The search for information on the history of Grier Heights began earlier this year.
With the help of the Grier Heights Community Center and members of the community, stories and photographs detailing 140 years worth of history will be depicted in a new exhibition titled “Grier Heights: Community is Family.”
This exhibition is a collaboration between the Levine Museum of the New South, Grier Heights community members and the Knight Foundation, the exhibition’s sponsor.
Grier Heights, formerly known as Billingsville and later on, Grier Town, was a Black community established by Sam Billings, a formerly enslaved man who purchased land in the 1890s, according to Keri Peterson, senior director of history and exhibits at the Levine Museum.
Originally a commercial farming community, Billings invested in additional real estate and sold pieces of land to Black families. He envisioned an independent Black community that could thrive on its own.
Arthur S. Grier, who the town is named after, would soon come in and expand the community, establishing a grocery store and the Grier and Thompson Funeral Home, presently known as Grier Funeral Service. Grier also helped create more housing for Black soldiers coming home from World War II.
As of today, the community is still inhabited by Black people, but it is one of many historical Black neighborhoods being affected by gentrification, according to longtime Grier Heights Resident James Lee.
What to expect at the exhibition
The exhibition will debut at the Grier Heights Community Center and is expected to stay there until early 2023.
Part of the visuals sit on freestanding banners and the exhibit is divided into several themes including Billingsville, Grier Town, churches, places and traditions.
Each banner will have a QR code that will connect to interviews with current and former residents of Grier Heights.
In the meantime, check out a few historical photographs of the Grier Heights community.
Want to go?
When: Saturday, Nov. 19
Time: 2 p.m.
Where: 3100 Leroy St., Charlotte, NC 28205
For more information: https://www.museumofthenewsouth.org/events/community-is-family-open-house/