Charlotte Museum of History Moves Siloam School
Charlotte Museum of History carried out an important first step in restoring the historic Siloam School early Friday morning, moving it from its original location in University City to the museum grounds, where teams will begin restoration efforts.
With the help of a police escort, the 100-year-old building was successfully transported the nearly 10 miles from its original location on Mallard Highlands Drive to the museum, located on Shamrock Drive in east Charlotte.
Once fully restored, the historic school will become a center for history education, including exhibits about the 20th-century Black experience and about the region’s history of racial discrimination and injustice.
The Siloam School was built for local Black children amid a movement to educate freed Blacks that began in the 1890s and continued into the 20th century. The Rosenwald Fund, a partnership between Booker T. Washington and Sears Roebuck tycoon Julius Rosenwald, helped fund construction of more than 5,000 schools for African-American children in the South.
Though not funded by the Rosenwald Fund — it’s believed a nearby church funded its construction — Siloam School was built using the Rosenwald model.
Learn more: Black History of Charlotte
Though it’s unclear exactly what year the Siloam School opened, attendance budget records exist for the 1922-23 school year. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, former students have said the school was built in the early ’20s to replace a log cabin schoolhouse built there earlier in the 20th century.
During the Jim Crow era, Mecklenburg County was home to 26 Rosenwald schools, more than any other county in America, according to the Charlotte Museum of History. The Siloam School is one of the last Rosenwald schools still standing in Mecklenburg.
Friday’s move followed six years of planning and fundraising for the Save Siloam School project, spearheaded by chaired and museum trustee Fannie Flono, which raised $1.2 million over that time to fund the school’s move and restoration.
West Side Community Land Trust Secures 32 Hoskins Homes
Organizers with West Side Community Land Trust joined elected officials and community leaders in the Hoskins neighborhood on Tuesday to celebrate the purchase of 32 area homes to be preserved as affordable housing in a location where community members are highly at-risk of displacement caused by gentrification.
Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved $6 million from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to fund the partnership with West Side CLT. The organization worked with a landlord who owned all 32 homes and was “open to talks about the future,” according to a release on Tuesday.
“Mecklenburg County’s ARPA grant is the largest gift we’ve received to date from a single funding source. The support provided from the County has been catalytic in our efforts to preserve and create perpetual affordability,” said Charis Blackmon, executive director of West Side CLT. “This is an example of what’s possible with large-scale municipal investment. Without the county’s deep support, these homes likely would have been lost, families displaced and affordability erased.”
West Side CLT is a nonprofit organization created by neighbors to organize and empower the west Charlotte community in zip codes 28208, 28214, 28216 and 28217. The land trust aims to preserve and develop neighborhoods to the benefit of low-income residents, as well as the neighborhoods as a whole, in the face of rapid reinvestment and subsequent displacement of long-time residents.
“This pivotal partnership results in a powerful outcome. Mecklenburg County is committed to improving and expanding housing affordability in our neighborhoods,” stated Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio in the release. “The Hoskins Road community will be revitalized by this development, and we appreciate the partnership of West Side Community Land Trust. The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved this grant knowing it will make a generational difference. We are proud to support and protect our neighborhoods.”
Security Officer Kills Man at Queen City Quarter
CMPD has identified a man shot and killed by a security officer at the Charlotte Transit Center in Uptown early Friday morning. According to the department, two Allied Security guards employed by the EpiCentre, now called Queen City Quarter, responded to a report of a man urinating on a wall at a loading dock under a light rail bridge on the Queen City Quarter property at around 12:30 a.m. on Friday morning.
The guards tried to detain the man and a struggle ensued, during which the suspect, 24-year-old Kashaune Teal, allegedly pulled a firearm and pointed it at one of the guards. One guard pushed the gun away before Teal could fire, and one of the guards shot and killed Teal. It’s unclear if the same guard who pushed Teal’s arm away also shot him.
The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office will determine if the shooting was justified or unjustified.
Foundation for the Carolinas Names New President & CEO
Foundation For The Carolinas’ (FFTC) governing board of directors announced Thursday that Cathy Bessant will take the role of president and CEO at the foundation in January 2024. A former chair of FFTC’s governing board and a longtime board member, Bessant recently announced her retirement (effective at the end of December) from Bank of America’s executive management team after nearly 40 years with the company.
Bessant served as chair of the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee and co-chaired the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homeless Strategy as well as the CMS Task Force, among other civic endeavors.
“Cathy’s deep love for this community and vision for the Foundation will make her an exceptional president and CEO,” said Arrington Mixon, chair of FFTC’s Governing Board of Directors, in a release on Thursday. “Her legendary banking career is unparalleled and her civic accomplishments are equally impressive. I am grateful to the dedicated members of the FFTC Search Committee for their diligent work in securing an outstanding leader for the Foundation’s next chapter.”
Beloved Restaurateur Michael Shortino Passes Away
Renowned Charlotte restaurateur Michael Shortino, the chef behind Futo Buta and Lincoln’s Haberdashery, has passed away, his family announced on Tuesday.
“Shortino, a third-generation chef, was not only a culinary trailblazer but also a beloved member of the hospitality community,” the family wrote in a statement. “His passion for food, creativity, and dedication to providing exceptional experiences influenced the teams, friends and patrons of his restaurants and beyond.
“Michael’s daughter, Cassie Shortino, an esteemed chef in her own right and two-time James Beard semifinalist, will step in to fulfill her father’s dream of having his legacy continue with her at the helm,” the statement continued. “Chef Shortino’s inimitable style and magnetic soul will be deeply missed, but we will do our best to focus on the great things to come.”
In 2013, Shortino opened the first U.S. location of the international-award-winning London-based restaurant Roka Akor in Scottsdale, Arizona. He opened Futo Buta, billed as one of North Carolina’s first ramen restaurants, in Charlotte in 2015.
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