1547 Oaklawn Avenue

This is a draft, now being reviewed by members of the McCrorey Heights Neighborhood Association. Please share comments with Tom@HistorySouth.org 

Oaklawn-1547-b-web When this house was built, Bernard Lee Brown, Sr. (1920 – 10.31.2008)  taught at Charlotte’s Carver College and his wife Lucielle Hall Brown (  ?   – 1.26.2003) served as Assistant Librarian there.

Carver came into being in 1949 at about the same time that government officials created Charlotte College. Both institutions initially used federal GI Bill dollars to offer college classes to returning WWII veterans, and both were first housed in city high schools.  The name Carver College, honoring African American scientist George Washington Carver, signaled that it was for black students.

In 1961 Brown’s neighbor on Oaklawn Avenue, Dr. Roy S. Wynn, would sue  to block construction of separate campuses for the two colleges. The suit would be unsuccessful, but Carver would eventually become part of what is now Central Piedmont Community College while Charlotte College transformed into UNC Charlotte, today one of the state’s leading research universities.

Until all that settled out, Carver College represented an educational opportunity worth grabbing. Charlotte-born Bernard Brown graduated from Second Ward High and Johnson C. Smith University, served as a staff sergeant in World War II, then became one of several McCrorey Heights residents to earn a masters degree in education from Columbia University in New York City. He taught at Friendship College in Rock Hill, at Livingstone College in Salisbury, at JCSU itself, and finished out his career at Carver and Central Piedmont Community College.

Brown’s family were active community members. His father, John Edward Brown, Sr., had been deliveryman at the city’s popular Parker-Gardner music and furniture store. Most of J.E. Brown’s nine children earned college degrees and five sons fought in World War II.  Bernard L. Brown, in addition to teaching, belonged to the Kappa fraternity, was life-long member of Gillespie United Methodist Church, and with wife Lucille raised two children in this house on Oaklawn Avenue: Bernard L. Brown, Jr. and Margaret Denise Brown.

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Architecture

Built in 1957. Ranch. One-story, red-brick, gable roof with gable-roofed side wing. Located on a narrow sliver of land at the edge of the neighborhood, corner of Andrill Terrace, with rear of house facing directly on Washington Avenue.

No building permits found

Building permit files, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Obituaries

Brown, Bernard, funeral program in the Obituary Project notebooks, African American Genealogy Interest Group collection, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Brown, Lucille H., obituary in Charlotte Observer, January 31, 2003. On-line at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/charlotte/obituary.aspx?pid=761462#sthash.KpQkfFwq.dpuf

First appeared in city directory

1958 – Bernard L. Brown & Lucille H.
He: Teacher, Carver College
She: Asst. Librarian, Carver College.

 

City directory collection, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Resources

“Brown, Sr., John Edward,” entry in The Doughboys and Camp Greene webpage, part of the CMStory website created by the Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. On-line at: http://www.cmstory.org/content/brown-sr-john-edward

“Court Approves Two Campuses” [UPI story], Statesville Record and Landmark, November 9, 1961.