desegregation

Lisa Miller

Charlotte commemorated a civil rights heavyweight Thursday.  Julius Chambers fought for equality through the courts and argued some of the cases that helped integrate this city’s schools and businesses. 

He had a lot of hatred directed at him as an African American challenging prejudice, but he never let that make him bitter. Instead, Chambers set up North Carolina’s first law firm to employ both black and white lawyers, partly to serve as an example of the integration he fought for.  He died last week.  His funeral was held Thursday.

From Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, courtesy of Levine Museum.

Fifty years ago, a Charlotte Civil Rights activist led a march through Charlotte to call for desegregation in the city. That march triggered an "eat-in" at Charlotte restaurants with African American leaders, led by then Mayor Stan Brookshire. That action in Charlotte helped set the stage for the nation's 1964 Civil Rights Act. Fifty years after that action, we'll gather with historians as well as people who were there to talk about those historic events, how Charlotte has progressed since, and where we still need to go to fully achieve desegregation in Charlotte, when Charlotte Talks.

Cecil Williams via scetv.org

Charlotte newcomers may recognize the name "Gantt" because it's on the Center for African Arts and Culture Uptown. They may even know Harvey Gantt was the city's first African American mayor. But the name carries even more weight in South Carolina, where Gantt had a major role in desegregation. That is the subject of a new documentary airing this weekend on ETV – the South Carolina public television station.  WFAE's Julie Rose explains:

An African American woman who helped Charlotte navigate the turbulent times around school desegregation and busing died last week at the age of 87.  Kathleen “Kat” Crosby was with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for forty years.  She started with the district as a teacher and rose up in the ranks to become assistant superintendent before she retired in 1986.