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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen, May 11, 2006. Interview U-0098. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Charlotte's population boom creates need for more direct action programs

Economic ventures led Charlotte to focus less on race; however, the barriers between economic classes have widened with the city's growth. Consequently, the city's services have offered fewer opportunities for long-term socioeconomic betterment. Direct action organizations, Wilson-Allen contends, provide a stronger stepping stool for people to empower themselves.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen, May 11, 2006. Interview U-0098. 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

TAWANA BELINDA WILSON-ALLEN:
Increased education, yeah. Then we have people migrating back south, and you have all different fields. Charlotte is a commerce town, and we have banks and insurance companies and computer technology companies, and so you've got a different economic set of folks coming in regardless of race.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
How has this growth of Charlotte in terms of, you know you're a good person to ask with having been here and seeing these changes over time. Do you think that's been good for alleviating maybe issues of economic and equality or racial inequality or has that not been so good or has it been a combination of both? What's your assessment?
TAWANA BELINDA WILSON-ALLEN:
In some ways I think it has been very good. In others you have the working poor and underemployed, and some of the biggest travesties are still with the people who are working and falling through the cracks. You can get social service aid up to a certain point. Then there's still this quiet aura I think. You look at the homeless population. This is the place where homeless can come with the moderate temperatures and what not. This is a good place, good state to come to. But not all their needs are being addressed. So you've got homeless, and even a lot of them are working. A lot of them are working. So the working poor plight is still something that I think Charlotte . We're more, we're on a middle and upper income kind of train of thought, and that's it primarily I think. We look at social problems in the way of a service organization. I don't mean to put them down at all because I think what they do is very important. They provide a one-time service for someone who might need a little boost, and then it's over. I think that is appropriate for that type of person who just needs a little bit of help. But I think that's the mode around here. I think when you volunteer, you volunteer for a service organization rather than a direct action organization that will actually give people the tools to work through the system.
ELIZABETH GRITTER:
So change then.
TAWANA BELINDA WILSON-ALLEN:
Right. That's the differences that I see now.