Skip to Content Skip to Home
ALERT: The Gantt Center is closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. More details here.

Harvey B. Gantt Center Honors Legacy of Founding Mothers Dr. Bertha Maxwell Roddey and Dr. Mary T. Harper

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture honored its founding mothers Dr. Bertha Maxwell Roddey and Dr. Mary T. Harper in a private reception on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. Dr. Maxwell Roddey and Dr. Harper were recognized for their role in establishing the institution almost forty-five years ago as a place where the public could celebrate African-American history and culture through exhibitions, performing arts and educational programs. A major highlight of the evening was the re-naming of the Gantt Center’s second floor lobby to the Harper-Roddey Grand Lobby, which was unveiled during the event. District 2 Council Member Justin Harlow read a proclamation declaring August 22, 2018 Harper-Roddey Day in Charlotte and Mayor Vi Lyles gave closing remarks.

Dr. Harper and Dr. Maxwell Roddey met at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where they joined forces to create the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Afro-American Cultural & Service Center in 1974. Their unparalleled dedication to the community has allowed them to achieve other prestigious honors including North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

“Because of the vision that Dr. Maxwell Roddey and Dr. Harper put into action, the Gantt Center now stands as a beacon in Charlotte to showcase the culture, the history and creative ingenuity of the African-American community and the African diaspora. Renaming the lobby in their honor enabled us to honor them and say thank you for initiating the pathway that allows us to serve the community now, and for generations to come,” said Gantt Center President & CEO David Taylor.

About Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is a multi-disciplinary arts institution located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1974, the Gantt Center’s mission is to present, preserve and celebrate excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and those of African descent through visual and literary arts, dance music, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach. The Gantt Center features fine art exhibitions from around the world and is home to the nationally celebrated John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, which was generously donated by Bank of America, and is accessible online.

Named for Charlotte civic leader and former mayor Harvey Bernard Gantt, the Gantt Center is housed in an inspired and distinguished award-winning structure designed by architect Philip Freelon, co-designer of the new Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). For more information about the Gantt Center and the Initiative for Equity + Innovation, visit

Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Return to list

Get the latest from the Gantt & subscribe to our mailing list.

Your support helps the Gantt present exceptional exhibitions, leading scholars and engaging programs that celebrate the African-American story.

Back to top