Built about 1960 and first occupied by Martha E. Reddick, Librarian at West Charlotte High School.
Built in 1971 for Rev. J.A. DeLaine and wife Mattie Belton DeLaine, nationally important figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. The DeLaines helped their neighbors in Clarendon County, South Carolina, file the first of the five cases that came together as Brown v Board of Education. The landmark 1954 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court declared that racial segregation must end in education and by extension in all of American life — the most far-reaching Court decision of the twentieth century.
Reprisals forced the DeLaines out of South Carolina. Their son, Joe DeLaine, Jr., arranged construction of this house near the residences of Mattie’s brothers Moses Belton (1809 Washington), who created JCSU’s office of public relations and took a leading part in desegregating Charlotte’s restaurants in the early 1960s, and Joseph Belton (1700 Washington), principal Charlotte’s Clear Creek (now J.H. Gunn) School and later at Marie G. Davis School.
Miss Edna E. Morris took out the permit to build this dwelling on February 17, 1965. By the time that the city directory showed her here in 1967, she was retired. A Charlotte Observer story on June 5, 1918 listing the city’s school teachers noted that she taught at Fairview School, an African American elementary school in Fourth Ward — an indication that this house came at the end of a long career in education.
Built in 1952-53 and first occupied by Charles B. Maxwell and his wife Evelynne. The 1953 city directory listed him as a Mail Clerk at the Johnston textile mill in what is now NoDa, while she taught at Biddleville Elementary School, a short walk from her home. When Evelynne Hill Maxwell passed away in 1964, she was Principal at Amay James Elementary School off Charlotte’s West Boulevard. Her obituary in the Pittsburgh Courier, a national African American newspaper that often carried items from Charlotte, noted that she had served as president of the Charlotte City Teachers Association, the McCrorey Heights-based Moles social club, and Charlotte’s Lamba Omega chapter of AKA Sorority.
Built 1966-1967 for Rev. Howard W. Givens, Jr., and wife Helen. He is best remembered for bringing together the churches that became Memorial Presbyterian Church and helping raise funds for its 1968 Beatties Ford Road building, a leading institution on Charlotte’s west side. Rev. Givens led the Ministerial Alliance of black churches, then won election as “the first man of color to serve as President of the [formerly all-white] Mecklenburg Ministerial Association,” according to his funeral program.
His wife Helen Bampfield Givens taught school in Charlotte. She belonged to an illustrious Southern family, granddaughter of the African American Civil War hero and political leader Robert Smalls.
Built 1958-59 for Rev. Elo Henderson, a leader in economic development issues during Charlotte’s Civil Rights era and a top official in the Presbyterian Church who made headlines across the South during the 1960s with calls for social and economic justice.
He first made his mark as founding minister of Grier Heights Presbyterian Church, 1943 – 1955, where his accomplishments included re-using the historic Billingsville Rosenwald School as a community center.
From 1955 through the mid-1970s he worked as the top executive in the Catawba Synod of the Presbyterian denomination, covering North Carolina and Virginia. He wrote “A Design to Liberate the Oppressed,” a strident manifesto for economic reparations. Locally he set up the Charlotte Frontiers Association which won the hiring of Charlotte’s first black bus drivers, opened employment at giant Southern Bell to African Americans above the rank of janitor, and trained hundreds of other workers. He and daughter Sula signed on as plaintiffs in the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court case Swann v. Mecklenburg, nationwide precedent for court-ordered busing to achieve school desegregation.
Built 1965 – 1966 as the President’s House for Johnson C. Smith University. It was first occupied by Dr. Rufus Perry, president of JCSU 1957 – 1968, who is remembered as the University’s “master builder.” An energetic fund-raiser and long-range planner, he led the construction of key new buildings including Brayboy Gymnasium, Duke Library, Memorial Student Union, and the Perry science center. Designer of the stately Colonial dwelling was A.G. Odell and Associates, Charlotte’s leading architecture firm in those years.
Subsequent JCSU presidents who resided here included Lionel Newsome (served 1968 – 72), Wilbert Greenfield (1973 – 82) and Robert Albright (1983 – 94).
Constructed in 1955 for John William “Johnnie” Gray, Jr., a dining car waiter who worked for the Southern Railway for thirty-nine years, retiring in 1982. Railroad jobs were among the best open to African Americans in the era before the Civil Rights Movement. “He had a special way of reaching people with his magnetic personality, said his funeral program.
His wife Ophelia “Kitty” Carson Gray taught for forty-seven years in Charlotte-area public schools, retiring in 1975.
Built 1952-55 by one of Charlotte’s leading brick masons, Shade Payne, as the home for himself, wife Margaret Payne, and family.
African Americans historically led the brick masonry trade, dating back to slavery times when most skilled artisans in the South were African American. Black brick workers were often among the most prosperous community leaders in many Southern cities through the mid twentieth century.
Margaret Maxwell Payne taught at Plato Price School, then at Cochrane Junior High, retiring after thirty-five years.
Built in 1955 – 1956, this was the longtime home of Rev. Moses Belton, the first Public Relations director at JCSU. He became an important behind-the-scenes bridge-builder during the Civil Rights era, serving on the Mayor’s Friendly Relations Committee which made Charlotte a national leader in desegregation. In particular, he helped arrange the integration of Charlotte’s upscale restaurants in May of 1963, a year before the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act.
Mr. Belton’s wife Cornelia Greene Belton taught for nearly a quarter century in Charlotte’s public schools, retiring in 1974.
Moses Belton’s brother and sister both lived nearby. Joseph Belton (1700 Washington Avenue) was a much-loved principal at J.H. Gunn and Marie G. Davis schools. Mattie Belton DeLaine (1706 Washington) with her husband Rev. J.A. DeLaine played a crucial role in the first of the five cases that came together in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v Board decision, outlawing racial segregation.