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Oral History Interview with Frederick Douglas Alexander, April 1, 1975. Interview B-0065. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Frederick Douglas Alexander was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1910. In 1965, he became the first African American elected to the Charlotte City Council and the first to hold elected public office in Mecklenburg County in the twentieth century. As an active member of the city council, Alexander participated in the Charter Commission formed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1969. The Commission worked to consolidate the governments for Charlotte, its neighboring towns, and the county of Mecklenburg. In this interview, Alexander explains his role in and support of consolidation efforts. He believes consolidation broadened the representative base, opening up city political offices and services to minority groups and low-income citizens. Some Charlotte politicians felt threatened by the attempts to merge the city and county governments and thwarted consolidation with hot-button topics such as school desegregation and school busing. Alexander credits local white politicians' fear of lost power, Mecklenburg's reluctance to pay more taxes, and a national upsurge of conservatism with the defeat of consolidation. He also compares Charlotte's merger efforts to those of Jacksonville, Florida. Alexander contends that because Charlotte was not politically corrupt, there was little need to alter the system. As a result, Charlotte's consolidation failed in 1971.
    Excerpts
  • Charlotte's consolidation efforts threatened the white political elite
  • Advantages of city-county consolidation
  • The people, rather than the governmental structure, proved less flexible
  • Central differences between Jacksonville's and Charlotte's consolidation efforts
  • Opponents of consolidation appealed to voters' emotions surrounding school desegregation
  • Political, economic, and social barriers impeded consolidation efforts
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • North Carolina--Race relations
  • Charlotte (N.C.)--Politics and government
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.