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Mecklenburg County Bar History


Picturing the Past



Picturing the Past: A History of the Mecklenburg County Bar 

This exhibit graphically depicts the history of the Mecklenburg County Bar.  It was featured at the Levine Museum of the New South January 2012 - June 2012 and is now displayed at the MCB Center.  You may view it online here. 











An Independent Profession:  A Centennial History of the Mecklenburg County Bar

By Marion A. Ellis and Howard E. Covington Jr.

Foreword, epilogue and editing by E. Osborne Ayscue Jr.


Bar History book

"...a thoroughly intriguing history of the community. If you want to understand why Charlotte-   Mecklenburg has been a special place -- more progressive, more decent and civil -- than many other communities its size, you should read this book."

-- Frye Gaillard, author of The Dream Long Deferred


An Independent Profession begins long before the first formal organization of the local bar. It traces a two hundred forty-three year story from one lawyer and a one-room log courthouse in a frontier colonial backwater through the legal profession's role in shaping, and in turn being shaped by, the growth of a community to its present-day role in the affairs of a major American city. And it tells this story against the backdrop of the political, economic and social evolution of the community, the state and nation. It moves from a duel between two eighteenth-century historical figures (both attorneys) to personal correspondence between a judge and a lawyer, looking back at the end of bitterly contested litigation that created a national model for dealing with racial segregation in public schools. It covers the 1920s controversy over Darwinsim and the struggles over labor unionism in the South, climaxed by the Loray Mill murder trial that attracted the attention of the nation.


Purchase a copy

Copies of "An Independent Profession:  A Centennial History of the Mecklenburg County Bar" are available for $24.95. Download an order form or purchase online


Mecklenburg County Bar Centennial Celebration:

Once in a Hundred Years



January 2012 marked the beginning of an historic event that had been over one hundred years in the making. The Mecklenburg County Bar, which originated in 1769 with one lone lawyer in a colonial backwater village, has grown into a community of more than 4,600 professional members. It is an organization that now boasts 70 committees, sections, boards and divisions and a network of volunteers who have been recognized nationally by the American Bar Association. The Bar's Centennial Celebration aimed to honor every attorney in Mecklenburg County.


The goal of the MCB's Centennial Celebration was to honor every attorney in Mecklenburg County - both past and present - that has contributed to the 100+ years of history, and acknowledge that every attorney's accomplishments have helped create and shape what the MCB has become today. It was a Celebration of attorneys as a whole - their lives as volunteers, as courtroom advocates and as skilled, knowledgeable citizens who contribute and add to the value of our community.


This Celebration would not have been possible without the leadership of the MCB Centennial Committee, co-chaired by Hon. Shirley L. Fulton and Mark W. Merritt with members Aretha V. Blake, Hon. Hugh B. Campbell Jr., Hon. Albert Diaz, David W. Erdman, Robert E. Henderson, Sally W. Higgins, Henderson Hill, Keenya T. Justice, John W. Lassiter and Eric Montgomery.


Click Here to Read the Centennial Newsletter



Mecklenburg County Bar Archive

The Bar History Committee is also evaluating how best to ensure that Bar photographs, books, papers and other documents are archived in a manner that will preserve this part of the Bar's history while maximizing accessibility. If you have any of these documents of historical importance to the Mecklenburg or North Carolina Bars, the Committee would be pleased to receive and safeguard those items in an archive it intends to maintain and share for generations to come.  Learn more about adding to the MCB Historical Collection.




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Upcoming MCB Events

5-2-14 Come Rap With Us -Alternative Options for Legal Practice
Free networking event and lunch to connect informally with peers and discuss the steps and things to consider when making a big career change. Register by 4/28/14.

5-8-14 Law Day Luncheon
Mary C. Curtis, award-winning multimedia journalist, will provide the keynote address. The MCB will present the Liberty Bell Award and winner of the Charlotte Observer's Law Day essay contest.

5-8-14 MCB YLD Spring Social
Join MCB YLD members for drinks and appetizers at the NoDa Brewery Crawl. Free for MCB YLD members; $10 for Non-Members


Mecklenburg County Bar