© 2024 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Barringer School Renamed For Charles Parker, Formerly Enslaved Man Who Helped Build A Community

Barringer Academic Center
Google maps
Barringer Academic Center

Barringer elementary school will soon become Charles H. Parker Academic Center, another step in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' quest to replacing names that honor white supremacy with those marking Black history.

After the racial reckoning of last summer, Superintendent Earnest Winston announced he would identify and replace all school names that honor a racist past.

Barringer Academic Center in west Charlotte touted the Barringer family’s role in developing that part of town. But a historian’s research showed family members were active in the white supremacy movements of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Charles H. Parker
Barringer Academic Center
Charles H. Parker

A naming committee chose to honor Parker instead. He was born into slavery in 1844 and died free in 1939, having developed homes, churches and a school in the West Boulevard area. According to a biography provided to the school board, he helped create Moore’s Sanctuary A.M.E Zion Church, Amay James Presbyterian Church and Plato Price School for Black children.

Parker Heights Apartments still carry his name.

"He was an anchor of education for Black children for 50 years," said Geri Lewis, one of several descendants of Parker who spoke at Tuesday's board meeting. "He helped many Black families acquire land, and he built homes in the Remount area. He bought 12 acres of land."

The board voted 8-0 for the name change.

Earlier this school year, the board voted to rename Zebulon Vance High, which is named for a slave-owning governor who fought for the Confederacy, in honor of civil rights lawyer Julian Chambers. Both new names will take effect in August.

Sign up for our Education Newsletter

Select Your Email Format

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.