April 11, 1918 - Film star Charlie Chaplin visits Charlotte to promote the sale of bonds that raise money for the war effort. He speaks for 10 minutes and raises over $20,000. Chaplin also entertains troops at Camp Greene, on Charlotte's west side.
November 1918Millions of people worldwide are dying from Spanish influenza, or flu. To keep the infection from spreading throughout the community, Charlotte officials close parks, churches, schools and other public buildings. Still, in the U.S. alone, the disease races through the population in an outbreak called an epidemic. More than 500,000 people will die.
November 11, 1918 - In a railroad car outside Paris, France, German leaders sign a pledge to stop fighting, called an armistice. With the help of American troops, the war has been won by France, England and their supporters, called allies. More formal negotiations must follow, and the official end of the war will come next June with the Treaty of Versailles, France. Worldwide, 10 million servicemen have died and 20 have been million wounded. Among US troops, 116,000 have died in the war.
July 28, 1914 - The European nation of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, one month after a Serbian kills the Archduke of Austria-Hungary. World War I begins. The deadliest war in history to date, it will last nearly five years. The U.S. will remain uninvolved, or neutral, for three years.
November 9, 1914 - Across the nation, a movement called Suffrage has been gathering support since Revolutionary days. Women are allowed to vote in some states, but not in North Carolina. Today, Charlotte's Selwyn Hotel hosts the state's first suffrage convention. Only when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes will women win this crucial right in 1920.Suffragettes
May 7, 1915 - Germany dominates Europe's war. A German submarine sinks a British passenger ship, the Lusitania. Nearly 1,200 non-military people, or civilians, die, including more than 100 Americans. Germany claims the ship is carrying war supplies. But the British deny it. The American public begins to support U.S. involvement in the war.
November 15, 1915 - Five thousand people crowd into the Academy of Music in downtown Charlotte. It is the premiere of the silent film Birth of a Nation. A 30-piece orchestra accompanies it. Based on a novel by Shelby's Thomas W. Dixon, the controversial D.W. Griffith movie glorifies the Ku Klux Klan and its role in the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War.
May 20, 1916 - The man who attended Davidson College for one year comes to Charlotte. He is now President Woodrow Wilson. It is blisteringly hot on Meck Dec Day, Mecklenburg's celebration of Independence. Mayor T.L. Kirkpatrick speaks so long when introducing the president that wool-clad members of a marching band faint.From l. to r.: Governor Manning of South Carolina, President Wilson, Governor Craig of North Carolina, Mayor Kilpatrick of Charlotte
July 1916 - After 22 inches of rain fall in the North Carolina mountains, a storm brings 50-mile-per-hour winds to Mecklenburg County. All along the Catawba River, factories and bridges are washed away, along with bales of cotton going to market.
Northern businessman Julius Rosenwald donates millions of dollars to help build schools for black children in the South. In 15 states, there are 5,000 Rosenwald schools. Of the 813 in North Carolina, 26 are in Mecklenburg County. Many will be torn down as the school system modernizes, but a few will remain standing 80 years later.