Title: Oral History Interview with William I. Ward Jr., March 21, 1975. Interview B-0072.
Interviewer: Moye, Bill
Interviewee: Ward, William I.
Abstract: William I. Ward Jr. served on the Charter Commission to form a proposal for the consolidation of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. A former United States assistant district attorney, Ward grew up in rural Alamance County, North Carolina, and later moved to Davidson in Mecklenburg County, where he practiced law. When the Charter Commission was formed, Ward was employed by Duke Power Company in Charlotte; because he had already spent much time in Charlotte and was a prominent figure in the community, he was a natural choice for serving as Davidson's representative on the Commission. Ward discusses various aspects of the Charter Commission primarily on its activities in the late 1960s, opposition to consolidation from northern Mecklenburg County, and his thoughts on the failed vote in 1971. In his explanation of why some towns—particularly those in the northern part of the county—opposed consolidation, Ward argues that citizens in the more rural areas feared that they would be overlooked because most resources would benefit the more populous areas, notably Charlotte. In articulating his point, he focuses on topics such as the county water system, taxation, internal improvements, and partisan politics. In addition, he addresses such related issues as school busing and the representation of African Americans.