Editor’s note: This is the first in a series on the African−American community in Charlotte.

By Josh Arntz
The Dickson Herald

Published Feb. 23, 2011

Melvin Corlew’s family has owned a piece of property along Dotson and Water streets in Charlotte for over 100 years.

The roughly 5−acre property was deeded to his great−great−grandmother Queene Corlew, who was formerly enslaved on the land.

Melvin explained that the property’s white landowner used Queene as a housemaid, and actually fathered several children with her. After he died, Queene continued to live on the land. In the late 1970s, early 1980s, Corlew Street was named in honor of Melvin’s family.

Melvin’s family is not a solitary case of traditionally divided cultures mingling.

According to Serina Gilbert, a Charlotte resident and historian, many of Charlotte’s early white founding families also lent their names to a multitude of the city’s black families, who have played a crucial role in the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Follow the link for a .pdf of the full story022311-charlotte-black_part-1