Early African-American business pioneer honored with statue

Early African-American business pioneer honored with statue

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A moment of history came on Charlotte's Trail of History Thursday morning. A late businessman became the first local African-American to have a statue erected in his honor.

When it comes to 20th century African American history in Charlotte, Harvey Gantt, Julius Chambers, and Dorothy Counts, all top the list.

However, Thaddeus Lincoln Tate arrived on the business scene in the 1880's.

David Taylor is the CEO of the Harvey B. Gantt Center.

Taylor said, "He was a social advocate. He made change under very difficult circumstances."

Born in 1865, Thad Tate is credited for building bridges, and breaking ground.

Kendall Alley is the Regional President of Wells Fargo which help pay for the bronze sculpture.

"What he did for this community made a significant different. He changed the way we see things," Alley said.

By trade he was a barber known for cutting the hair of white businessmen, and his vision is remembered in this exhibit at the Levine Museum of the New South. The shop was known for offering life's lessons.

While he died back in 1951, the impact of Thad Tate's legacy can be seen and felt here in Center City Charlotte. All one has do his roll through the intersection of Third and Brevard.

The places he founded Grace AME Zion, and the MIC building on Brevard are still standing.

It is the latest statue on Charlotte's Trail of History and is the creation of sculptor Ed Dwight.

"We have him aiming towards downtown, which was his turf."

Pride was discovered by Tate's relatives.

Judy Scales Trent is Thad Tate's great-granddaughter.

"We, the Tate descendants, are deeply touched by this great honor given to our ancestor," Trent said.

It is a standing image connecting today's progress to yesterday's past.

The statue is located on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, and is behing the Metropolitan complex.

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