Fact Friday 193 - The Legacy of T.J. Reddy

Fact Friday 193 - The Legacy of T.J. Reddy

Happy Friday!


Special thanks to @unccspeccoll (Instagram) for this...

We are saddened to hear of the passing of T.J. Reddy this past week. An artist, poet, civil rights activist, and UNC Charlotte alum, T.J. Reddy has a special place in the history of this city and school, and we want to our condolences with his family, friends, and the Charlotte art community. As an artist, T.J. Reddy was primarily a painter in the social realism movement, whose work was described by “Inside UNC Charlotte” as including “four magic ingredients” of “color, symbolism, narrative and transformation.” His work can be seen across the city, including his piece, “The Child as an Open Book,” which is in the main staircase in Atkins Library, between the first and ground floors.

Rogues 'N Rascals, 1969. UNC Charlotte.


Rogues 'N Rascals, 1970. UNC Charlotte.


As a UNC Charlotte student, Reddy was a prominent student activist and active member of the school’s artistic community. He was one of the leaders of the black student protests in 1969 and helped form the Black Student Union and the Black Studies program, the forerunner of today’s department of Africana Studies.

N.C. Political Prisoners Comm. Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 7, undated. MS0079 T.J. 


T.J. Reddy was also one of “The Charlotte Three,” three civil rights activists who were convicted of arson at the Lazy B horse stables, a dubious court case which many saw as retaliation for their activism. He received a 20-year sentence in 1972, however the sentences for all three - Reddy, James Grant, and Charles Parker - were commuted in 1979 after a long public pressure campaign. His papers, which are held by UNC Charlotte Special Collections, documents his experience in the Charlotte Three case and the local, national, and international campaign to free the three men.


Reddy papers, UNC Charlotte.


Rest easy, T.J. 


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:

UNC Charlotte Special Collections on Instagram.

“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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