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African American Album 2 - Events Timeline

1983 - Martin Luther King's Birthday Becomes a Federal Holiday

1983 - Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday becomes a federal holiday.

  • To honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Congress makes the third Monday of each January a federal holiday.
  • Photo shows Johnson C. Smith students going to the convocation commemorating Dr. King’s birthday on January 15, 1981.
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1981 - Edmond Cannon and Ernest Coleman

November 1981-  Edmund Cannon is killed.

July 1982  - Ernest Coleman is killed 

  • They are the first black police officers killed in Charlotte.
  • Additional photo shows funeral for Officer Ernest Coleman
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1982 - Richardson Elected to State Senate

June 30, 1982 - Richardson is elected to the state senate.

  • Photo - Jim Richardson of Charlotte is congratulated by a youth.
  • A graduate of Second Ward, Richardson becomes known as a highly effective legislator.
Date of Event:
June 30, 1982

1981 - McDonald's Cafeteria Moves

1981 - McDonald’s Cafeteria moves.

  • McDonald’s Cafeteria, a landmark in the westside community, moves to I-85 and Beatties Ford Rd.
  • Owner John McDonald, middle, breaks ground
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1980 - Stevenson First Black Woman on Charlotte School Board

1980 - Stevenson becomes the first black woman on the Charlotte school board.

  • Sarah Mingo Stevenson becomes the first black woman on the Charlotte school board. 
  • Stevenson will serve on the board for eight years. She is defeated in 1988 when many newcomers and a new generation of parents question Charlotte's commitment to desegregation. 
  • She is also the first African American woman to serve on the Charlotte PTA Council.
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1980 - King Statue Placed in Marshall Park

April 5, 1980 - King’s statue is placed in Marshall Park.

  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. statue is dedicated and placed in Marshall Park. 
  • The statue is sculpted by Selma Burke, the African American artist who had sculpted the bust of Franklin Roosevelt that appears on the dime. 
  • King’s father and Burke attend the unveiling (shown in photo). Sculptor Selma Burke was also present.
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April 5, 1980

1981 - Vietnam Veteran

November 11, 1981 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is dedicated on this Veteran’s Day. Photo shows Frederick Smith at a Charlotte Veterans’ Observance.


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November 11, 1981

1979 - Funk Hits Charlotte

November 9, 1979 - Funk hits Charlotte.

  • Chaos breaks out at the popular Soul Shack, a record store in downtown Charlotte. 
  • Fans of George Clinton’s band Parliament Funkadelic crowd into the store to see the group, breaking a window and inadvertently causing injuries. Band members do eventually arrive to sign autographs.
Date of Event:
November 9, 1979

1979 - Ron Leeper Elected to City Council

November 1979 - Ron Leeper is elected to the city council.

  • In 1977, a new district system for electing members of the city council had been put in place, removing control from white businessmen, mostly from southeast Charlotte, who have dominated city politics since the 1950s. 
  • He is one of the first black city council members.
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November, 1979

1977 - Charlotte's New District System

1977 - The Black Caucus helps establish district representation in Charlotte.

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