He was the owner of Charlotte’s first new black car dealership

This story is part of our new series, Beyond Black History. Do you have a story about Charlotte’s black history? Email [email protected]

Sam Johnson was determined to succeed despite the odds against him: he was black, raised in the Jim Crow South, and a school dropout.

Johnson’s determination led him to become the first black new car salesman in Charlotte, North Carolina in the 1970s.

At the height of his career, he owned five dealerships that sold a total of 795 cars a month.

Johnson later sold his dealerships in Charlotte, retired and moved to South Carolina in 2002.

Raised on a plantation

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