January 28, 1963 - The last state integrated in the U.S.

Harvey Gantt becomes the first African American to enter Clemson College in South Carolina, the last state to hold out against integration. 

He later became the first Black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, serving 2 terms in that position from 1983 - 1987. 

Harvey Gantt, 1964Harvey Bernard Gantt (born January 14, 1943) is an American architect and Democratic politician active in North Carolina. The first African-American student admitted to Clemson University after attending Iowa State University, Gantt graduated with honors in architecture, earned a master's at MIT, and established an architectural practice in Charlotte with a partner.

Gantt entered local politics, where he was elected to the city council, serving from 1974 to 1983. He was elected to two terms as the first black Mayor of Charlotte from 1983 to 1987. In the 1990s, he ran twice for the United States Senate against Jesse Helms, losing both times.

Gantt was born in Charleston, South Carolina to Wilhelminia and Christopher C. Gantt, a shipyard worker. He started to participate in civil rights activism in high school. In 1963, he was the first African American to be admitted to Clemson University in South Carolina. He received a degree in architecture with Honors from Clemson and a Master's degree in City Planning from MIT.

From 1974 until 1983, Gantt served on the Charlotte City Council. He was elected to two terms as the first African-American mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, serving in that position from 1983 to 1987. He was defeated for a third term as mayor in 1987 by Sue Myrick. He was Charlotte's last Democratic mayor until Anthony Foxx was elected in 2009.

In 1990, Gantt ran for a Senate seat in North Carolina as a Democrat against the incumbent, Republican Jesse Helms. Gantt avoided the issue of race, instead attacking Helms's record on jobs, education and health care. With one and a half weeks to go, Gantt was ahead in the polls, but Helms aired a number of television commercials emphasizing Gantt's color.

One, which attacked Gantt's pro-abortion stance, repeatedly rewound and replayed a sound bite from Gantt, with the image changing from color to black and white, and Gantt's face appearing darker at the end.

 

Another advertisement, known as the White Hands ad, showed a close-up of the hands of a white person reading, then crumpling a letter, while a voice-over said "You needed that job, and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota. Is that really fair?" It accused Gantt of supporting "Ted Kennedy's racial quota law". Gantt lost the election by 47% to 53%. He ran against Helms again in 1996, but he lost again with 46% of the vote.

He manages a successful architectural practice, Gantt Huberman Architects, and remains active in politics. He served on the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council, the Democratic National Committee, and was appointed as chair of the National Capital Planning Commission in Washington, DC.

In 2009, the Afro-American Cultural Center and the City of Charlotte honored Gantt by building the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, recognizing his contributions to the civil rights movement and as the city's first black mayor. The four-story, 46,500-square-foot building was built for $18.6 million, and is part the Levine Center for the Arts.

In 2016, PBS Charlotte and UNC-TV featured Gantt in their online series, Biographical Conversations. In this series, Gantt recalls his life experiences, ranging from his attendance at Clemson University to his inauguration as Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Harvey Gantt

Gantt and his wife Lucinda (Brawley) Gantt, the second black student to attend Clemson, have four children: Sonja, Erika, Angela and Adam. Their daughter, Sonja Gantt, is a former news anchor at WCNC-TV in Charlotte.

 

wikipedia.org

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Friday, 05 February 2021 13:20
AfroPlex Media

A Los Angeles based blog that covers the many complexities and multi-faceted, non-monolithic aspects of the Black American community.

https://www.afroplex.com

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Latest Tweets

5) Her book “A Voice from the South: By A Woman from the South” is perceived by many as a voice for the Black Ameri… https://t.co/b3qn7etZoo
4) (later Dunbar) which was the only all African American school in Washington, DC, she later became principal of the school.
3) In 1924 Cooper received a doctorate in history from the University of Paris-Sorbone. As an educator, orator and… https://t.co/YDVkYkAcKX
Follow AfroPlex on Twitter

Post Gallery

1860 - Abraham Lincoln, “Cooper Union Address”

February 27, 1897 - Marian Anderson, the first Black American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, was born.

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858 - 1964)

The race riot in Columbia, Tennessee, from February 25 to 28, 1946

February 26, 2012 - Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen was stalked and murdered by an anti-Black racist

February 25, 1842 - Charles Lenox Remond became one of the first Black persons to give testimony before a state legislature

Hiram Rhodes Revels (Feb 25, 1870 – January 16, 1901)

Katherine Johnson passed away on February 24, 2020

Rebecca Lee Crumpler, born Rebecca Davis (February 8, 1831 – March 9, 1895)