Retro Charlotte

Black History: Charlotte’s Brooklyn Neighborhood

Savoy Theatre on S. McDowell St. Undated.
Savoy Theatre on S. McDowell St. Undated. The Charlotte Observer

The history of Second Ward reaches back to the beginning of the 19 th century where the very diversified community of Second Ward thrived for several decades.

The neighborhood of “Brooklyn,” taken from Brooklyn, New York in the early 1900’s, represented a self-sustainable town within a town.

The thriving mixed use neighborhood featured business ranging from J.R. Hemphill, Real Estate Man and Tailor; N.H. Tomas, Shoemaker; ACME Pressing Club; Eagles Drub Store; several barber shops and other neighborhood businesses all within the economically diverse neighborhood of Brooklyn.

It was the home to some of the most wealthy and educated, as well as poor and uneducated portions of the black community.

In 1904, it provided Charlotte with Brevard Street Library, the first free black library in the South, in 1923 it established Second Ward High School, the first urban black high school in Charlotte, as well as establishing Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church which remains a part of the current Second Ward. - Char-Meck Planning Dept.

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