Fact Friday 112 – Snapshot: Charlotte in 1944-45

Fact Friday 112 – Snapshot: Charlotte in 1944-45

Happy Friday!


While doing my research on cool things to share with you guys, I stumbled across a periodic publication produced and distributed by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce in 1945. It’s an incredibly insightful and impactful look at where post-Plessy v. Furguson (“separate but equal”), pre-Civil Rights Movement Charlotte was on the heels of WWII. It’s an interesting snapshot on the economy, industry, energy infrastructure, transportation, education, healthcare, press and radio, leisure and entertainment, and religious lifestyle. The document portrays an optimistic view towards the future, but the impact of societal limitations on opportunity for the many is self-evident. I’ll include the forward here, but I encourage each of you to take a look at the full document, not only to see how far our city has come, but to also draw present-day parallels and see how much further yet we have to go.


But first, a few facts and observations from the document:


  • The population grew nearly 500% between 1900 and 1945
  • The student to teacher ratio was 30:1 in white public schools vs. 34:1 in black public schools; separate but not equal
  • There were 150 white physicians vs. 12 black physicians
  • The document predates the founding of UNC Charlotte and the creation of Lake Norman
  • The document does not mention or highlight, either deliberately or inadvertently, any businesses and establishments in Brooklyn, Charlotte’s largest predominately black neighborhood in 2nd Ward with a vibrant commercial district.




The occasion for the original preparation of this booklet was Charlotte’s entry in the 1940 census, along with one other city, into the 100,000 class. Three other cities fell back into the 90,000 class. In point of size, it had worked its way forward to 91st in the United States. In 1950, it confidently expects to have advanced still further, probably into the low eighties.


With successful conclusion of the war with Germany and Japan in the summer of 1945, Charlotte turns rapidly forward to a peace-time economy, with assurance of many new manufacturing, distributing, and retail businesses.


Settled near the border in North Carolina, one of the Original Thirteen States, it is a place of some history. By that background it sets due store, and likes to remember that it is no upstart community. But men, to be work their salt, must build, and a town, to be worth its spot on the map, must go forward.


Though blessed with no great single natural advantage, such as deep water or junction of railways, the little town that was Charlotte long ago decided upon the direction it would take. Consistently it has followed a forward course.


It was ambitious. It was alert. It was proud, but not to the point of lost energy. It had visions.


And so it grew, not only in population but in outlook, not only in importance but in appearance. Its present phase, here spread out for view, is that of a city which has arrived at a distinction which it confidently expects to be only the starting point for greater progress.


Cordial welcome awaits you in Charlotte, “Queen City of the South”.


Click the illustration to view the publication!


Until next week!



Email me at chris@704shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!

Information taken from:


Charlotte 1944-45; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission


Additional commentary added.


“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass

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