Skip to Content Skip to Home

Welcome to Brookhill

Water World, 2018 © Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr. Permanent Collection of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

  • About This Exhibition

    Welcome to Brookhill may not reveal the story one expects when they hear the words gentrification and displacement. The uninitiated consider the land and the now crumbling buildings. Photographer Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr. focuses on the people. Men are raising daughters, grandchildren splash in shallow pools, and neighbors gather on porches. Developers, anxiously eyeing this plot of land across a busy street, must wait, leaving families hanging in the balance.

    The land where Brookhill Village stands has been an African-American community since the 1930s. One company owns the property that makes up this 36-acre community just south of Uptown Charlotte, another firm owns the wooden, single-story buildings that were developed in 1951. This arrangement has become a quagmire for the owners and, subsequently, for the residents.

    In Charlotte, the recent cost of an apartment averages $1,142 per month. Two-bedroom units are $1,169. With rents ranging from approximately $350 to $515 per month for two bedrooms, prices in Brookhill Village are among the lowest in the city. New construction in South End – a neighborhood just next to the Brookhill community – is one of the most active with thousands of new units currently under construction. Commissioned by the Gantt Center to produce this body of work, Jacobs forged deep relationships with Brookhill Village residents. There is no artifice in Jacobs’ black & white images, nor in his technique. This work is his valiant attempt to give voice to those in our community who are often rendered voiceless.

    What Jacobs has captured in Welcome to Brookhill is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood – like every other neighborhood – has come to be for its inhabitants: home.

    We are extending Welcome to Brookhill through Spring 2020. The stories we learned since unveiling the exhibit in 2018 trumpet the strength and heritage of the community and its residents.

  • About The Artist

    Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr.Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr., a native of Rockford, IL, is a professional photographer and image activist currently living in Charlotte, NC. He is also the 2018-2019 Gantt Center artist-in-residence who was commissioned to photograph the award-winning images in the Gantt Center's exhibition Welcome to Brookhill. A transplant to the Queen City, Jacobs honed his craft on the front lines of America's social justice movements. He has since emerged as a premier photographer and photo-documentarian. His distinctive aesthetic is marked by a propensity toward highlighting stark contrast and in dealing in the black & white - both in photography and in the world. This talent for capturing the heart of his subjects on camera has led to him being named one of Charlotte Magazine's 2018 "Charlotteans of the Year" and Creative Loafing's "Best Photographer of 2018." Welcome to Brookhill also received top honors by Creative Loafing readers as "Best Exhibit of 2018."

    Jacobs specializes in social documentary and professional sports, portrait, editorial, and fashion photography. He has been commissioned by the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR and has been interviewed by CNN, HLN, Fox News and various local media outlets. Jacobs' work has been displayed in a Black History Month exhibit for Clifford Chance, LLP in New York and, currently, he is a featured artist in the co-curated exhibition K(no)w Justice, K(no)w Peace at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte and at Davidson College in the photography exhibit Three Steps Back: A Call To Action. Prior to shooting Welcome to Brookhill, Jacobs was commissioned to photograph multiple record breaking dates for Jay Z's 4:44 Tour.

  • Art From The Exhibition

    Water World, 2018 © Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr. Permanent Collection of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

  • Additional Resources

    More about housing in Charlotte:

    Interested in learning more about how neighborhoods are formed?:

    Volunteer with these organizations:

    Experiencing housing vulnerability? Get assistance and information from these resources:

    Read more on housing in America:

    • The Fight for Fair Housing by Gregory D. Squires
    • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
    • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
    • Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America by Beryl Satter
    • Sorting Out the New South City: Race, Class, and Urban Development in Charlotte, 1875-1975 by Tom Hanchett
    • How to Kill a City by P. E. Moskowitz

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

Back to top