During this arctic weather spell, I went by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to find some books on local history good or bad – well, more along the lines of what happens beneath the surface of our fair city. Well, I found two books, both published by The History Press of Charleston, South Carolina.
Wicked Charlotte, The Sordid Side of the Queen City by Stephanie Burt Williams (2006) explores crimes dating back to the American Revolution including murder, prostitution, bootlegging and larceny from the murder of a well known sheriff with ties to the area’s prominent families to Henry Louis Wallace, the city’s first black serial killer. She also explores the effects of the nation’s first gold rush on the region and how some people took advantage of other people in the pursuit of gold.
A sequel of sorts, Charlotte Murder, Mystery and Mayhem by David Aaron Moore (2008) explores more of the seedy underside of the city that the tourist books don’t tell you about. His stories range from a 13 year old church arsonist to a lynching that is that I never heard of until I read this book and touches on the 1965 firebombings of Fred Alexander and Dr. Reginald Hawkins.
Both of these books can be found at Park Road Books, located in the Park Road Shopping Center (which by the way was one of the first suburban shopping centers in Charlotte!) if they don’t have it in stock, they will be happy to order them for you.