Title: Oral History Interview with Frederick Douglas Alexander, April 1, 1975. Interview B-0065.
Interviewer: Moye, Bill
Interviewee: Alexander, Frederick Douglas
Subjects: North Carolina--Race relations Charlotte (N.C.)--Politics and government
Abstract: Frederick Douglas Alexander was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1910. In 1965, he became the first African American elected to the Charlotte City Council and the first to hold elected public office in Mecklenburg County in the twentieth century. As an active member of the city council, Alexander participated in the Charter Commission formed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1969. The Commission worked to consolidate the governments for Charlotte, its neighboring towns, and the county of Mecklenburg. In this interview, Alexander explains his role in and support of consolidation efforts. He believes consolidation broadened the representative base, opening up city political offices and services to minority groups and low-income citizens. Some Charlotte politicians felt threatened by the attempts to merge the city and county governments and thwarted consolidation with hot-button topics such as school desegregation and school busing. Alexander credits local white politicians' fear of lost power, Mecklenburg's reluctance to pay more taxes, and a national upsurge of conservatism with the defeat of consolidation. He also compares Charlotte's merger efforts to those of Jacksonville, Florida. Alexander contends that because Charlotte was not politically corrupt, there was little need to alter the system. As a result, Charlotte's consolidation failed in 1971.