The term “New South” was introduced by journalist Henry Grady, who used it to describe the contrast between the modern times and the “Old South” of Antebellum plantations before the civil war. Charlotte’s Levine Museum of the New South uses that term to describe the history of the south from the end of the Civil War to modern times.
This isn’t your average museum because most of the exhibits and artifacts were gathered from ours or a family members’ lifetime. The first exhibit, “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers,” takes us from the South as an agricultural society to one of industry. While the focus is on how this impacted Charlotte and North Carolina as a whole, many of the same ideas could be applied to the rest of the region.
You’ll see what the home of a tenant farmer looked like, get a glimpse of a real cotton mill and sit at a lunch counter, where many of the first Civil Rights Movement protests began. My favorite thing about this museum is that it doesn’t try to sweep the region’s dark history under the rug. It’s important to know the past to prevent it from happening again in the future.
I was also impressed by the section on Charlotte today, as it has quickly become a center for very specific industries. Telecommunications, banking, accounting firms and of course, NASCAR have all based themselves here. Other brands like Lance, Pepsi, Cheerwine, Krispy Kreme, and Bojangles are also based in the area.
If You Go
Levine Museum of the New South is located at 200 E. Seventh Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sundays from 12 to 5 pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors with ID, $6 for children 6-18 and free for those aged 5 and under. The museum provides two hours of validated parking at the Seventh Street Station parking deck but it is a 15-minute walk from uptown Charlotte. The museum is also right next to the Seventh Street LYNX light rail station.