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African American Album Volume 2

Sweet Daddy Grace and the United House of Prayer for All People

As a young man, Charles Manuel Grace sailed by ship from West Africa and arrived in the Unites States sometime around 1903. 

He traveled throughout the eastern US and spread his gospel. During the 1920s, he visited the thriving city of Charlotte and saw an opportunity to begin a new church that would reach out to the area's growing population. 

September 4, 1957 - Delois Huntley at Alexander Graham Junior High School

On September 4, 1957 Delois Huntley becomes the first black student at the old Alexander Graham Junior High on Morehead Street. Her first day's experience is less eventful than any of the other desegregation pioneers.

At the end of the school year, the A. G. School will be torn down and a new one built several miles away off Colony Road. Rather than travel the distance to the new school, Delois transfers to Second Ward High School, where she graduates in 1963.

Date of Event:
1957-09-04

September 4, 1957 - Girvaud Roberts at Piedmont Junior High School

When Girvaud Robers and her mother arrive at Piedmont Junior High, the students and their parents stare at them, but there is on violence.

Girvaud and her mother are greeted by principal Don Newman. As Girvaud is escorted to her classroom by Principal Newman, she remembers her parents' advice to "carry yourself tall."

Several people boo as Girvaud leaves school that day. 

Date of Event:

September 4, 1957 - Gus Roberts at Central High School

On September 4, 1957, sixteen-year-old Gus Roberts arrives at Central High School with his father. They are met upon arrival by a mob protesting Gus' attendance at the school

Principal Ed Sanders welcomes Gus and his father and makes sure the crowd behaves peacefully. Gus goes to class.

When class is dismissed, a voice from the crowd cries out at Gus, "Go back to Second Ward where you came from."

Of the four students who integrate Charlotte's schools that day, only Gus Roberts will remain at an integrated school through graduation. 

Date of Event:

September 4, 1957 - Dorothy Counts at Harding High School

The crowd at all-white Harding High School is angry and ready for trouble when 15-year-old Dorothy Counts arrives escorted by Dr. Edwin Thompkins, a family friend. She is greeted by an angry crowd. Even teachers at the school express their displeasure, some with words and some with silence. 

At the end of the day Dr. Reginald Hawkins, a civil rights leader, escorts Dorothy home. During the next few days, tension grows. Names and rocks are hurled. When Dorothy's brother, Herman Jr., comes to pick her up at school, his car window is cracked by a thrown object.

Date of Event:

Desegregation Pioneers

Desegregation Pioneers

On May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court rules in Brown vs. Board of Education that segregated schools for black and white students are unconstitutional. The ruling calls for the integration of the school systems. Many of the white residents of Charlotte, like those in cities across the country, resist.

Date of Event:

Heritage

This exhibit highlights Charlotte's African American heritage through four subjects:

Churches

"Rock of Ages:" Charlotte's Black Churches Weather Adversity and Retain Strength

by Kathleen McLain

Adapted from the Charlotte Observer, February 8, 1987

The first black church in Charlotte was a wooded grove where the Duke Power building stands in downtown today. As early as 1840, slaves who could slip away gathered under the branches to sing and pray.