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Charlotte Area

Home Of Charlotte Civil Rights Pioneer Up For Historic Landmark Designation

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

A proposal that goes before Charlotte City Council members Monday evening would give historic landmark status to the former home of Reginald Armistice Hawkins. Hawkins, a Charlottean and a Civil Rights pioneer, helped desegregate Charlotte's airport, restaurants and schools.  

Hawkins moved to Charlotte from coastal Beaufort, North Carolina, in 1941 to attend Johnson C. Smith University. In the decades that followed, he became a dentist and an outspoken civil rights activist. 

Hawkins’ home on Madison Avenue, northwest of uptown, was built in 1954. It became the target of violence as the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum in 1965.  That summer, shots were fired at the home. A few months later, it was among the homes of four civil rights leaders targeted in dynamite attacks.

Hawkins recalled the bombing in a 2001 interview for UNC Charlotte’s Civil Rights and Desegregation Collection.

"It was a rainy, misty, Nov. 23, 1965 - two years after they assassinated President Kennedy," Dr. Hawkins said. "They were trying to get that bomb on my bedroom."

[Related Content: On This MLK Day, Remembering A Charlotte Civil Rights Icon]

No one was injured in that attack. Hawkins died in 2007 at age 84.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission is recommending landmark status for the Reginald Armistice Hawkins house. Charlotte City Council members will hold a public hearing on the proposal at their zoning meeting, which begins Monday evening at 5:30 at the government center.