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The Voice of the Black Community
Charlie Dannelly named 2013 Luminary
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2013
by Ellison Clary

A Charlotte civic leader with more than 50 years in education and politics is the winner of the 2013 “Luminary – Lifetime Achievement” award from The Charlotte Post Foundation.


Charlie Dannelly was a Charlotte teacher and principal before entering politics in 1977. His political career lasted until his retirement in late 2012.

Dannelly will accept the Luminary honor at the “Post Best” banquet on Saturday, October 12, at the Hilton center city.

Of his dual careers, Dannelly remarked, “I have to say I like education better. It’s an honor to be in a position to help direct the lives of young people. If we don’t train and educate our young people, our future will be in jeopardy.”

He takes pride in “seeing young people come back and thank me for the role I played in their lives. They often are attorneys, doctors and teachers. They remind me of things I had forgotten I did.”

Harvey Gantt has known Dannelly for more than 40 years, having served with him on the Charlotte city council. The former Charlotte mayor, who also has won the Luminary award, admires Dannelly’s political contributions.

“I’m sure he changed the lives of a lot of young men and women he came in contact with. He’s an educator at heart,” Gantt said. “I know him more as a legislator. He’s had a positive impact. He understands what’s going on with average people. He’s been a quiet force in this community for years.”  

Another admirer who interacted often with Dannelly is Mac Everett, a former Charlotte executive for First Union and Wachovia banks.

“He was a giant among people who represented Charlotte,” said Everett. “He was willing to listen to anybody who had something to say about an issue,” added Everette, who remains a civic leader and is involved with the Wells Fargo Championship played by the PGA at Quail Hollow. “He would take what people had to offer and that would go into his decision process.”

Gerald Johnson, Charlotte Post publisher, said Dannelly epitomizes what the Luminary award represents.

“Mr. Dannelly has served this community as a teacher, a principal, a city councilman and a state senator. He has been a strong and effective advocate for children, the elderly, the homeless, the poor and the mentally and physically disabled. He tries to be a voice for those who are overlooked and unheard.”

Dannelly lives with wife Rose and they attend Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. They have an adult son.

Born in Bishopville, SC, Dannelly earned an ROTC commission at Howard University and served in the Korean Conflict where he made more that 50 parachute jumps as a first lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division. He holds the Korean Service Medal with a Bronze Star.

Dannelly got his Bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University and his Master’s in Education at the University of North Carolina. He began his education career in 1962. He taught at University Park Elementary and was assistant principal at JH Gunn High and Albemarle Road Junior High. He was principal at Starmount Elementary, University Park Elementary, Quail Hollow Junior High and JH Gunn High.

After serving on the Charlotte City Council from 1977-1989, Dannelly represented parts of Charlotte as a nine-term state senator from 1994-2012. He was the Senate’s deputy president pro tem from 2003-2012.

He helped scores of civic groups and has been an Omega Man of the Year.  

Also at the banquet, The Charlotte Post Foundation will honor its Teacher of the Year. She is Lynetta Witherspoon, who specializes in language arts and teaches fourth and fifth grade at Westerly Hills Elementary.

“I like to see light bulbs go off in their eyes,” Witherspoon said of her students. “Just to see them grow and become ready for the sixth grade, and see them start to believe in themselves” gives her satisfaction, added the 12-year veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Witherspoon earned a Bachelor’s at Johnson C. Smith University and a Master’s of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She and husband Aubrey live in Charlotte.

Two African-American high school seniors have received Post Foundation scholarships to the college of their choice and will be recognized at the banquet. They are Jada Wiggeton-Little of Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, who attends Davidson College, and Julia Whitfield of Mallard Creek High School. She is a freshman at the University of North Carolina.

The Post Best awards banquet is the main fundraiser for The Charlotte Post Foundation. Proceeds from this event support the foundation's literacy initiatives.


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