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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Frederick Douglas Alexander, April 1, 1975. Interview B-0065. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Opponents of consolidation appealed to voters' emotions surrounding school desegregation

Alexander returns to the discussion of Charlotte's political integrity. He also discusses the potency of emotional appeals used by anti-consolidation forces. They successfully relied on voters' resentment toward school busing.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Frederick Douglas Alexander, April 1, 1975. Interview B-0065. 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

MOYE:
You think that made it difficult to persuade people that a change was necessary?
FREDERICK DOUGLAS ALEXANDER:
Well, you are attempting to persuade people from a philosophy rather than from a cause celebre that said, "Looka here, this is the only way we can get rid of the problem that we got." So you see, we did not start out saying, "Here's our problem. We've got a problem that we've got to resolve." It was just a question of philosophy. Whether or not we are ahead of the game and we can do by consolidation some of the things that we find that legal constraints, for instance, keep us from doing as it is. Some of the things that we need to do to improve the community can be easier done through a consolidation rather than two levels of government. You see? Things perhaps being practically, in a sense, alright as they were, who wants to bother with change? That's one element of it. Then, you find that you've got the political element where you've got...And, this is a narrow-minded view that existed that is indeed unfortunate. A point of political philosophy was based on the fact that, of course, a consolidation would also, perhaps, uproot the politicos and would also bring in a new political force, a new political direction, a new political leadership.
MOYE:
That would challenge and perhaps...
FREDERICK DOUGLAS ALEXANDER:
The status quo. Perhaps many of the political leaders would have been left out of the picture or eased out of the picture under a consolidation. Of course, they didn't want to see that. Of course, they didn't want to see the strength of control diluted by poor folks and black folks having a say-so in the governmental process. You see?
MOYE:
You think that this latter point was maybe a major reason for the defeat? I mean, this came right at the time of the school busing.
FREDERICK DOUGLAS ALEXANDER:
I think that the education issue and everything all at that same time...I think you have some, a lot of this type of feeling that was a motivating force to be against consolidation.
MOYE:
It seems that one difficulty, perhaps, that the campaign supporting the new charter had was, as you said, the opposition had benefit, to some extent, of an emotional issue, perhaps deriving out of the school busing...
FREDERICK DOUGLAS ALEXANDER:
Out of the school situation.
MOYE:
Whereas the supporters did not have such an emotional...
FREDERICK DOUGLAS ALEXANDER:
Cause celebre. Other than a philosophical approach to charge.