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Charlotte Three

Part of a 1978 Resolution by the Charlotte City Council calling for clemency for the Charlotte Three. Image from the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Government."Charlotte Three" was the term applied by journalists in the 1970s to James Grant, T. J. Reddy, and Charles Parker, African American civil rights activists who were arrested and convicted in 1972 as political terrorists on charges of barn burning by federal agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms division of the U.S. Treasury Department. Their case was representative of racial unrest that marked Mecklenburg County at the time. The three men were placed in the custody of North Carolina because the barn was located near Charlotte. The case dragged on for several years, and the men were sentenced to 25, 20, and 10 years, respectively; additional men were charged with participating in the unrest associated with this and related incidents. Two years after the trial, two witnesses revealed that the federal government had paid them $4,000 each as a "relocation fee" following their testimony against the accused. After numerous appeals and hearings, the sentences of the Charlotte Three were adjusted, and in time the prisoners were placed on work release or paroled.

References:

A. L. May, "Hunt Reduces Jail Sentences for Charlotte Three," Raleigh News and Observer, 21 July 1979.

J. Christopher Schutz, "The Burning of America: Race, Radicalism, and the 'Charlotte Three' Trial in 1970s North Carolina," NCHR 76 (January 1999).

Additional Resources:

"July 15, 1972 - The Charlotte Three are convicted of firebombing." An African American Album Vol. 2: The Black Experience in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.   http://www.cmstory.org/aaa2/events/70/119e.html (accessed October 16, 2012).

Wicker, Tom. "Law And Vengance on Charlotte Three." Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Dec 28, 1974.  http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Kk0fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=itEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3665%2C4099626 (accessed October 16, 2012).

Michalowski, Raymond J. "The Case of the Charlotte Three." Crime and Social Justice. No. 3 (Summer 1975). pp. 36-41. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29765935 (accessed October 16, 2012).

City Council of the City of Charlotte. "A resolution of the City Council of the City of Charlotte in regular session assembled the sixth day of November, 1978." Resolutions Book 13. City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Government. p. 483.  http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/CityClerk/Documents/Resolutions/1978/Res%20Bk%2013%201978%2011-06.pdf (accessed October 16, 2012).

Image Credits:

City Council of the City of Charlotte. "A resolution of the City Council of the City of Charlotte in regular session assembled the sixth day of November, 1978." Resolutions Book 13. City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Government. p. 483.  http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/CityClerk/Documents/Resolutions/1978/Res%20Bk%2013%201978%2011-06.pdf (accessed October 16, 2012).

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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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