Skip to main content

Cecelia Johnston, 2015 October 22

Identifier: CH-JO0010

Scope and Contents

Cecelia Johnston discusses her life and involvement in the Optimist Park community in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ms. Johnston is a longtime resident of the neighborhood and treasurer for the Optimist Park Community Association. She stresses the significance of Habitat for Humanity in the area, describing her experiences building homes during her required "sweat hours" as a prospective homeowner and meeting future neighbors in the process. Although Ms. Johnston recalls a time when there were problems with drug trafficking in the area, she notes that the perpetrators resided outside of the community and describes her proactive stance against this activity. As a retired nurse from Carolinas Medical Center, Ms. Johnston devotes much of her time to supporting the Second Ward High School National Alumni Foundation, volunteering with the medical team at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, and participating in disaster relief trainings for the Red Cross. Ms. Johnston welcomes change in Charlotte and sees the light rail project and its impact on her neighborhood as a positive development for Optimist Park. She does express some concern that improved connectivity could increase the opportunity for crime. Ms. Johnston recognizes the benefits of gentrification in the area, but she observes that newcomers to the neighborhood are often transitory, and she expresses her fear that the Optimist Park neighborhood will be subsumed by the growing neighboring North Davidson arts district "NoDa."


  • Creation: 2015 October 22


Conditions Governing Access

Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Please contact Special Collections to request the creation of use copies for particular items; requests will be accommodated when possible. The remaining materials are open for research.

Biographical Note

Cecelia Johnston was a 64-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place in her home in Optimist Park, Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in Lancaster, South Carolina in 1951. She was educated at Second Ward High School and Central Piedmont Community College, and was employed as a nurse at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte North Carolina.


55 Minutes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

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

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment