Friends, Families, and Organizations

People - Friends, Family & Organizations
space Friends, Family and Organizations
Individual service and participation in organizations in Mecklenburg County were never stronger than during World War II. Thousands of people joined the military to serve their country. Those who stayed behind often joined groups or supported the military in other ways to further the war effort and help with morale. Businesses honored their former employees and the families of the military. The groups and projects in which citizens participated are too numerous to include, but here are a few samples.
  American Legion, Hornets Nest Post According to the The Charlotte Observer, on September 26, 1945, The Hornets Nest Post presented Charlotte Mayor Herbert H. Baxter with a check for $17,500 for the purpose of furnishing and equipping a veterans’ recreation center in Charlotte. Sponsoring a Little World Series of the Junior American Legion baseball game in Charlotte had raised the money.
American Trust Co. American Trust Company American Trust Company, a local bank, dedicated their May 1944 issue of their employee magazine, The Spinning Wheel, to the mothers of their former employees who were serving in the military.
  American War Dads The American War Dads formed a Gold Star Father’s unit, for men whose children had been killed while serving their country. The local chapter sponsored an oratorical contest between Harding High and Central High School students. The winner would compete in a countywide contest sponsored by the American Legion. The subject was “The Privileges and Responsibilities of an American Citizen.”
  Boy Scouts of America The Boy Scouts were instrumental in assisting with the scrap metal and salvage drives. They also raised the flag in a ceremony when the Veterans Information Center opened in downtown Charlotte.
  The Charlotte News & The Charlotte Observer Charlotte had morning and afternoon papers available during World War II. These city and regional newspapers kept their readers informed about the war and the people serving in the military. The military was eager to let the families and communities know about their heroic deeds.
  Draft Board The job of filling the quotas for the military was handled by local draft boards.
  Duke Power Duke Power spotlighted their former employees or the children or spouses of their employees who had joined the military in Duke Power Magazine. This magazine kept people aware of military promotions, movement through training camps, marriages, births, missing in action reports or deaths. Some issues of this publication are in the Carolina Room.
Church Voice First Baptist Church, Charlotte Many churches held memorial services for their members. This image shows a program from one of these services.
  First Methodist Church, Charlotte The members of First Methodist Church celebrated the end of the war in Europe on May 7, 1945.
  First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte Because of their convenient location in downtown Charlotte, First Presbyterian Church was often a welcome stop for soldiers of all faiths. The members equipped their manse as a Soldier Center, which included a ping pong table, Victrola records, refreshments, and letter writing area. The staff and volunteers maintained a ledger of the visiting soldiers and their home addresses. The church has graciously allowed The Carolina Room to have a copy of the ledger.
  Girl Scouts of Mecklenburg County The Scouts performed “Volunteers for Victory” at the Armory Auditorium on April 14, 1944. The production showed the public “our youth and what they stand for in the world tomorrow.” Scout troops from all over the county participated.
  Gold Star MothersThis group of women had children who died while serving their country. They would place a small flag with a gold star in the window of their homes.
The Carolina Room has been given some of the scrapbooks of their local chapter. As one of their regional projects, they provided hospitality, candy and cigarettes at the Veterans Hospital in nearby Salisbury, NC.
To find out more about their organization, please go to Gold Star Mothers.
  Jaycees Local Jaycees furnished a room at the Veterans Information Center at 525 North Tryon Street.
  Lance Inc. Lance, a local producer of snack foods that is still in business in Charlotte, spotlighted their former employees or the children or spouses of their employees in their magazine, Lance Family News. These articles kept other employees aware of their military promotions, movement through training camps, marriages, births, missing in action reports or deaths. Some issues of their employee magazine from the war years are in the Carolina Room.
Veteran's Center Lions Club Local Lions Clubs furnished a room at the Veterans Information Center at 525 North Tryon Street for returning veterans.
  Temple Israel The members of this conservative Jewish congregation worshiped together to celebrate V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.
  38th Evac Hospital Unit A group of local doctors, anticipating they may be called into military service, decided to form a unit so they could serve together. Many health care professionals from this area and other states joined together to serve on the front lines. To learn more, please read about it in a book entitled 38th EVAC by LeGette Blythe, Heritage Printers, Charlotte, NC, 1966.
  St. John’s Baptist Church, Charlotte Many churches had boards or plaques in their buildings to display the names of their veterans.
Veteran's Center Veterans Centers Separate Veterans Centers were established for both African-Americans and whites. These centers supplied information about returning to civilian life, answer questions about veteran benefits and also gave them a place to relax. The images show the Veterans Information Center for whites on 525 North Tryon Street.
  War Assets Some citizens and returning veterans worked to sell war materials no longer needed. Most items were in large quantities and inappropriate for civilian use. The sale of these items not only eliminated the expense of storage but also helped put money back into the government treasury for peacetime needs.
War Rationing Board War Rationing Board Citizens participated in the rationing of food and materials.

Photo Credits: (In order of appearance)
The Spinning Wheel, May 1944, American Trust Company
The Church Voice, July 11, 1946, First Baptist Church
Photo courtesy of The Charlotte News, October 27, 1945
Photo courtesy of The Charlotte Observer, September 9, 1945
Image owned by The Carolina Room PLCMC