar Creek Greenway outlines how Thaddeus (Thad) Lincoln Tate used his business association to improve life for black Charlotteans starting in the 1890s. (Photo: Qcitymetro)

Feb. 5 — Wilbert Harrison, who came up in Charlotte’s Excelsior Club, made the first national hit record of the now-classic “Kansas City.”  He was part of one of the leading music families in Charlotte’s United House of Prayer for All People. His much younger brother Zeb still heads a trombone praise band. Wilbert Harrison is buried in Pinewood Cemetery. #BlackHistoryCLT

Feb. 6 — One of the four originators of the nationwide Sit-In Movement, which began in Greensboro in February of 1960, was Franklin McCain — later a longtime Charlottean.

Feb. 7 — Skilled African Americans dominated the building trades a century ago. Builder/architect W.W. Smith constructed Grace AME Zion Church and the Mecklenburg Investment Company office building for black professionals, which both still stand uptown on Brevard Street. New research traces the career of Smith’s mentor, the Charlotte brickmaker William Houser.

Feb. 8 — What leaders shaped Charlotte coming out of slavery? Read Janette Greenwood’s book about our city’s African American history 1850 – 1910: Bittersweet Legacy.

Feb. 9 — Charlotte’s 1954 airport sit-in (one of the South’s earliest) opened dining facilities to all at Douglas Airport.

Feb. 10 — A new full-length biography looks back at nationally renowned artist Romare Bearden’s roots in Charlotte. Here’s an informative review and a radio interview with the author.

Feb. 11 — 813 black schools across NC— legacy of Charlotte’s Dr. George E. Davis & Rosenwald Fund. There’s a WTVI documentary film. And a story by UNCC’s Urban Institute.

Feb. 12 — Best known as Charlotte’s first black Mayor, Harvey Gantt created notable architecture.

This house on Sardis Lane was designed by Harvey Gantt, Charlotte first black mayor. (Photo: ncmodernist.org)

Feb. 13 — Take a Black History drive – see these Charlotte landmarks.

Feb 14 — Jimmie Kirkpatrick desegregated Charlotte’s football Shrine Bowl. Impressive series by Charlotte Observer tells that history.

Feb 15 — Food is history! Visit restaurants that serve food from African and African American traditions.

Feb 16 — Nationally renowned Civil Rights lawyer Julius Chambers won key school & labor cases. 2017 book!

Feb 17 — Remembering 1965 – houses of four civil rights leaders bombed here, worst violence in Charlotte during the Civil Rights Movement.

Feb 18 — New book explores West Charlotte High history — and shows how the changing national policies on race and education affect us all.

Feb. 19 — Here’s a look back at the deep history of Charlotte’s Cherry neighborhood.

Feb 20 — A year before 1964 Civil Rights Act, Charlotte activist Reginald Hawkins won the end of segregation in restaurants, movie theaters.

Feb 21 — Charlotte and Rock Hill were important stops on the 1961 Freedom Ride — protesting segregated transportation. Black riders were arrested at the Charlotte bus station for using the “white” waiting room. Future US Congressman John Lewis was beaten in Rock Hill.

Feb. 22 — Podcast with one of CLT’s all-time most fascinating people: Civil Rights leader Charles Jones who served as spokesperson for Charlotte’s 1960 lunch counter sit-ins, joined the 1961 Freedom Ride, and more.

Feb 23 — Discover Rock Hill’s BIG role in U.S. Sit-In Movement. Film by national award-winning Steve Crump. There’s also a WTVI documentary.

Feb 24 — Golden Gate Quartet’s 1937-38 Charlotte recordings revolutionized gospel music – bringing in swing. Here’s their version of Swing Down Sweet Chariot— hot stuff starts at 1:00. Elvis was a huge fan, went to jam with the ‘Gates in Paris when he was in the Army. Watch his version of Swing Down Sweet Chariot.

Feb 25 — Look back at Charlotte’s vanished neighborhood of Brooklyn, site of today’s government center. And look ahead at plans for a new Brooklyn Village.

Feb 26 — Making music history! Did you know that James Brown’s long-time musical director now lives in Charlotte? The leader of Prince’s horn section? And, of course, Grammy winners Anthony Hamilton and Fantasia Barrino?

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