County commission gives CMS final say on preserving Cherry neighborhood landmark

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday night to decline any rights to the Morgan School building in Charlotte’s Cherry neighborhood. The decision puts the final say on the future of the historic property in the hands of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

In Charlotte’s Cherry neighborhood, a gathering of neighbors is more like a class reunion for three women. The three have been classmates, friends and neighbors their whole lives.

Morgan School was built in 1925. It was created for Black students and began integration in 1965. Donna Grier was part of the last class there, three years later in 1968.

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“I had so much fun in that school,” she said.

Although it’s empty now and the windows are boarded up, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has used the building for various reasons, including lease options for charter schools.

The three friends, along with the Cherry Community Organization, have tried for years to buy the building, launching the Morgan 4 Cherry campaign. Mecklenburg County commissioners are expected to finally sell it to them.

“It should have been done a long time ago, but,” said Cherry resident Doris Dennis.

Its price -- nearly $2.5 million.

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Barbara Rainey is the vice president of the Cherry Community Organization. When asked if they have the money to buy it now, she said they were working on it.

“Of course not, but we’re into fundraising, grants, we already have donations coming in, so we feel good about it,” Rainey said.

Rainey said under new ownership, Morgan School will transform into a community center. The goal is to preserve the history of the Cherry neighborhood for future generations.

Doris Dennis just hopes she’s there to see it.

“This is going to be victory here, it’s going to be victory, whether I’m here or not I know it’s going to be a victory,” she said.

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