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Stanford Raynold Brookshire, Charlotte's first four-term mayor, explains why Charlotte and Mecklenburg County failed to consolidate their city services in the early 1970s.
A writer and editor for the
Charlotte Observer, L. M. Wright offers his insider's perspective on the changing political landscape of Charlotte, North Carolina, from the late 1950s into the early 1970s. Throughout the interview, Wright emphasizes the intersections of race, economics, and urban renewal in the consolidation of local politics.
William I. Ward Jr. served on the Charter Commission that created a proposal to consolidate Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He describes the work of the Commission and opposition to consolidation in the northern part of the community.
Sam Crawford describes the formation and activities of the Cane Creek Conservation Authority in their battle against the Orange Water and Sewer Authority's effort to build a reservoir on Cane Creek in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He focuses on the grassroots nature of the CCCA's actions and offers commentary about what he views as the exploitative nature of land development.
Frederick Douglas Alexander served as a city council member who worked to consolidate Charlotte-Mecklenburg County from 1969 to 1971. He discusses the failures of the consolidation movement.
Koka Booth, former mayor of Cary, North Carolina, describes the growth of his city during his twelve-year tenure.
This is the second interview in a two-part series with southern lawyer Ted Fillette of the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. In this interview, Fillette focuses on his work as a legal advocate of tenant and welfare rights from the 1970s into the early twenty-first century. Throughout, he discusses the legal and political measures taken to ameliorate housing conditions for low-income tenants and to ensure that low-income people have access to social welfare services.
Josephine Dobbs Clement talks about her various civic roles, including her activity as a member of the League of Women Voters, the Durham City-County Charter Commission, the Board of Education, and the Board of County Commissioners. She also discusses her efforts on behalf of social justice and her views on race, gender, and environmental issues.
William Dallas Herring, longtime chair of the North Carolina State Board of Education, discusses the ins and outs of education in his state.
Patricia Neal settled in Durham, North Carolina, during the 1950s and became an active member of the community. Having served on the Durham County Board of Education from the late 1960s through the 1980s, Neal describes the process of integration and its impact on Durham schools and on the community.
Nancy Holt, raised in North Carolina's Cane Creek community and a member of the Cane Creek Conservation Authority, discusses the reaction of the community when UNC and the Orange County Water and Sewer Authority attempted to build a reservoir in Cane Creek.
Sid McMath was the governor of Arkansas from 1949 to 1953. A staunch liberal Democrat, McMath advocated for the inclusion of African Americans in the Democratic Party and in higher education, challenged the patriarchal control of the power companies over the state, and improved infrastructure. Here, he describes his perception of the Dixiecrat revolt of 1948 and his belief that federal intervention was necessary to end Jim Crow segregation in the South.
Nancy Palm was the chairperson of the Republican Party in Harris County, Texas, during the 1960s and 1970s. She describes her own transition from liberal to conservative in the 1950s, the importance of political organization to the evolution of the Republican Party in Texas, her perception of women's liberation, and the role of such politicians as John G. Tower, John Connally, George Bush, and Richard Nixon in the rise of southern conservatism.
Diane English describes her activism in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Isabella Cannon was the first woman mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina. Elected in 1977, at the age of 73, the "old lady who wore tennis shoes" was a staunch advocate for community growth and revitalization. During her tenure, she worked to push through the Long Range Comprehensive Plan, to reconcile tensions between the city and the police and fire departments, strengthen the relationship between the city and the state, and to revitalize the downtown area.
Martha W. Evans was already an active participant in Charlotte, North Carolina, politics when she was elected as a state legislator in 1962. In this interview, she describes local and state politics as they related to the great physical and economic growth Charlotte experienced from the late 1950s into the 1970s.
This is the first interview in a two-part series with southern lawyer Ted Fillette of the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Fillette describes his childhood in Mobile, Alabama; his involvement in civil rights activism as a student at Duke during the 1960s; his work with the VISTA program in Boston; and his early work as a legal advocate of people displaced by urban renewal in Charlotte, North Carolina, during the 1970s.
During the mid-1970s, Gemma Ziegler became a nurse in Louisville, Kentucky, and joined the campaign to organize nurses. In this interview, she discusses her experiences as a nurse; her work as an organizer for We're Involved in Nursing (WIN); her role in the founding of the Nurses Professional Organization (NPO); and the NPO's various activities from the late 1980s into the early twenty-first century.
Diane English recalls her job experiences and quest for homeownership in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning in the late 1960s. She also discusses her role as an activist for neighborhood safety and her fight to save her neighborhood from gentrification.
William Dallas Herring discusses his rise to membership and tenure on the North Carolina State Board of Education and the struggle to create a community college system.
Investigative reporter John Seigenthaler discusses his early career as a journalist at
The Tennessean of Nashville during the 1950s, his work with Robert F. Kennedy during the 1960s, and his role as the editor of The Tennessean into the mid-1960s. Seigenthaler focuses on the unique nature of southern journalism and the homogenization of southern culture during the 1960s and 1970s.
Journalist Hodding Carter describes the changes wrought in Mississippi by the civil rights movement.
Architect and politician Harvey Gantt describes his ascent from a childhood in segregated Charleston, South Carolina, to becoming the first black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. As a southerner, he sees the accomplishments of the civil rights movement as dramatic; as a member of the black middle class, he leans toward negotiation rather than revolt.
Pharmacist William Fonvielle mourns the passing of black economic autonomy and communal unity in Savannah, Georgia.
Albert Gore Sr. reviews the history leading up to his senatorial career, concentrating on his rural upbringing and his early political experiences. He also reflects on his impressions of other important politicians he knew, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn, Estes Kefauver, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Laurie Pritchett, who served as a police chief in Albany, Georgia, for seven years, describes his role in the civil rights movement in that city. He encouraged a moderate response to large demonstrations in the 1960s, a tactic that prevented the negative publicity brought about by brutal police reaction to marches in other towns in the Deep South.
Mareda Sigmon Cobb and her sister Carrie Sigmon Yelton both worked long careers in North Carolina textile mills, completing the family journey from farm to factory in the early decades of the twentieth century. Here they describe their family lives both as children and parents, the many implications of the Depression, working conditions in the mills, religion, and other themes central to social and labor history. The economic and material realities of textile employment are explored in detail; each suffered a major injury on the job, neither favored unionization (though their husbands did), and neither received a pension.