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An African American Album
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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.

Scenes of home and family life are depicted in pictures of children at play, formal family photographs, weddings and family reunions. Family homes are shown, including the poor, the modest and the elegant in Charlotte's historical African American neighborhoods.

The rich religious history of the African American church in Charlotte is portrayed in photographs of the original edifices of churches which have merged or moved to new sites. The book also contains pictures of church life which include music, worship, recreation, education and community outreach.

Pictures of schools and school activities are reminders of the varied educational and leadership experiences which were provided for African American students by caring teachers in segregated schools. Many of these buildings have been razed or converted to different uses. Scenes from Johnson C. Smith University describe a historic institution of higher learning which serves an international constituency.

One section of this album demonstrates citizens at work. Laborers, professionals and entrepreneurs are portrayed in a variety of settings. A section of Community Life gives a glimpse of personalities and organizations whose activities enhanced the civic and social life of African American citizens.

These photographs tell the story of citizens engaged in meaningful activities. The album affords understanding and appreciation of life in the African American community before 1950.

Elizabeth S. Randolph, Editor

February, 1992

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An African American Album: The Black Experience in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1992)