Do you want to know more about Charlotte’s Center City, Westside and Eastside?
Do you wonder how key decisions have influenced the city’s growth & development? How race & ethnicity have played a role in these decisions? How these decisions are impacting our present and our future?
Do you want to engage with others about what can be done and what you can do?
Join Community Building Initiative (CBI) and tour guides Tom Hanchett, Levine Museum of the New South historian, & John Howard, administrator of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Department's Historic Districts Commission, as they shed light on these questions, explore “what’s in the ground” in our community and bring the history of Charlotte to life and up-to-date.
CBI’s bus tours provide a window into African American history in Charlotte as well as into the new immigrant experience. The tour includes conversations with other participants and an opportunity to consider how YOU can get involved in current community issues.
Each two-hour tour engages an average of 55 people and highlights Charlotte’s physical and historical landmarks, especially those connected to its racial history and heritage as well as to zoning and infrastructure decisions that have contributed to current racially- and economically-segregated neighborhoods. Tours also focus on how these decisions, and others yet to come, impact the effort to build an inclusive and equitable community.
The geographic focus is on three areas - Center City, the Westside and the Eastside - which show the history of Charlotte in “black and white” and also as home to an increasingly multi-cultural immigrant population. For example, the tour highlights the Brooklyn neighborhood and what happened to that community as a result of urban renewal in the 1970’s. All that remains of this once-vibrant African-American enclave are photographs of the homes, schools, businesses and churches that were removed in the name of progress. Understanding this history provides a foundation for participants’ awareness of “what’s in the ground” in the Charlotte community related to matters of race. The tour also highlights the transition of the Central Avenue corridor from a majority white community to a vibrant incubator for immigrant businesses.
Each tour begins with a brief overview of what to look for and think about during the ride so that participants can benefit from what is seen and heard. In order to extend the learning and exchange, CBI offers an optional dialogue following each tour which allows participants to more deeply connect with one another, ask questions of the tour guides and have conversation about what was experienced on the bus. During this 45- to 60-minute dialogue – most often over lunch – people share their perceptions and questions and reinforce connections with one another as well as with what is currently taking place in our community.
A Special Projects Grant from the Arts & Science Council in 2011 allowed CBI to organize and offer the first three bus tours as a pilot series. Community tours in 2012 and 2013 were underwritten by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Foundation, Wells Fargo Community Development and Bank of America. CBI has also recieved in-kind support from Coca-Cola and Snyder's-Lance and is partnering with Little Rock AME Zion Church (itself a historic site) which serves as the departure point and dialogue site for the Charlotte in Black & White...and More bus tours.
To reserve your seat on a Beyond the Bridge Community Tour, contact Annetta Foard by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 704.943.9762.