1617 Patton Avenue

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

Built 1956 for Clarence E. Moreland and his wife Helen P. Moreland. He was the founding principal of Northwest Junior High (now Northwest School of the Arts), which was the city’s only black middle school when it opened in 1954. She taught at Fairview School.

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Clarence Earl Moreland (12.21.1907 – 8.3.1992) grew up in Charlotte where his father Rev. Dr. John F. Moreland was an A.M.E. Zion minister. Young Clarence earned his B.A. degree at the A.M.E. Zion denomination’s Livingstone College in Salisbury (he would head the national alumni association for many years).  He went on to one of the nation’s top colleges for teachers, Columbia University in New York City, where he received his Masters degree.

C. E. Moreland returned to Charlotte where he taught school and quickly became a respected leader. In the early 1940s he served on the War Rationing Board alongside top African American community leaders Thad Tate, Charlotte Post newspaper publisher Dr. Nathaniel Tross and future City Councilman Fred Alexander.

Moreland stepped up to become a principal, first at Billingsville Elementary in the Grier Heights community, then opening Northwest Junior High in 1954 which he led for more than a decade. Northwest was the city’s only junior high for African Americans. It took over the West Charlotte High building when that school moved to its new campus a bit further west (subsequently the building would become Northwest School of the Arts).

Today it is hard to grasp the importance that the position of school principal held in the era of segregation. African Americans ran no public agency nor any corporate office except black-owned North Carolina Mutual Insurance, so to be a principal in charge of a school’s budget and its roster of teachers was to be one of Charlotte’s top black executives. Soon after taking the job at Northwest Junior High, Principal Moreland built this large and handsome home a short walk away in McCrorey Heights.

Moreland took an active role in civic affairs. He chaired the board at Grace A.M.E. Zion Church. He served on the board of Durham-based Mechanics & Farmer’s Bank, one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, and helped convince the bank to construct a major branch across Beatties Ford Road from JCSU. When Mayor Stan Brookshire launched the Mecklenburg Council on Human Relations in the early 1960s to ensure that Civil Rights laws were followed, Moreland signed on as a member.

Wife Helen P. Moreland also earned a masters in teaching from Columbia University, class of 1948. Her civic activities included service on the Auxiliary Board of Good Samaritan Hospital.

Two of Clarence’s older brothers followed him to McCrorey Heights. George Wiley Clinton Moreland (named for Charlotte-based AME Zion Bishop George Wiley Clinton) built the house at 1801 Patton Avenue in 1966.  W. Howard Moreland — who was like Clarence a school principal, heading Marie G. Davis Elementary — constructed 1722 Madison about 1963. Howard’s daughter Alma (Clarence’s niece) also had a house in the neighborhood at 1726 Madison (1954) with her husband Rowe “Jack” Motley, Mecklenburg’s first black County Commissioner.

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Architecture

Ranch house. Brick, one story, with gable roof and side carport. Prominent corner lot, one of the largest in the neighborhood.

Building permit

Patton-1617-permit
Date issued: May 2, 1956
Owner: C.E Moreland
Contractor: E.C. Griffin
Other permit info: Build residence

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

First appeared in city directory

1957 – Clarence E. Moreland & Helen P.
He: Principal, Northwest Jr High. She: Teacher, Fairview School

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

Obituaries

Moreland, Clarence, Funeral program in the Digital Smith Collection, Inez Moore Park Archives, Duke Library, Johnson C. Smith University.

Moreland, George W. C., Funeral program in the Herron collection, Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.