September 22, 2023 | Kevin Donaldson
Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities to date, filled with rich history and aggressive urbanization. Its expansion has come with positive momentum but at the expense of historic neighborhoods.
Marvin Hill has lived in Charlotte his entire life. His father purchased Marvin’s childhood home in 1952 in Lincoln Heights. This neighborhood sits right along Beatties Ford Road, once a stretch of dirt now filled with concrete similar to the highways developed all around it. The road starts north of Uptown at Johnson C. Smith University and runs north to Lake Norman. Over the last few decades, many African American families moved to the area surrounding Beatties Ford Road.
In the 1920s, several neighborhoods, including Lincoln Heights, were developed, and planned by Southern Realty and Development Corporation, who intended to create all-white sub-divisions, but two distinct communities emerged instead. The African American community aided Lincoln Heights’s fast pace growth but this didn’t happen until the 1950’s and 60’s. Around this time, Marvin Hill’s father purchased their home, but unfortunately, like many African American men, he was significantly overcharged for the property.
The portion of the map showing Mr. Hill’s neighborhood on the right is from a 1949 Charlotte plot map.