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Oral History Interview with Harvey B. Gantt, January 6, 1986. Interview C-0008. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Architect and politician Harvey Gantt describes his ascent from a childhood in segregated Charleston, South Carolina, to becoming the first black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Along the way, Gantt led sit-ins in Charleston, integrated Clemson University, and became a successful architect in Charlotte. While he describes his career path, Gantt discusses civil rights in the American South. As a southerner, he sees the accomplishments of the civil rights movement as dramatic; as a member of the black middle class, he leans toward negotiation rather than revolt. After the movement's major successes, while northern activists were pushing for more change, Gantt sought to take advantage of his new opportunities. He sees his success both resulting from and contributing to civil rights for African Americans.
  • Growing up in an integrated neighborhood in Charleston
  • Leading sit-ins as a high school senior
  • Lunch counter sit-in sparked a citywide movement in Charleston
  • Gantt arrives at Iowa State University
  • Integrating Clemson University in 1963
  • Integrating Clemson University in 1963
  • Little difficulty for Gantt at Clemson
  • Fears of interracial dating at Clemson
  • Starting an architectural career in Charlotte
  • Black southerners see, and capitalize on, huge changes in the modern South
  • Explaining how white voters could support both him and Senator Jesse Helms
  • Entering politics on the Charlotte city council
  • Gantt's love for politics
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • North Carolina--Politics and government
  • Southern States--Race relations
  • African American politicians--North Carolina
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.