Editor’s note: This is the third article in a four−part series on the African−American community in Charlotte.

By Josh Arntz
The Dickson Herald

Published March 2, 2011

The Corlew property along Dotson Street − passed down for ages from Queene Corlew − sits adjacent to the site of one of Charlotte’s oldest traditions − the Free and Accepted Masons Lone Star Lodge’s Charlotte Picnic.

For many years, Charlotte’s African−American communities have come together for picnics, homecomings and festivals to celebrate their roots, reunite with friends and family who’ve left the area, and to help those in the community in need.

The Charlotte Picnic, which celebrated for the 108th time this year, has taken place on the third weekend in August for decades. The F&AM Lone Star Lodge No. 15 and the Order of the Eastern Star White Lily Chapter No. 42 sponsor the Charlotte Picnic on the grounds next to the chapters’ Prince Hall on Picnic Street, the site of the former Cedar Grove School.

“I don’t know when the Charlotte Picnic originated,” said Serina Gilbert, a Charlotte resident and historian. “(But) I’m kind of putting together that this might have been a tradition that started after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

“Many areas did not find out slaves were free until later on,” she added. “Just because there are so many celebrations around the third weekend in August for blacks around Middle Tennessee, I’m kind of thinking that there might be some connection like that.”

Follow the link for a .pdf of the full story030211-charlotte-series_part-3