UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

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Charles A. McLean papers

Identifier: MS0250

Scope and Contents

The Charles A. McLean Papers concern mainly with Charles McLean’s work with the NAACP in North Carolina for a period of twenty-eight years. To a lesser extent, this collection pertains to McLean’s personal, family and business matters. McLean’s work with the NAACP centered on his efforts to built chapters at the local level, and over the years, he was quite good at this, developing more than sixty five new chapters in addition to the thirty five that were in existence in 1951 when he began his civil rights work.


  • 1930-1982


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Charles A. McLean was born in Harnett County, North Carolina, c. 1909. He attended elementary school in Dunn and Hillside Park High School in Durham, graduating in June, 1927. He attended Winston-Salem Teachers College, qualifying for a North Carolina teacher's certificate at the age of nineteen. McLean subsequently taught school at the Bonnie Dome School in Cumberland County. In 1931 he enrolled at West Virginia State College and earned a degree in business administration in 1935. After graduating, he worked for his family's business—the W.A. McLean & Son Monument Company. He later organized the Wholesale Baking Company in Winston-Salem and became a partner and manager. During WWII, McLean worked as a foreman at the Metro Decorating Company, which was involved in constructing military installations and housing projects. In 1942 he worked for the IRS as a deputy collector, and later was appointed Administrator for War Finance for the state of North Carolina. McLean returned to Winston-Salem in 1947 and organized a property management company. In 1950 he began a long-time association with the NAACP by accepting a position as director of Special Assignments for the voter registration program. In 1951 McLean became field director of the North Carolina Conference of Branches, consisting of thirty five local branches. He served in this capacity until his retirement in 1978, by which time there were over one hundred local branches. McLean's work with the State Conference of Branches involved building up local NAACP branches, work for desegregation, and supporting voter education and voter registration campaigns aimed at increasing representation of African Americans in North Carolina.


20.8 Linear Feet (24 manuscript boxes, one folder oversize )




Collection contains the papers of Charles A. McLean, primarily during his work as an officer of the North Carolina NAACP. Other papers were produced as a result of his business activities or by his family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Benny Mayfield in 1998.

Related Materials

Kelly Alexander, Jr. Papers, Mss 233, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Library. Kelly M. Alexander Papers, Mss 55, University of North Carolina Library.

Processing Information

Processed by James Kusik and Effie Katsanos in 2003. Partial reprocessing in 2009 by Robert A. McInnes.
Inventory of the Charles A. McLean Papers
Finding aid written by James Kusik and Effie Katsanos in 2003.
2003, 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated