Race and Racism

  • Slavery Comes to America

    Slavery Comes to America
    To satisfy the labor needs of the rapidly growing North American colonies, white European settlers turned in the early 17th century from indentured servants (mostly poorer Europeans) to a cheaper, more plentiful labor source: enslaved Africans.
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  • The Catawba Nation

    The Catawba Nation
    lives in what comes to be called Mecklenburg County
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  • European Settlers Arrive

    European Settlers Arrive
    1762 Mecklenburg County is founded
  • Nat Turner’s Revolt

    Nat Turner’s Revolt
    In August 1831, Nat Turner struck fear into the hearts of white Southerners by leading the only effective slave rebellion in U.S. history. Link text
  • Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad

    Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad
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    transform Charlotte into a central hub for the plantation economy. At the start of the Civil War, Meck. Co. had nearly 7,000 slaves - 40% of the population
  • Charlotte Female Institute

    Charlotte Female Institute
    Is founded, and later becomes Queens University of Charlotte
  • Dred Scott Case

    Dred Scott Case
    the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Scott v. Sanford, delivering a resounding victory to southern supporters of slavery and arousing the ire of northern abolitionists. Link text
  • Civil War and Emancipation

    Civil War and Emancipation
    By the summer of 1862, however, Lincoln had come to believe he could not avoid the slavery question much longer. Five days after the bloody Union victory at Antietam in September, he issued a preliminary emancipation proclamation; on January 1, 1863, he made it official that enslaved people within any State, or designated part of a State in rebellion, “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Link text
  • Secession Support from the Union

    Secession Support from the Union
    88% of Mecklenburg county voters support secession from the Union
  • Johnson C. Smith University

    Johnson C. Smith University
    originally, the Freedmen’s College of North Carolina, was founded April 7
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools established

    Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools established
    Whites attend South School (East Morehead/ South Blvd) and Blacks attend Myers Street School (South McDowell/ East Stonewall St.).
  • "Separate But Equal"

    "Separate But Equal"
    As Reconstruction drew to a close and the forces of white supremacy regained control from carpetbaggers (northerners who moved South) and freed Black people, Southern state legislatures began enacting the first segregation laws, known as the “Jim Crow” laws Link text
  • Wilmington Massacre

    Wilmington Massacre
    NC’s White South Democratic Party leads a mob of 2000+ to murder an undetermined number of Black leaders and destroy their businesses and property Link text
  • Democratic Party & White Supremacy

    Democratic Party & White Supremacy
    Charlotte city solicitor and eventual NC Supreme Court justice proposes white
    supremacy for Democratic Party platform
  • Separate Seating in Courtrooms

    Charlotte passes regulations requiring that Blacks and Whites be seated separately in
    courtrooms and use different Bibles for testimony (July 21)
  • White Supremacy

    Charlotte Mayor J.D. McCall convenes the White Supremacy Club (March 2) and on that same day,
    Police Chief W.S. Orr leads parade of White Supremacy leaders in front of a crowd of approximately 5,000
  • White Supremacy Parade

    White Supremacy Parade
    Police Chief W. S. Orr leads parade of white supremacy leaders in front of a crowd of
    approximately 5,000 (March 2)
  • White Supremacy Club

    White Supremacy Club
    Charlotte mayor J. D. McCall convenes the White Supremacy Club (March 2)
  • Blacks Restricted from City Parks

    NC State law makes it illegal for Black residents to use new city parks
  • NAACP Founded

    NAACP Founded
    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Among the NAACP’s stated goals were the abolition of all forced segregation, the enforcement of the 14th and 15th Amendments, equal education for Black and white students and complete enfranchisement of all Black men.
  • Joseph McNeely is lynched

    in Mecklenburg County on August 26
  • Harlem Renaissance

    Harlem Renaissance
    n the 1920s, the great migration of Black Americans from the rural South to the urban North sparked an African American cultural renaissance that took its name from the New York City neighborhood of Harlem but became a widespread movement in cities throughout the North and West. Also known as the Black Renaissance or the New Negro Movement. Link text
  • Willie McDaniel is lynched

    Willie McDaniel is lynched in Mecklenburg County on June 29
  • White Supremacy Memorial

    White Supremacy Memorial
    Memorial erected near memorial stadium commemorating white supremacy (June 8)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department

    Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department
    Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department hires its first Black police officers
  • UNC Charlotte

    UNC Charlotte
    is founded to offer evening classes to returning veterans
  • Brown v. Board Of Education

    Brown v. Board Of Education
    the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its verdict in Brown v. Board of Education, ruling unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the 14th Amendment’s mandate of equal protection of the laws of the U.S. Constitution to any person within its jurisdiction. Link text
  • Emmett Till

    Emmett Till
    a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago named Emmett Till had recently arrived in Money, Mississippi to visit relatives. While in a grocery store, he allegedly whistled and made a flirtatious remark to the white woman behind the counter. Two white men dragged Till from his uncle’s house in the middle of the night. After beating the boy, they shot him to death and threw his body in the Tallahatchie River. Link text
  • Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
    an African American woman named Rosa Parks was riding a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama when the driver told her to give up her seat to a white man. Parks refused and was arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation ordinances, which mandated that Black passengers sit in the back of public buses and give up their seats for white riders if the front seats were full. Link text
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    “Urban renewal”

    over an 11-year period Charlotte tears down 1480 structures in
    Brooklyn including numerous churches sold to historically White churches so
    congregations could expand [
  • Protest In Charlotte- Mecklenburg

    A group of Black citizens protests the discrimination that occurs in public facilities.
    Mayor Stanford Brookshire appoints a group of citizens to address race relations in
    Charlotte - Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee is formed
  • Integration of Ole Miss

    crisis erupted when the state-funded University of Mississippi ( “Ole Miss”) admitted a Black man, James Meredith. With the aid of the NAACP, Meredith filed a lawsuit alleging that the university had discriminated against him because of his race. In September 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Meredith’s favor, When Meredith arrived at Ole Miss under the protection of federal forces including, a mob of more than 2,000 people formed on the campus. 2 people were killed 200 injured
  • Desegregation “Eat-In” and CPCC Founded

    Civil Rights leaders and White business leaders eat lunch together in Charlotte’s upscale restaurants and hotels, defying segregation laws and that same year, an integrated CPCC is founded
  • I Have A Dream

    I Have A Dream
    “I have a dream,” King intoned, expressing his faith that one day white and Black people would stand together as equals, and there would be harmony between the races: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Link text
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Segregated

    CMS has 88 segregated schools - 57 for White students and 31 for Black students
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    At its most basic level, the act gave the federal government more power to protect citizens against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex or national origin. It mandated the desegregation of most public accommodations and established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ensure equal treatment of minorities in the workplace. Link text
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    The Voting Rights Act sought to overcome the legal barriers that still existed at the state and local level preventing Black citizens from exercising the right to vote given them by the 15th Amendment. Link text
  • Home Bombing

    Homes of Julius Chambers, Kelly Alexander, Fred Alexander, and Reginald Hawkins are
    bombed (November 22)

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    Rise of Black Power

    After the heady rush of the civil rights movement’s first years, anger and frustration was increasing among many African Americans, who saw clearly that true equality—social, economic and political—still eluded them. In the late 1960s and early ’70s, this frustration fueled the rise of the Black Power movement.
  • Fair Housing Act

    Fair Housing Act
    The Fair Housing Act of 1968, meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, marked the last great legislative achievement of the civil rights era. Originally intended to extend federal protection to civil rights workers, it was later expanded to address racial discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of housing units. Link text
  • MLK Assassinated

    MLK Assassinated
    the world was stunned and saddened by the news that the civil rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot and killed on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had gone to support a sanitation workers’ strike. Link text
  • Swann v. Mecklenburg Board of Education

    Swann v. Mecklenburg Board of Education
    unanimously implements the integration of Charlotte’s public schools on April 20
  • Shirley Chisholm Runs for President

    Shirley Chisholm Runs for President
    A former educational consultant and a founder of the National Women’s Caucus, Chisholm became the first Black woman in Congress in 1968, when she was elected to the House from her Brooklyn district. Though she failed to win a primary, Chisholm received more than 150 votes at the Democratic National Convention. Link text
  • Highway Displacement

    Highway Displacement
    affects mostly families of color displaced by the development of Highway 277 Link text
  • The Bakke Decision and Affirmative Action

    The Bakke Decision and Affirmative Action
    Allan Bakke, a white California man, applied twice without success, he sued U.C. Davis, claiming that his grades and scores were higher than those of minority students who were admitted and accusing UC Davis of “reverse discrimination.” In 1978, in Regents of the UC v. Bakke, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the use of strict racial quotas was unconstitutional; on the other hand, it held that institutions of higher education could use race as a criterion in admissions.
  • Charlotte Elects First Black Mayor

    Charlotte Elects First Black Mayor
    Harvey Gantt serves as the city’s mayor from 1983-1987
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  • Los Angeles Riots

    Los Angeles Riots
    Caught on videotape by an onlooker and broadcast around the world, the beating of Rodney King inspired widespread outrage in the city’s African American community, who had long condemned the racial profiling and abuse its members suffered at the hands of the police force. Link text
  • Million Man March

    Million Man March
    In October 1995, hundreds of thousands of Black men gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Million Man March, one of the largest demonstrations of its kind in the capital’s history. Link text
  • Community Building Initiative (CBI)

    is established by civic and governmental leaders in response to a community crisis around issues of race
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    family sues Board of Ed. (September 9) over integration/forced bussing, school assignment can no longer consider race (2000), and CMS becomes re-segregated
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Becomes Re-segregated

    School assignment can no longer consider race, CMS becomes re-segregated
  • First African American President

    First African American President
    Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States; he is the first African American to hold that office. The product of an interracial marriage—his father grew up in a small village in Kenya, his mother in Kansas—Obama grew up in Hawaii but discovered his civic calling in Chicago, where he worked for several years as a community organizer on the city’s largely Black South Side. Link text
  • Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ)

    Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ)
    is formed to reduce disproportionality and disparate outcomes for children of color in juvenile court
  • Disproportionality & Disparities in Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice

    presented by RMJJ to 400+ at the Westin Hotel to raise awareness of racial and ethnic disparities in child welfare and juvenile justice (January 28)
  • The Black Lives Matter Movement

    The Black Lives Matter Movement
    The term “Black lives matter” was first used by organizer Alicia Garza in a July 2013 Facebook post in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a Florida man who shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Martin’s death set off nationwide protests like the Million Hoodie March. Link text
  • Jonathan Ferrell

    Jonathan Ferrell
    24-year old former football player is unarmed and shot 10 times by CMPD Officer Wes Kerrick (September 14) Link text
  • Charlotte 50th Out of 50 on Economic Mobility

    “Chetty Study” (Harvard, Berkley, and Treasury Department research) finds
  • Economic Mobility

    Chetty study names Charlotte 50th out of 50 metropolitan cities on economic mobility Link text
  • Segregated Schools

    for the 2014/15 school-year, 50% of CMS schools were segregated by race (80% more of one race) and 33% of Charlotte’s schools were segregated by poverty (80% or more of students qualify for free/reduced lunch)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

    For the 2014/15 school-year, 50% of CMS schools were segregated by race (80% or
    more of one race) and 33% CMS schools were segregated by poverty (80% or more of
    students qualify for free/reduced lunch) [
  • Keith Lamont Scott

    Keith Lamont Scott
    43-year old picking his child up from school bus stop, is shot and killed by CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson (September 20) Link text
  • Leading on Opportunity

    formed to implement the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force recommendations and to address economic mobility for children in Charlotte through three key determinants and two cross-cutting factors
  • Government Alliance on Race and Equity

    launches the North Carolina GARE Learning Community for local and regional government (July 22)
  • George Floyd Protests

    George Floyd Protests
    The movement swelled to a critical juncture on May 25, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic when 46-year-old George Floyd died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd had been accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a local deli in Minneapolis. Link text
  • Kamala Harris Becomes the First Woman and First Black US Vice President

    Kamala Harris Becomes the First Woman and First Black US Vice President
    Kamala Harris became the first woman and first woman of color to become vice president of the United States. Harris, whose mother immigrated to the United States from India and whose father immigrated from Jamaica, was the first person of African or Asian descent to become a major party’s vice presidential candidate—and the first to win the office.Link text