African-American-owned business celebrates 100 years in Charlott - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

African-American-owned business celebrates 100 years in Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The family collaboration known as Alexander Funeral Home has lasted 100 years.

State Rep. Kelly Alexander Jr. is often the face of the business, but his older brother Alfred, and soft-spoken mother Margaret all keep the enterprise alive.
 
"Al's president of the company, I tell people all the time that he's my boss, but it's a collaborative operation," Kelly Alexander Jr. said.

Most notably Kelly Sr. would emerge as a national figure in NAACP leadership, and his brother Fred would become Charlotte's first African American City Councilman.

The family business was birthed in 1914 by their father Zachariah Alexander Sr.

"The business has been a springboard to help us in the NAACP to help us in the religious community," Kelly Junior, said. "The same kind of machinery that was used to produce funeral programs was used to produce programs that were passed out at NAACP meetings."
 
That gave Mrs. Alexander a critical role.

"Typing, running off stencils and making the programs," she recalls.
 
While being known for handling large funerals like that of civil rights pioneer Franklin McCain, earlier this year, Alfred Alexander says a simple business model remains intact for everyday people.
 
"A lot of times, it was a handshake deal. We had records for years. We never saw money for," he said. "We were taught to treat people like you were wished to be treated."
 
Lessons that have helped continue a families and community's living legacy.
 
A community celebration to mark this occasion is planned for Saturday.
 
It runs between one and four and will be held at the Double Oaks Masonic Outreach Center.

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