Charlotte Court(s) in Lexington, KY(start date: 1939 - end date: 1998)
In 1939, the public housing complex for African Americans in Lexington, KY was named Charlotte Courts. However, the locally known name for the area is Charlotte Court without the final 's'.
The complex was named after African American Aunt Charlotte, who had purchased William "King" Solomon [who was white] when he was sold as a slave in 1833. The Negro Civic League of Lexington objected to the name and wanted the housing complex to be named after a better known African American, but the name was not changed.
Charlotte Court was funded by a $900,000 federal grant. Located on 24 acres on Georgetown Road, the complex replaced what the city of Lexington referred to as a slum area. There were 52 apartment buildings in Charlotte Court as well as one of the first libraries in Lexington specifically for African Americans, which opened March 1940.
Charlotte Court was home to many African American children who would leave the area and do well in life. A picture of a children's birthday party that took place in the 1950s can be found in G. Smith's book Black American Series: Lexington Kentucky.
Over many decades, Charlotte Court became a high crime area. The buildings were in desperate need of repair and the location was again referred to as a slum area. In 1998, the city of Lexington received a $19 million HUD grant for public housing revitalization; Charlotte Court was razed.
New individual housing was constructed and the area was renamed Arbor Grove.
For more see the public housing article in The Lexington Herald, 6/01/1939, p. 1, col. 4; "Different name sought for Charlotte Courts," The Lexington Leader, 6/24/1940, p. 3, col. 1; Lexington, Queen of the Bluegrass, by R. Hollingsworth; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones. See also the NKAA entry for Segregated Public Housing Projects in Kentucky. See the aerial photograph of Charlotte Courts attached to this entry. Additional aerial images of Charlotte Courts are available in the University of Kentucky, Special Collections Research Center, ExploreUK.