In Black America Series: Charlotte, North Carolina, authors Vermelle Diamond Ely, Grace Hoey Drain, and Amy Rogers have compiled an intriguing pictorial history, which includes images and keepsakes from both the Second Ward Alumni House Museum archive and private collections, to celebrate Charlotte's African-American citizens and the rich heritage they possess. In this week's Fact Friday, I'll share just a few.
In 1948, the North Carolina State Conference of the branches of the NAACP met in Charlotte, and elected prominent, local funeral director and civil rights activist Kelly M. Alexander Sr., as state conference president. This photo, taken on the front steps of Charlotte's Ebenezer Baptist Church on East Second Street, shows Alexander kneeling front of a gathering of the conference attendees. Alexander would go on to serve as the National Board Chairman of the NAACP.
Like many Southern cities, change came slowly to Charlotte. Although the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1947 that segregation in interstate travel was unconstitutional, many Southern train and bus stations were still segregated a decade later In January 1956, redcap Wilbert Martin, father of Mary Martin Jones, oversaw the removal of the signs designating separate waiting rooms at Charlotte's Southern Railway Station.
Under the direction of Executive Secretary Kelly Alexander Sr., Charlotte boasted a very active chapter of the NAACP. One local chapter program brought nationally recognized civil rights leaders, such as New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to Charlotte. More than two dozen local businesses placed ads in the event program for Powell's 1946 visit.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Black America Series: Charlotte, North Carolina by Vermelle Diamond Ely, Grace Hoey Drain, and Amy Rogers (2001)
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass