We know that understanding our history is vital to understanding how we can move forward and implement real change. To help get the conversation started, we’ve gathered a number of resources designed to help you engage with the struggle for human rights and justice that continues in our community.
A Message from our President & CEO
We’ve been asking how we as a museum can support our community, as the struggle for human rights and justice continues in this country. As historians, we believe it’s our job to hold up a clear mirror to history, showing us who we are and how we can be better. As a result, we’ve made seven commitments going forward, and we invite you to read those here: https://bit.ly/2UiwKaP. We’ve also included a list with links to history resources and events we’ve hosted in recent years that provide context for where we are today.
For our 2018 African American Heritage Festival, we partnered with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to explore John Lewis’ graphic novel “March.” We asked visitors to create their own page of a graphic novel to share their #CLT hero with us. To celebrate this Civil Right’s icon, we’ve pulled our graphic novel template out of the vault. We hope you continue to be inspired by the legacy of this tireless activist.
Want to learn more about “March?” Check out this article from the Washington Post about Lewis’ appearance at the 2015 San Diego Comic-con.
What is Juneteenth? This important holiday commemorates the June 19, 1865 reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas when the enslaved people who had been held in bondage learned of their freedom. We’ve created this resource to help you learn how to celebrate today.
Talking to Kids About Race
Conversations about race, inequality, inclusion, and social justice must start early. Having factual, honest conversations with children helps break down barriers and create an environment that fosters real change. To learn more about how to have these important conversations, listen to this podcast featuring Jeanette Betancourt of Sesame Workshop and Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”
We know that understanding our history is vital to understanding how we can move forward and implement real change. We’ve created two suggested reading lists to help inspire meaningful dialogue about who we are and who we can become.
Racial inequity is evident across our entire society, including in the buildings we choose to preserve. One of the most glaring instances of the lack of preservation of black spaces in Charlotte is how few Green Book sites are left in the city. Check out this Q City Metro article about Green Books sites and the state’s initiative to share this piece of NC history: https://bit.ly/3eUH80h.
Of 54 known sites, only 4 remain, including The Excelsior Club, whose survival has been highlighted lately in the news and is featured in our exhibit Unforgettable Music Venues of Charlotte.
Resources for Learning About Black Historic Sites in Charlotte:
The Mecklenburg Kirkpatricks
As a star football player at Second Ward High School and then the integrated Myers Park High School, Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick was swept up in the middle of one of Charlotte’s most volatile civil rights stories. 50 years later, one of Jimmie Lee’s white classmates, De Kirkpatrick made plans to catch up. During those conversations, Jimmie shared the stunning discovery he had made uncovering his genealogy – Jimmie’s great-great-great grandfather had been owned by De’s great-great grandfather. Their story is one of slavery’s legacy, present-day racial divisions, and the hope we can heal deep wounds that many of us have never faced.
The Museum was honored to host Jimmie & De in February for a conversation about their efforts to reckon with their shared past. To learn more about their story and to watch a preview of the documentary click the button below.
Resources for Creating a More Equitable Community
Our nation continues to struggle with becoming a more just and equitable society. We encourage you to spend time exploring some of these resources and educational support materials listed below.
- Harvey B. Gantt Center’s “Unmasked: We Can’t Breathe”
- Levine Museum of the New South’s “What is it Going to Take?”
Resources for Thinking Critically About Race & Racism: