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Chapter 3

1905 Brevard Street Library
1903 Carnegie Library Report
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: A Century of Service

The Carnegie Library's charter, granted in 1903, had also required the city to provide a public library to serve blacks. In early 1904, the city aldermen bought a lot at the corner of Brevard and East 2nd streets for a separate library for blacks. Although only six blocks from the Carnegie Library, it was in the heart of the Brooklyn neighborhood, the black city within the city of Charlotte where all the black churches and most black-owned businesses and professional offices were located.

This library, opened in 1905, was a small - only 2,500 square feet - but handsome red brick building trimmed in white, with a slate roof and an impressive portal flanked by columns. It was independent of the Carnegie Library and overseen by a separate board of prominent black citizens. Among them were Thaddeus Tate, a highly respected barber and a director in the Mechanics Perpetual Building & Loan Association, and the Rev. Primus P. Alston, rector at St. Michael's Church and director of the church-operated training school. Lydia Schencks was appointed librarian, and the city appropriated $400 for the first year of operation.

The Brevard Street Library for Negroes was the first public library for blacks in North Carolina. It remained an independent organization until 1929 when it was placed under the administration of the Charlotte Public Library. It continued its operation as a branch library and the cultural center for Charlotte's black community until it closed in 1961.


Ryckman, Patricia. Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County: A Century of Service. Charlotte, N.C.: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1989.