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An African American Album

Community Life


This photograph of the Friday Evening Social Club was taken about 1907. The members were schoolteachers at the Myers Street School.



“Have you heard of the Leaf Social? It will be given at Varick Hall, Friday night, Jan 29. Come and see the leaves matched.”

Special announcement from the Star of Zion, January 28, 1897



Car advertising an appearance by Bishop C. M. Grace at the United House of Prayer for all People.


“The main contribution of the church was to tell young people, 'You are somebody, you can be somebody.' Through the youth organizations, the church challenged young people to develop to their highest potential.”

 The Reverend Curtis Kearns



The Afro-American newspaper carriers, 1933. Seated: Ray A Booton. Standing, left to right: Eddie Spears, Edna Cathey, David Smith, William Cathey, Gerson Stroud, Addison Yongue, John Spears, Mrs. Martha Yongue Johnson, Reginald Wright. 

"I taught all my children to work, but I gave them plenty of time to play. I saw to it that they learned the art of working and the importance of work."



The Library at Morgan School in the Cherry Community, c.1925


"Unless you take interest in young people, train them and help them to be first-class citizens, you have nobody to take your place when you pass into the great beyond."

Kelly M. Alexander, Sr. 


Home and Family

The Kirkpatrick family on the porch of their farmhouse, c.1910

From The Samuel Kirkpatrick Family by Addie Pettice and Josephine Wade



"Our home was never a fine one from the sense of size or appointments, but it was a roomy, old-fashioned house with a big porch around it, and the home was filled with children and a good Mother's love."

Rose Leary Love



This is a special project of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in celebration of the Library's centennial year. It addresses a long-standing need to record and preserve the visual history of the African American Community.

The project has stimulated the collection and preservation of photographs depicting family life, work sites, schools, churches, neighborhoods and events which illustrate the African American heritage of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in the years before 1950.

About the Project

Photographer Al Ricks volunteers his time to copy photographs for the project. Photo by Jane Johnson.


This album grew out of a year long project developed to address a gap in this community's local historical record and a need to preserve the visual history of the black community in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.



This project would not have been possible without the assistance of the following individuals and organizations who generously loaned photographs or otherwise contributed to the project:

Mrs. Kelly Alexander, Sr.

Mildred P. Alridge

Anita Baldwin

Mrs. Miriam Grigsby Bates

Marjorie Belton

Minnie Alma Blake

Geraldine Johnson Blenman

The Reverend and Mrs. Ray A. Booton

Mrs. Jeanne Brayboy

Bernard L. Brown

Ethel Bryant

Ethel M. Cannon

Joan and John Carrothers