Before we went, I read up on the history of West End development, which I found fascinating and served to enrich our experience. (You can also find an amazing collection of digital artifacts here.)
You know what we didn't see while we meandered? There was no violence. No damaged or neglected buildings. No threatening groups of people. None of the images you might expect if you've only paid attention to recent headlines.
The most poignant moment for me was a brief sighting of Dorothy Counts Scoggins, who lives on one of the featured streets. If you're not familiar with her story, take time to learn about this remarkable woman and the role she played in history. I was awestruck seeing her in person and overcome with considerable emotion while I explained to the kids who Mrs. Dorothy Counts Scoggins is, what she represents, and why we care.
On the whole, this was a meaningful outing that we should have taken long before now.
Note: If you enjoy the walking tour and are interested in exploring more, you might consider the African American Heritage Driving Tour.
How to get there:
The West End/JCSU historic walking tour begins at 1601 W. Trade St., Charlotte, NC, 28216. Park on the street or in the Mosaic Village parking deck.
Don't forget to pack:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Your phone or a printed copy of tour directions
- An open mind