The Taylors were a prominent and influential African American family in Charlotte, North Carolina. Born a slave in South Carolina, Charles Samuel Lafayette Alexander Taylor (1849-1934) was educated in Quaker freedmen schools after the Civil War and pursued a profession as a barber in Charlotte, where he served as captain and financial secretary of a local African American fire company, the Neptune Volunteer Fire Company. His work as a volunteer fireman led to involvement with state and national fire service organizations, including the North Carolina Colored Volunteer Firemen’s Association, for which he served as financial secretary for 18 years. He remained active in the organization until his death. Taylor’s participation in numerous other civic and political causes in Charlotte included membership in the Charlotte Light Infantry, an African American state militia unit, and service as chairman of the Mecklenburg County Black Republican Delegation.
In 1869 Taylor married Augusta Wheeler (?-1904) and had three sons, John J.L. Taylor, George R.N. Taylor, and Charles S.L.A. Taylor, Jr., all of whom served in the U.S. Army. After the death of his first wife, Taylor married Ella Louise Pickens (1875-1957) in 1905 and had two daughters, Harriet (1906-1961) and Louise (1909-?). Taylor and his second wife later assumed custody of James Franklin Richardson (1926-), his nephew by marriage. After service in the U.S. Navy during World War II and retirement from the U.S. Postal Service, Richardson embarked on a political career in Mecklenburg County, serving as a North Carolina general assemblyman and as a North Carolina state senator.