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About this collection

The Taylor and Richardson families album contains photographs and other materials that document the life of Charles Samuel Lafayette Alexander Taylor, an African American barber, soldier, and firefighter active in numerous social and political causes in Charlotte, North Carolina, and his family.

The Taylors were a prominent and influential African American family in Charlotte, North Carolina. Born a slave in South Carolina, Charles Samuel Lafayette Alexander Taylor (1849-1934) was educated in Quaker freedmen schools after the Civil War and pursued a profession as a barber in Charlotte, where he served as captain and financial secretary of a local African American fire company, the Neptune Volunteer Fire Company. His work as a volunteer fireman led to involvement with state and national fire service organizations, including the North Carolina Colored Volunteer Firemen’s Association, for which he served as financial secretary for 18 years. He remained active in the organization until his death. Taylor’s participation in numerous other civic and political causes in Charlotte included membership in the Charlotte Light Infantry, an African American state militia unit, and service as chairman of the Mecklenburg County Black Republican Delegation.

The album predominantly contains portrait and informal photographs of Taylor; Ella Louise Pickens Taylor, his second wife; Harriet and Louise Taylor, his daughters; James Franklin Richardson, his nephew and ward; and numerous other relatives and family connections. Among the other documents included in the album are the will of Charles Taylor, family letters and birthday cards, newspaper clippings, obituaries for Charles Taylor and condolence letters written to the family following his death, death certificates of family members, historical sketches, stock certificates, and papers related to the purchase of land and cemetery plots.

The album was a gift of Mary Richardson to J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, 2014.

 
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