Black History Month Celebrations

Harvey B Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. There are many celebrations, programs and exhibits happening this month. Take advantage with the cultural opportunities to share and memorialize our local heritage and the threads that weave our beloved community.

Art Exhibit:
John Robert “Trey” Miles III

Stop by Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave, February 12-25, to view amazing works by Charlotte collage/mixed media artist, John Robert “Trey” Miles III. Mr. Miles began to gain a deeper love and understanding for the arts while attending College.
Mr. Miles is a Charlotte artist. He received a BFA in Art with a concentration in graphic design from Western Carolina University. After graduation, he accepted a job as a high school art teacher with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
Trey’s earlier work focused on the aesthetic relationships between shape, form and color His artist direction is heavily influenced by the collage work of fellow Charlotte native, Romare Bearden. These works are on loan from Foster’s Frame & Art Gallery in Huntersville.

Town Hall is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

Artwork by John Robert “Trey” Miles III at Cornelius Town Hall

Sharing Our Heritage: Annual Program at Cornelius Town Hall
Saturday, February 23
1:00-3:00 pm Join Smithville Community Coalition and the Town of Cornelius PARC Dept for the annual Black History Month Celebration. The program will honor and remember the achievements and many “firsts” of African-Americans right here in our community. Attendees will also enjoy fun and educational children’s activities, guest speakers, an art exhibit, performances, and refreshments.

Seek First To Understand: Closing the Racial Divide 
Davidson United Methodist Church, 233 S Main St, Davidson, is hosting a series of community educational events on 3 consecutive Sundays in February.  All are welcome to attend. Invitation and Summary from
John Quinn, Committee Member,  Davidson United Methodist Church:

During Black History Month (and every day of the year), we have opportunities to understand issues in our racial history that perhaps we have not been taught or have not personally experienced in the context of race.  We believe we are all called by God to close the racial divide in our spheres of influence, both personally and systemically.
Before we can be as effective in change, we must first understand various points of view, our individual stories, and collective narratives.  Understanding is a key step to establishing a shared history and building trust needed to understand where systemic change is needed.
On Feb 10th, we will host Dr. Rodney Sadler.  Dr. Sadler is a religious educator and leader,  a historian and a community leader  He will discuss “The Bible and Religion in the Perpetuation of Racial Thought” and take the questions.  That event will be held in our historical DUMC Chapel at 2 pm.On February 17th, at 3 pm we will show a PBS produced series “The Talk: Race in America” in our Fellowship Hall and lead a discussion on the topics covered.
On February 24th  at 10:30 am in our classroom building we will host a discussion of James Baldwin’s book “If Beale Street Could Talk”.  This book has recently been made into a critically acclaimed feature film.  We suggest attendees read the book prior to this session.
This series is being offered to our community through faith-based and secular organizations.  Please help us share this invitation with your constituents- through social media, church bulletins, posting on your websites, email distribution, and good old fashion posting flyers on doors and bulletin boards.

Mt. Zion Church, 19600 Zion Ave, Cornelius, will be observing Black History Month this Wednesday evening Feb. 13 at our 6:40 pm service. Pam Kelley is a journalist who has been researching the history of Smithville, and she will share her findings and insights. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Smithville’s Roots
Founded in 1910, Smithville is one of the oldest communities in Cornelius, with roots dating back to the 1880s. The Smithville CommUNITY Coalition was formed in 2011 and is made up of residents, area citizens, non-profits and faith-based communities. Their vision is to revitalize and transform their community into a vibrant, safe and attractive place to live and work that builds pride in its residents and attracts new developments of affordable homes and businesses, focusing on empowering all individuals and strengthening families.

Read more a recollection from ‘Our Roots’ posted in 2018:
The Barbers of Brick Row

Wilson Potts led the Smithville Community well before Smithville was annexed as a part of the Town of Cornelius

Events and Programs hosted in the Queen City

Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
9704 Mallard Creek Rd
Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 11:15am
Dr. Rodney Sadler, Associate Professor at UNION-PSCE and Associate Professor of Bible @ Union Presbyterian Seminary, and former Assistant Project Director at the Congress of National Black Churches, will be speaking about black history, social justice and where we go from here. After the service we will dedicate our new Black Lives Matter banner.

Dr Rodney Sadler

The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Dr
Exhibits and programs planned all month to illuminate on the history and culture of Charlotte’s vibrant African-American community from the colonial period to the present. Welcoming guests of all ages, The Charlotte Museum of History offers lecture tour and exhibits that focus on submerging visitors in the African American experience. This month, you can take a special look at the story that inspired Marvel’s Black Panther which is now in theaters on February 24th from 12-4 p.m.

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S Tryon St
The Harvey B. Gantt Center is Charlotte’s destination for African-American art, history, and culture. Inside its new four-story building, which references quilt designs from the Underground Railroad era and woven textile patterns from West Africa, the center continues a four-decades-long celebration of the cultural contributions of Africans and African-Americans and serves as an epicenter for music, dance, theater, visual art, film, arts education programs, literature and community outreach.
Named for Charlotte’s first African-American mayor, the center hosts both permanent and temporary exhibits.
With West African dance classes, film screening, lectures and hands-on workshops, the history of black culture truly comes to life all in celebration at the Gantt Center.

Myers Street School, “Jacobs Ladder” was an architectural inspiration for the modern Gantt Center’s Design

The concept of hope, advancement and enlightenment through cultural awareness and education is expressed in the Gantt Center design through its modern interpretation of Jacob’s Ladder. ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ was used to identify the Myers Street School, once located in the heart of the old Brooklyn neighborhood.

“Its skyward stairway was a visible reminder of the importance of aspiring to greater things and a good education. Not just teachers, but an entire community rallied behind the youth, molding bright minds.”

— Harvey B Gantt

Myers Street School was the oldest black school in Charlotte. It began in an old tobacco barn on 5th Street in 1882. The students and faculty moved into a new wood-frame building in 1887, located on land that had belonged to the Myers family. A new brick building followed in 1931. In the late 1940s, Myers Street was the largest elementary school for black children in North Carolina. The school closed in the late 1960s as part of the city’s integration plan, and the building was torn down.
The 46,500-square-foot Gantt Center is now located in the heart of Charlotte’s central business district, in the area once occupied by this historic Brooklyn neighborhood, the once-thriving center of the black community which was razed in the 1960s.

Harvey B Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture

Levine Museum of the New South
200 E 7th Street
#ShapingCLT | K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace
A do-it-yourself social change toolkit, #ShapingCLT is a solutions-oriented variety show aimed at vanquishing apathy. The examination of Charlotte’s future will move participants beyond conversation towards civic action. This guest-curated program will bring together thought leaders in our community representing a variety of perspectives on trending issues.
All programs are hosted by Davita Galloway of Dupp&Swat. Each program is $10 for non-members (25% discount for members) and includes program, light bites, and a cash bar. Space is limited, reservations required. #ShapingCLT takes place one Wednesday per month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Levine Museum of the New South.

I live here in Old Town Cornelius and absolutely love our area's unique character. My life's calling is to work to bring art and culture to the forefront of everyday life. I work full-time for Bella Love, Inc and taking care of my adorable son, Kipton.

By Jess Boye

I live here in Old Town Cornelius and absolutely love our area's unique character. My life's calling is to work to bring art and culture to the forefront of everyday life. I work full-time for Bella Love, Inc and taking care of my adorable son, Kipton.