The Charlotte Chamber along with the Levine Museum of the New South and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations hosted a special MWBE Connect on May 8 in the Belk Action Center. The unique program was a kickoff to the "From Sit-ins to Eat-ins" community program series to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Charlotte's desegregation in May 1963. Chamber members learned about the surprising history of the integration of Charlotte's leading restaurants and the important role of the chamber and the business community in supporting desegregation. To see photos from the chamber's "Sit-ins to Eat-ins:Charlotte Buiness and the Civil Rights Movement" event, click here.
Panelists included former Charlotte Observer reporter and editorial columnist, Jack Claiborne; Levine Museum of the New South Historian, Dr. Tom Hanchett; and Executive Director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee, Willie Ratchford. In the video below, Claiborne talks about the challenges our community still faces. To see photos from the event, click here.
Groups across Charlotte are making plans join together in May 2013 to mark the 50th anniversary.Organizers include Levine Museum of the New South, Mecklenburg Ministries, The May 20th Society, Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Relations and Merts Heart & Soul. With assistance from Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Chamber, Queens University, Johnson C. Smith University, and the Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
Scheduled Events Sunday, May 19, 2013, 2:30pm – History Makers panel discussion. 1963 Participants & historians share their stories. Organized by Levine Museum of the New South at 1st United Presbyterian Church, 201 E. 7th St.
Monday, May 20, 2013 at 10:30am - March from Johnson C. Smith University to County Courthouse reenacting May 20, 1963 march led by Dr. Reginald Hawkins demanding desegregation.
Monday, May 20, 2013 at 11:30am – Annual Noon Commemoration of Mecklenburg Declaration in uptown including cannons, reading of declaration, and a celebration of Mecklenburg County’s 250th anniversary.
Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:30pm – The May 20th Society 8th Annual Speaker Series featuring Pulitzer Prize author Isabel Wilkerson, Warmth of Other Suns, who will connect her research on 20th century African American history with the Charlotte 1963 history. 7:30 lecture, McGlohon Theater in Spirit Square.
Wednesday May 29, 2013 – “Eat-in” Event for media in late morning will mark the historic desegregation, featuring some of today’s civic leaders. It will kick off two days in which Charlotteans are urged to invite someone of a different race to lunch. Coordinated by Mecklenburg Ministries based on “Friday Friends.”
Thursday evening May 30, 2013 – “From Sit-ins to Eat-ins” Community Festival hosted by Mecklenburg Ministries’ “Friday Friends” at Levine Museum. Music and munchies set the mood on 1963. Participants in the 2013 Eat-in reflect on history, share what they’ve learned and suggest hopes for future. 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
Throughout May – Mecklenburg Ministries will encourage churches, temples, mosques and other faith organizations to draw upon this history in sermons and other communications.