Advertisement

Charlotte unveils new street signs honoring the first African-Americans to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps

The former Phifer Avenue now becomes Montford Point Street, in honor of the Montford Point Marines.
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:33 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

This article has 207 words with a read time of approximately 1 minute and 2 seconds.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The City of Charlotte on Thursday unveiled the new Montford Point Street signs, honoring the legacy of the first African Americans who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942.

Thursday’s renaming ceremony marks the second street renaming to take place as part of the city’s Legacy Commission work.

The former Phifer Avenue now becomes Montford Point Street, in honor of the Montford Point Marines.

The first African American Marine to arrive at Montford Point in 1942 was Charlotte native...
The first African American Marine to arrive at Montford Point in 1942 was Charlotte native Howard Perry.(City of Charlotte)

“We all must know our history, and if we don’t know our history, history stands to repeat itself,” said President of the National Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. Dr. James T. Averhart Jr.

Some Charlotteans were among the early Black recruits who trained at Camp Montford Point near Jacksonville, N.C. and contributed to the Allied victory in World War II.

“This is not just black history, a marine corps history, it’s American history and the world needs to know about the story of the Montford Point Marines,” said Averhart Jr.

The only surviving original Montford Point Marine in the Charlotte area passed away earlier this month. The first African American Marine to arrive at Montford Point in 1942 was Charlotte native Howard Perry.

“The ultimate goal of the Legacy Commission has always been about creating a sense of pride and respect for those who live, work and travel on these identified roadways,” said Mayor Vi Lyles. “To now bear the name of the heroes of Montford Point, who trained and fought for our freedom, certainly does fulfill our high standard of success.”

Phifer Avenue is one of nine streets to be renamed following the Charlotte City Council’s February approval to adopt Legacy Commission recommendations to rename streets named after leaders of the Confederacy, a press release stated.

Related: City of Charlotte announces new name for street previously named after Confederate leader Jefferson Davis

The street was named after a slaveowner whose home served as a headquarters for a Confederate general during the Civil War, the release stated.

“When I see the sign, I feel really great, because it’s letting us know that the 20,000s of African Americans who went through Montford Point - that their struggle meant something,” said Craig Little, Charlotte Chapter #40 President and National Veteran Affairs Officer of the National Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.

Originally, Phifer Avenue was to be renamed with a similar survey process as Jefferson Davis Street, but unique circumstances regarding Phifer Avenue led to a change in the renaming method.

Replacement name voting for Aycock Lane, Jackson Avenue and Zebulon Avenue will conclude on Nov. 1. The new street names will be effective on Jan. 21, 2022.

Community engagement for Hill Street and Morrison Boulevard began on Oct. 26.

Residents and property owners who live on any of the nine streets that will be renamed may locate resources by visiting charlottenc.gov/legacy, calling 311 or emailing legacy@charlottenc.gov for assistance.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.