Fact Friday 48 - 2 Walking Tours in 1 Weekend
Happy Friday everyone!
I should have taken the opportunity last week to wish all of the mothers and mother figures a Happy Mother’s Day. Big fail on my part. But it’s never too late to tell you all you are amazing and we thank you for all that you do. You truly make the world go ‘round!
Last weekend, I participated in two walking tours that I initially learned about by being on the mailing list for the Levine Museum of the New South. Every month, they send out a cool calendar highlighting several events going on onsite and offsite. And if you know the Levine, then you know they are about substance and impact. Anyhow, I saw that there were a few walking tours that were being offered and I signed up for all 3: 1 in Elizabeth in April (which I ended up not attending because the forecast called for rain) and 1 each on Saturday and Sunday of Mother’s Day weekend.
Saturday: Walking Tour of Johnson C. Smith University and nearby neighborhood
Join us for a walking tour of Johnson C. Smith University and the nearby vicinity, with neighborhood resident Ruth Smith McDonald, artist Jamil Steel, and historian Tom Hanchett of Levine Museum of the New South. The walk will view the history mural Jamil Steel helped create. The walk is being held in partnership with the We Walk Together initiative of Mecklenburg Ministries.
The tour began and ended at First Baptist Church-West, 1801 Oaklawn Ave.
Sunday: Walking Tour of Hebrew Cemetery and Brightwalk
One of Charlotte’s oldest, most fascinating burial grounds and one of its newest, most exciting in-city neighborhoods are right next to each other on Statesville Ave. Brian Yesowitch of Temple Beth El will co-lead the walk with Tom Hanchett of Levine Museum Museum of the New South. This walk is being held in partnership with the We Walk Together initiative of Mecklenburg Ministries.
The tour began and ended at 1801 Statesville Ave.
(descriptions courtesy of the Levine mailer)
A joint effort by the UNCC Urban Land Institute, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the We Walk Together initiative, the tours were designed to give Charlotte residents an opportunity to see and experience areas of the city that they might not otherwise visit or might have passed a million times but never paid attention to. They are conscious and deliberate efforts to bring residents together and combat many of the systemic and economic barriers that can be, and usually are, pervasively divisive in our community. The tour guides were there to provide the proper historical context (of which there was way too much to share in this article) regarding Charlotte’s complex, and often ugly past, answer questions, and help guide discussions. But by and large, the biggest reward was the opportunity to come together with complete strangers from all different backgrounds, local and from far away, mix, mingle, walk, talk, and get to know them. I enjoyed getting to know what their interests were, what they care about, what their connections to Charlotte were, and what drew them to give up time during their valuable weekend, 2 hours on Saturday and 1.5 hours on Mother’s Day, to come and be a part of these events.
Tom Hanchett and Brian Yesowitch undoubtedly did an amazing job helping us to all understand the history’s relevance today. I can’t say enough about the quality of the tours themselves. But I have to say that, for me, the biggest takeaway was the reaffirmation that there’s a significant portion of our community that cares about many of the things that I, too, hold dear: balancing progress with historical preservation, truly equal opportunity, faith, and family.
In Charlotte, there’s a ton of history in plain sight. But I challenge you to go a bit off the beaten path and explore. The reward is there. It’s just waiting for you to find it. The same goes with people. Challenge yourself to get out and rub elbows with people of whom you have no expectation and no agenda. Sometimes the best flowers grow from seeds that were planted unintentionally.
For more about the Hebrew Cemetery, which I found fascinating, please visit them on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/HebrewCemetery
Here are some resources that were given out during the tours and pictures that I took.
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!
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass