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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Objections to Charlotte's consolidation efforts

As an established political and economic engine of local government, Charlotte's Chamber of Commerce supported city-county consolidation. However, the Chamber gradually detached itself from the issue. Brookshire explains that the general public's opposition to the broadening of political representation to different races and classes and the threat of a restructured political system led to the Chamber's abandonment of consolidation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stanford Raynold Brookshire, August 18, 1975. Interview B-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BILL MOYE:
Well, just who was pushing...Who was really behind... I know that the Chamber had established a committee, and Dr. Martin was chairman of a committee, and Mr. Griffith was chairman of a committee. Who was really behind this push for consolidation? In the end, it seemed to be a very few people, in a way, when it came down to a vote. Who was really behind? If there wasn't a crisis, and a lot of people seemed pretty well satisfied, who was really behind the push in the first place? Did they, to some extent, were they dissatisfied with what had resulted from their initiation?
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Well, I would guess it was largely the officers and the board of the Chamber of Commerce who were primarily interested in consolidation. Even so, I know that there were some members of that political-economic group who thought that the proposed charter was just too elaborate, too involved. Even some of them who gave lipservice to it didn't care whether it passed or didn't. Did or didn't pass.
BILL MOYE:
I know there in December, just shortly before the vote, there was a Chamber committee came out recommending a number of changes, especially in the representation.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
I believe that's right, but I don't believe the Charter Commission gave any heed at all to those recommendations, as I remember.
BILL MOYE:
I wonder sort of how that could be. I mean, it seems that a good deal anyway of what has been accomplished in Charlotte and in which you played a very large part over the last fifteen or so years...The Chamber, in one way or another, has played a very major role in a lot of this.
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
They've very definitely given a lot of leadership to progressive measures in this community for which it has received small thanks from a great many people. I would account for that on the basis that the Chamber, in the minds of most people, the average voter, is the establishment or represents the establishment. It is that bit of jealousy, antagonism, you name it. Just natural personal opposition in a lot of quarters to the establishment.
BILL MOYE:
I wonder...I mean, since a lot of the officers or whatnot of the Chamber have been so important, just how it happened this sort of got out of hand on them? Did other interests sort of divert their attention while the commission was making or at least recommending all these changes? Seemed to be in a way a losw of communication between those who had been instrumental in making decisions and this group that was proposing some new...
STANFORD RAYNOLD BROOKSHIRE:
Well, I guess it was just that the Chamber officials, the board itself and the officers, just didn't back this thing as enthusiastically as they might have if this proposal had been of a more modest nature, if it been a more simple merger rather than a completely rebuilt structure. I think that a lot of proponents of consolidation naturally lost interest and enthusiasm for it when it became too involved.