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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Charles M. Lowe, March 20, 1975. Interview B-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Charlotte leaders backed away from consolidation, worried about reelection

Lowe believes that Charlotte leaders backed away from consolidation plans because they were worried about losing their voter bases. Lowe remarks that his political beliefs have changed as he has grown older, but the results are unclear. While he says diverse government is good for communities, he says that in his retirement, he finds himself favoring the status quo.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Charles M. Lowe, March 20, 1975. Interview B-0069. 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

Somebody said. It was in a couple of newspaper commentaries just before the election and afterwards that a lot of chamber leaders were behind consolidation as the idea of consolidation, but, once you went to the open meetings and the district representation and the anti-discrimination devices, that a lot of people in the chamber got cold feet, and, in point of fact, a lot of the powers in the chamber actively opposed the charter. Perhaps because they saw some of their influence…Perhaps they had been able to get people elected that they had influence with, and they were afraid maybe that the types of people who would be elected by district representation would not take their influence.
I think there's some validity in what you're saying. I think, to a large extent, in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, there are some noblesse oblige, that some people feel they are born to be of service and that they serve for that reason. I think this has helped, to a certain extent, to have good government. As you mature and you go down the road in life you realize you do have to have everybody, white, black, rich, poor, young, and old men and women, all together to really get a community involved and to really get them to do the things they really want and need to do. When I talk to young people today, I tell them that when I was young how impatient I was with the old leadership and how I wanted to change things. Now that I'm older, I find myself on the other end of the spectrum. I want things status quo. This is human nature, and what you're saying is true. Some of the leadership did look at it and back off. They were for it in theory, but they weren't for it in practice. I think it will take probably another generation, another ten or twenty years before we get consolidation for the very reason you mentioned.