New Charlotte Center City mural features contributions of late civil rights leader


CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — Hidden below Charlotte’s skyline is a new addition from a community-based art-making that does more than mimic life.

It is also a reflection of our history.

J Tanya Adams of West End Partners was one of the driving forces behind an effort to honor a Carolina civil rights icon.

“We knew that MJ Charles Jones had not had a play made in his honor. There was nothing here in the hallway to commemorate him, and he more than deserves it,” she said.

You can’t measure the impact of local civil rights without considering the reach of Charles Jones.

On February 9, 1960, Jones and Johnson C. Smith University student BB Delaine organized African-American student activism in the Queen City by taking seats at whites-only food counters.

In 2010, Jones recalled,

“That morning there were 212 Johnson C. Smith students who said rock and roll. With all due respect to Charlotte, what turned things around was the wallet.

The vibrant artwork is nine feet tall and 40 feet wide and sits at the intersection of Fifth and Bruns.

Described as a layered tapestry of Jones’ life and commitment to social justice in the Carolinas and beyond is the creation of artist Abel Jackson.

He said: “It was a lot to get into the mind of Barrister Jones and tap into his energy, the hard work and the sacrifices he put into everything.

Paid for by a City of Charlotte grant to Historic West End Partners, the images are not only designed to educate but also to inspire.

“He was a phenomenal man and a brave man,” Adams said.

Bravery strongly amplified and clearly underlined his 82 years of life and is colorfully articulated through a mural of community memories.

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