The Ingleside home, pictured here in the 1890s, still stands on property adjacent to Trilogy Lake Norman. 

1. It’s organized by a pair of residents

Two residents of Trilogy Lake Norman have put together the community’s first black history celebration, which will include a program entitled “Lincoln County Before N.C. 73: An African-American Perspective.” The program has been designed to highlight black life and culture from the days following slavery until the suburbanization of Lincoln County and the greater Charlotte area. “Last year, (program co-chair) Cheryl (Spencer) and I went to the Lincoln County black history program and it was fine, but we decided it would be nice to have a similar program at Trilogy where we could invite the kind of speakers that we wanted to have,” program co-chair Gail Burke said. Burke and Spencer presented their idea to the management of Trilogy’s Twin Mills Club, which expressed full support before offering to handle ticket sales for the event.

2. Trilogy was built on the Nixon plantation

Trilogy, an active lifestyle community approved for 1,250 homes, is being built across from East Lincoln High School on N.C. 73 where the Nixon cotton plantation existed. After the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished, the land continued to be cultivated through family farming operations. “We needed a focus for our program, and one of the things that people seemed interested in was what was here before Trilogy,” Burke said. “Cheryl and I have talked about how we were really struck by the fact that here we are as seasoned professionals who are enjoying the wonderful inclusivity that this community offers on land where, a couple of centuries ago, we would have been slaves. For the slaves who worked this land, we’re living a life that was beyond their wildest dreams, so we want this program to offer a positive message in terms of how far our country has come.”

3. Jerry Nixon will provide a local perspective

Burke paid a visit to some of the area’s historic black churches while preparing the program, and that’s where she met Jerry Nixon, the lay leader of St. James United Methodist Church. Nixon, 76, was born in Section 1380, which is now Little Egypt Road, and graduated from Newbold High School, Lincoln County’s only black high school during segregation. Nixon has traced his ancestry back to the 1800s and the Nixon plantation, and his father worked on the farm where Trilogy now stands in the mid-1900s. “I’ll be talking about the slaves that lived there, including my great-great-great-grandfather who was born in 1826, so that lets you know that he was born into slavery,” Nixon said. “The purpose of my part in this program is to educate about the history of this property so that the same mistakes aren’t made in the future.”

4. Dr. Willie Griffin will provide a wider context

Griffin – a civil rights scholar, educator and Charlotte native – is staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South. He holds a doctorate in U.S. history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history and African-American studies from Morgan State University and Morehouse College, respectively.

5. Event is open to the public, but space is limited

In addition to the program put together by Burke and Spencer, Trilogy’s first black history celebration will include food as well as music performed by The Kevin Jones Experience. More than 120 tickets have already been sold, and the program is limited to approximately 150 guests, so those interested in the Friday, Feb. 8, event are urged to act quickly. For tickets and more information about the program, contact the Twin Mills Club concierge desk at 704-585-8780. Tickets costs $15 and admission includes light snacks. A cash bar will be available as well. Reservations are requested due to the limited space. The program will be held 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Trilogy Event Center inside the Twin Mills Club, 310 Exploration Blvd. in Denver.


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