Charlotte will unveil a statue on October 8, 2015 to pay tribute to Thaddeus Lincoln Tate, a native Charlottean and an accomplished African-American business and civic leader. The statue will be located in Uptown Charlotte near the Metropolitan on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. It is the first Trail of History project to pay tribute to an African-American and was created by Ed Dwight, a ground breaking African-American sculptor.
The Trail of History’s purpose is to “recapture and preserve the significance of key people who contributed to the history, growth and development of Mecklenburg County”. Thaddeus Tate, affectionately known in the community as “Pop” was an excellent choice due to his many accomplishments and achievements. He was responsible for Charlotte’s first free library for African-Americans, the city’s first YMCA branch for African-Americans, and opened Mecklenburg County’s first building that offered space to the African-American business community. In addition, Thaddeus Tate was involved in the creation of the Morrison Training School for African-American youths, co-founded the Grace AME Zion Church, and worked with a group of other leaders in the community to found the Afro-American Mutual Insurance Company, the state of North Carolina’s first insurance company that catered to its Black residents.
Tate was a business owner that operated a successful barbershop at the intersection of Trade and Tryon Street. His patrons included prominent civic leaders such as William Henry Belk, J.B. Ivey, Edward Latta and Governor Cameron Morrison. Many speculate that he was able to accomplish such much by nurturing his relationships with these key people and using their connections and influence to launch his business projects and civic initiatives.
Wells Fargo and the AME Zion Church financed this project and David Taylor, CEO of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture was the project manager. This is Charlotte’s third sculpture erected to pay tribute to someone of African descent. The other two include the sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Marshall Park and the sculpture of Sam Mills at Bank of America stadium.
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