Community fighting to save historic African American club in Charlotte

- The Excelsior Club is a historic pillar in the city's black community, but the last attempt to save it fell through this week.

Right now, the fate of the building is up in the air. People in the community say it was once one of the most important places for African Americans in Charlotte and they hope that it can be that again one day. 

"The Excelsior Club, to me, has been an integral part of who I am and what I do today,” said Christopher Dennis.

He says the Excelsior Club, a mainstay in Charlotte that could now be torn down, played a big role in the African American community and culture, and Charlotte's as a whole. 

"It wasn't just about the minorities that went there. I think I’ve seen attorneys to judges to people just looking to experience Charlotte,” Dennis said. 

The Excelsior Club opened in 1944. Prominent musicians and politicians like Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and President Bill Clinton came to the club. 

"Black women and black men had two places they could really dress up one was in church, the other was in the Excelsior Club,” Dan Morrill tells FOX 46.

It was a place to party and network, but also played a major role during legal segregation and the Civil Rights movement.

"We need to make it something that's impactful that can continue to educate and empower people to network on all different levels,” said Dennis.

The building is now owned by state representative Carla Cunningham, who applied for a certificate to demolish the building in the spring. It was approved but the Historic Landmarks Commission delayed the demolition for a year and asked the county if they could buy it. 
 
"We sought county approval, the county did not approve it. So therefore, the level of protection that is now available is simply the delay,” Morrill said.  

FOX 46 spoke to representative Cunningham who says she's unsure what's next for the building. Many here in the community hope that somehow it will be saved and restored. 

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