CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Wednesday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school formerly known as the Barringer Academic Center took the last step in shedding a past linked to the Confederacy and racism.
The school held an official renaming ceremony under its new name the Charles H. Parker Academic Center, with Parker’s great-granddaughter present.
“He would be excited too. However, he’s not a person that would just sit down. He would have accomplished a goal and he would step out to do more,” said Dr. Valeria Avery, his great-granddaughter.
Parker was born a slave but would learn to read and write in secrecy. In later years, he would become a prominent businessman, helping to start both the Moore’s Sanctuary AME Zion Church and the Plato Price High School. A farmer by trade, Parker would buy 40 acres of land in the area, selling some of it to other African-American’s for them to build their homes on.
Years after his death, Parker’s family would build affording housing on his homestead. That complex, Parker Heights, is now home to many students at the school that now bears his name.
And as for those students, and all others that attend the school. Dr. Avery said Parker would have this message for them.
“Never feel that you cannot do anything just because it has not been done,” Dr. Avery said. “If you have in your mind to do something, step out and learn all you can about it and then step out to do it.”
This now marks the second school this year to be renamed. Earlier in the year, CMS school board officials voted to rename Zebulon Vance High to Julius L. Chambers High.