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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 >>

Lessons of the defeat of consolidation in Charlotte

The consolidation loss reinforced two important lessons, Lowe believes: it is hard to win an issue on the first attempt, and those pushing for change should not try to do too much at once. The consolidation loss thus may have laid the groundwork for future victories, and in Lowe's half-optimistic, half-resigned worldview, that is a good thing.

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

Well, let me take about thirty seconds if I may. In looking back on consolidation, the theory was right. There were two things. One, you don't generally win it on the first time. The second thing was we did try to do too much at one time if we were going to win it the first time. But, I think we were right in what we did because we laid a good foundation. Anybody that talks or sells consolidation in the future has got to look at what was done. Whether they do it right or not, at least they've got to consider it. They can't pass over it and go the wrong way without somebody bringing it up. I think this is healthy because, in a democracy, you do talk both sides. You make a decision, and, if it's right, fine. You stay with it. If it's wrong, you change it. People are disheartened today, and they say, "Look at Watergate." Well, to me, being an old man, I think Watergate was a great thing. I'm sorry that Mr. Nixon led us down the road he did, and I'm sorry that he and come of his cohorts did the thing. But, I am proud of our government and our people for reacting. I think, in the long run, we will emerge stronger and the country will be better off on account of it. So, I don't feel badly about it. I am sorry that it happened, but, in the long run, I think it's good. I feel the same way about this consolidation. I'm sorry that we lost, but I think we went about it right. I think, in the long run, we will be better off, and we'll get better consolidation and will get consolidation on account of the effort.
You think that will probably be several years before…
It will be some time, yet, because you've got to get a new crowd, and you've got to get a new feeling about something. There's no use to bring something right back up after it's defeated. That's foolish. You wait a while, and you get a new crop, and you get a new feeling, and you get new leadership, and you get a new spirit, and somebody else says, "Yeah, I think it can be done!" That's the only way that progress is made. You don't take the same old were-out ideas and horses and the same old vehicle and get it done. You get new ones, but you build on that. It wasn't in vain. I don't feel that at all.