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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with J. Carlton Fleming, [date unknown]. Interview B-0068. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Consolidation gains momentum in Charlotte

Fleming remembers the consolidation question in Charlotte, North Carolina. The issue began to gain momentum in the early 1960s: from Fleming's account, it sounds like the city was functionally consolidating even if it was not doing so politically. Interested individuals moved the issue forward for no particular reason, Fleming recalls.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with J. Carlton Fleming, [date unknown]. Interview B-0068. 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.

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We've been in and out of this question at different points in the last ten or twelve years. As I remember, as we locked at it roughly around the '63 or '64 period, we gave some consideration to what the status of the effort was in both Jacksonville and Nashville as well as the results that had been somewhat disheartening up in Durham. I guess our conclusion there was, and you'll probably find this documented over in the Chamber files, was that consolidation was a worthwhile goal. That there were two ways of considering it. One was functional consolidation. Another was political consolidation. That the community seemed to have a good start on functional consolidation as it was. That probably the most important thing to consolidate politically or functionally was the school system which had already been consolidated here for some years. and Some other things were on the verge of consolidation or were already consolidated, like the city-county tax office, for example. Some other functions that were subject to relatively easy merger. Therefore, there was really no tremendous impetus to attempt right at that time, '63 and '64 if that's when it was, I have no independent recollection of the years . . .Perhaps the better wisdom dictated the continuing efforts to functionally consolidate. One morning you'd wake up, and you'd be so close to it that to take the final steps would be relatively easy for everybody to accept. I guess that really is sort of the thesis of that particular study.
Then, I guess in about '67 or '68, the Chamber makes consolidation part of its program of work. Then, there's a Martin committee and the Griffith committee. Then, lagislation and the Charter Commission. Why did it happen to come up at that time? Was there . . . There had been some functional consolidation in the meantime with the health department and some attempt at cooperation in the police. The water-sewer situation was sort of coming to a head at that time. Was there a particular stimulus that, or was it as you said, maybe you were sort of in the process of waking up and deciding that this was the logical . . .
I don't know that there was any particular impetus to put it at that time rather than earlier or later except that that was just a time when the individuals who were particularly interested in the subject seemed to coalese, I suppose you'd say, and say, "Well, let's get on with it. This is the thing we ought to do. Let's move forward with it." I think it was really more a result of specific persons who had specific ideas deciding that they'd like to have those ideas implemented. It's just the fact that those people seemed to come together and arrive at that conclusion at that time. I don't think there was any particular magic to having tried it at that time rather than some earlier or later time.