The Civil Rights Revolution In Mecklenburg County
Dr. Dan L. Morrill
An African American stands in front of the monument
commemorating the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Jim Crow and
the declaration's promise were irreconcilable.
of the creation of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte , the
concurrent rise of female influence on local elected governmental bodies,
and the enactment of district representation notwithstanding, it was the
persistent struggle of African Americans to gain the full rights of
citizenship that occupied center stage in Charlotte-Mecklenburg during the
years of social transformation that followed World War Two. The black
veterans who returned to Charlotte in 1945 found the rules of racial
segregation demeaning and repugnant. "It was very upsetting to realize you
have given precious time of your life for supposed freedom in a country that
was still segregated," said Charlottean Gerson Stroud . Raymond Rorie , a
school principal, agreed. "This was one of the problems we black soldiers
faced," he declared. "We were protecting our country when we didn't have
freedom ourselves." Jim Crow was about to enter its last days in
Charlotte-Mecklenburg. There were three main players in this compelling
drama -- two blacks and one white. They were Fred D. Alexander , Julius
Chambers , and Mayor Stan Brookshire .
Fred Alexander Being Sworn In As Member Of The
Charlotte City Council. Milton Short is in the middle.
In 1965, Fred D.
Alexander became the first African American elected to the Charlotte City
Council and the first black to hold elected public office in Mecklenburg
County since the 1890s. He served for nine years. The Civil Rights Act of
1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had put the full weight of the
Federal government on the side of equal access for all citizens to public
accommodations and the voting booth. “Alexander personified a new age
in which blacks took advantage of the opportunities" offered by Federal
Civil Rights legislation, writes historian Randy Penninger in his M. A.
Thesis on Alexander’s political career.
Frederick Douglas Alexander was named for Frederick Douglass, the Great
Emancipator of the nineteenth century. Born in Charlotte in 1910, Alexander
had a soft-spoken, diplomatic demeanor, which assisted him in winning white
support for the improvement of the African American community. “Fred was
just simply a person who handled every kind of situation well,” commented
furniture retailer and fellow City Councilman Milton Short . Alexander's
father was Zachariah Alexander , who, after graduating from Biddle Memorial
Institute , established Alexander Funeral Home in the Second Ward or
Brooklyn neighborhood. It was there that Fred and his brother, Kelly
Alexander , who would eventually become State president of the NAACP,
learned the social skills and sensitivities to other people’s feelings that
would serve the two Alexander brothers well in their respective public
before Fred Alexander graduated from Lincoln University in Chester County,
Pennsylvania in 1931, he had decided that access to the ballot box was the
only way that black Charlotteans could improve their lot. He was asked by a
classmate to go with him to Africa to work for the liberation of its native
people. “My God,” Alexander remembered saying many years later, “I Came
from Africa, and If I can go there to help free HIS people, I
can go back home and help free my OWN Africa.” Alexander carried
through with his promise. “Fred came back to Charlotte with one thing in
mind -- political action,” said noted local author and newspaperman Harry
Harry Golden, publisher of the Carolina Israelite,
was a prominent Civil Rights advocate in the 1950s and 1960s.
in the 1930s, Fred Alexander devoted great amounts of time to registering
African Americans to vote. New Deal programs assisted him in this
endeavor. “Constantly working for increased political awareness of blacks,
Alexander lobbied for the appointment of black police officers and mail
carriers, for business courses in the black high schools, and for improved
health care,” writes historian Randy Penninger. Alexander was a founding
member and executive secretary of the Citizens’ Committee for Political
Action , an organization established in 1932 to increase political
participation by African Americans. In 1949, the group sponsored two
candidates for public office. Bishop Dale , a lanky Texan who operated an
insurance and real estate business in Second Ward, ran unsuccessfully for
City Council; and James Wertz , pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church on East
Second Street, failed in his bid for a seat on the Charlotte City School
Board. Their defeats were virtually guaranteed, because an at-large
voting and representation system for municipal offices had been instituted
after Dale had almost won a seat on City Council in 1934.
for Fred Alexander and other aspiring African Americans, the political
culture of Charlotte began to change after 1950, largely because of
voluntary integration of public facilities and businesses in Charlotte in
1963, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act
of 1965, and, most importantly, the successful integration, albeit limited,
of the local public schools in 1957. It was during the 1950s and 1960s,
sometimes called America's "Second Civil War," that the White Supremacy
initiatives of the 1890s began to give way to new arrangements, both
politically and socially. These years, writes Jack Claiborne in his
history of the Charlotte Observer , were a "time of upheaval."
Alexander carefully built the political base from which he would launch his
campaign for City Council. "There has been no Negro in public office in my
lifetime," he proclaimed. "If there had been, we would have seen a
different type of community human relations." Knowing that he would have to
win a city-wide race, Alexander sought appointments to high profile
institutions so he could become better known in the white community. He
became the first African American member of the Charlotte Chamber of
Commerce in 1962 and of the Mecklenburg County Board of Public Welfare in
1963. He was picked to serve on the Mayor's Community Relations Committee
and became a member of the Executive Committee of the Mecklenburg County
Democrat Party in 1964.
Douglas Alexander announced his candidacy for the Charlotte City Council on
February 4, 1965. "Alexander stresses his desire not to be considered ‘the
Negro candidate,’ but rather as a man who will work for the good of the
entire community,” proclaimed the Charlotte Observer on April 24,
1965. He told reporters that it was "necessary for somebody to interpret
the needs of a third of our population." Although regarded by some blacks
as overly cautious, especially by outspoken Civil Rights advocate Dr.
Reginald Hawkins , Alexander received an outpouring of support from the
African American precincts and was able to garner just enough white support
to win the last contested seat. On May 11, 1965, Fred Alexander took
the oath of office as the first black City Councilman in twentieth century
sought from the outset of his tenure on the Charlotte City Council to
increase the voice of the black community in public affairs by having
African Americans appointed to governmental boards and commissions,
including the Welfare Board, the Civil Service Board, and the Urban
Redevelopment Commission. “Alexander believed black representation on
boards and commissions was necessary,” writes Randy Penninger. As the lone
African American member, Alexander met with little success. He did take a
leadership role in bringing urban renewal to the Greenville neighborhood and
in advocating programs to provide low income housing throughout the city.
“I feel the strain upon the housing needs of the City of Charlotte,
especially as the condition exists among our Negro citizens,” Alexander
declared on September 18, 1967.
Fred Alexander Watches Fence Separating Elmwood And
Pinewood Cemeteries Being Removed On January 7, 1969.
Alexander's most significant victory during his years of service on the
Charlotte City Council was the removal of a fence that separated Elmwood
Cemetery and Pinewood Cemetery , the former for whites and the latter for
blacks. “It’s cheaper to take it down than to maintain it. Plus the insult
that comes with it,” said Alexander on April 30, 1968. There was opposition
in the white community. “To me it seems the colored people are acting just
like some children—wanting everything they can get,” said one woman. The
fence did finally come down. City Council voted on January 6, 1969, to
remove this galling vestige of Charlotte’s Jim Crow past.
greatest challenge to the continuation of the status quo in Charlotte and
Mecklenburg County in the years following World War Two arose in the area of
public education. On September 4, 1957, the local public schools became
racially integrated for the first time in their history. With the backing
of School Superintendent Elmer Garinger , Dorothy Counts enrolled that day
at Harding High School ; Gus Roberts entered Central High School ; his
sister, Girvaud Roberts , became a seventh grader at Piedmont Junior High
School; and Delores Maxine Huntley matriculated at Alexander Graham Junior
writer's opinion, the gradual abandonment of rigid racial segregation in the
1950s and 1960s in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County occurred essentially for
the same reason that it had been put into place in the 1890s. Jim Crow had
now become bad for business. Men like D. A. Tompkins , Hamilton C.
Jones , and Cameron Morrison , had looked upon Populism and black
Republicanism as threats to unremitting economic development and growth at
the turn of the last century. By the 1950s, however, the racial
arrangements of the South were becoming increasingly anachronistic, even
embarrassing, and were isolating the region from the rest of the county and
realizations among Charlotte's business elite allowed Dr. Elmer Garinger ,
the unassuming and fatherly Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
since 1949, to summon key members of his staff to his office in July 1957
and announce that a small number of African Americans would be assigned to
white schools that fall. "It was the right thing to do, and despite any
confusion or discomfort it might soon cause, Charlotte, North Carolina, was
going ahead with it," states Frye Gaillard in his book, The Dream Long
were running high between the races in September 1957. Charlotte-Mecklenburg
schools were scheduled to open on September 4th with four African
American students attending previously all-white classrooms for the first
time. In May 1954, the United States Supreme Court had ruled in the
landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that "separate
but equal" schools were inherently unequal, thereby setting aside the legal
precedents established in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson . The Court
“handed the South the greatest problem of readjustment the region has had to
face since the Civil War," declared the editors of Charlotte Observer
. On December 1, 1955, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other black
activists launched the now famous boycott of the city buses in Montgomery,
Alabama. On September 2, 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubas surrounded
Central High School in Little Rock with National Guardsmen and declared the
campus off limits to white and to black students. Faubas stated in a
televised speech that night that if African American students attempted to
enter Central High, "blood would run in the streets."
Klansmen picket the Visulite Theater on Elizabeth
within this emotionally-charged atmosphere that Charlotte-Mecklenburg
prepared to integrate its schools on September 4, 1957. Robed and hooded
members of the Ku Klux Klan picketed the Visulite Theater on Elizabeth
Avenue on September 1st. They were protesting the showing of
the movie, "Island in the Sun," directed by Robert Rossen and starring such
notable performers as James Mason, Joan Collins, Dorothy Dandridge, and
Harry Belafonte. The film depicted interracial romances. The Klansmen
dispersed without incident when they were ordered to do so by Police Chief
Frank Littlejohn . "A few obvious sympathizers of the Klan parked near the
theater jeered photographers who arrived to make pictures of the pickets,"
reported the Charlotte Observer .
provocative and outlandish were comments made by a racist rabble-rouser
named John Kasper . Having already enflamed racial passions among whites in
Winston-Salem and Greensboro, Kasper came to Charlotte on September 1st
and signed up members for what he called the White Citizens Council . He
delivered an inflammatory speech to about 300 white people who had gathered
on the steps of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. He called upon the white
citizens of Charlotte to rise up against the school board. "We want a heart
attack, we want nervous breakdowns, we want suicides, we want flight from
persecution," Kasper declared. Aware that native-born evangelist Billy
Graham was scheduled to arrive from New York City the next day, Kasper
said: "Billy Graham left here a white man but he's coming back a n…..
lover." Billy Graham , a man of impeccable character and highest standing
in Charlotte and the nation as a whole, declined to respond to such
ridiculous dribble when he stepped off the train at the Southern Railroad
Station on September 2nd.
culmination of the crisis occurred shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday
September 4th at Harding High School . 15-year-old Dorothy
Counts left her parents' home on Beatties Ford Road just across from
Johnson C. Smith University , where her father taught theology. She was
driven to Harding that late summer morning by Dr. Edwin Thompkins, also a
member of the Johnson C. Smith faculty. Not since D. H. Hill and his
colleagues had charged the dormitories at Davidson College in 1854 had
there been such explosive passion on the campus of a local school.
Dorothy Counts Walks To Harding High School.
crowd of upperclassmen who had registered earlier that morning congregated
in front of the school to listen to John Z. Warlick and his wife, leaders
of the White Citizens Council . "It's up to you to keep her out," shouted
Mrs. Warlick. Attired in a simple print dress with a broad bow and ribbon
dangling from her collar, Dorothy Counts walked up the sidewalk that led to
the front door. Hoots and catcalls filled the air. Dorothy Counts
remained stoical throughout this electrifying encounter. She said nothing,
even though some young whites threw trash and rocks toward her, most landing
at her feet. "I do remember something hitting me in the back," she told a
newspaper reporter, "but I don't think they were throwing at me, just in
front and at my feet." Dorothy Counts exhibited remarkable poise that
day. When asked if any whites spat upon her, Counts answered: "Yes.
Many. A good many times, mostly on the back."
Mayor Brookshire was determined that pictures such as
this would never appear in the press again.
Counts soon succumbed to the harassment and scorn she experienced. She
withdrew from Harding High School after attending for only four days, but
the other three African Americans who had enrolled with little or no fanfare
at other schools on September 4th remained for the entire year.
Gus Roberts would eventually graduate from Central High School . Indeed,
the contributions of Gus Roberts , Girvaud Roberts , and Delores Huntley to
the advancement of integrated schools were more substantial, if less
confrontational, than those made by Counts. Progress, however, was slow.
"Not a lot happened in the schools for the next several years," writes Frye
Gaillard. The number of blacks attending integrated classrooms increased
but only gradually. Charlotte remained mostly a segregated city.
greatest legacy of the stirring events that had transpired at Harding High
School on September 4, 1957, was the determination of Charlotte's business
leaders that such events would never happen again. Photographs of Dorothy
Counts walking demurely through a throng of screaming and spitting students
had appeared in newspapers across the United States, including the New
York Times. "Those pictures sickened Charlotte's corporate executives,"
Jack Claiborne told this writer. Thereafter, influential Charlotteans,
most notably C. A. "Pete" McKnight , editor of the Charlotte Observer
from 1954 until 1976, nurtured an atmosphere of racial tolerance
that facilitated the rise of Fred Alexander and other moderate African
Americans to positions of community-wide influence. "We have not defied the
Court, but we have made it clear that we will make changes slowly and with
due regard for the personal feelings of our people," stated the editors of
the Charlotte Observer on May 17, 1958, the fourth anniversary of
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka .
who best exemplified the accommodating attitude of Charlotte's white
business elite on racial issues was Stan Brookshire , Mayor of Charlotte
from 1961 until 1969. Like Ben Douglas a native of Iredell County,
Brookshire graduated in 1927 from Trinity College, now Duke University, and
in 1933 joined with his brother, Voris Brookshire , in establishing
Engineering Sales Company. In matters of economics and business Brookshire
was a typical New South booster. Expansion and growth were at the top of
his agenda. "We had a lazy city ready to burst out at all seams, and it
did, and it's still doing it and will continue to do it," said City
Councilman Jim Whittington when commenting on Brookshire's impact on
Charlotte. Milton Short told this writer that Mayor Brookshire assigned
him the task of investigating where Charlotte could construct new water
lines -- the umbilical cords of suburban expansion. A natty dresser,
Brookshire circulated in the same privileged venues that men like Harry
Dalton had enjoyed during World War Two. "He loved to play golf, and he
enjoyed the burnished ambience of the country club," remembered Jerry Shinn
, associate editor of the Charlotte Observer .
considered himself the Chamber of Commerce 's choice for mayor and he ran
the city from that perspective," stated City Councilman John Thrower .
Having served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Brookshire was
recruited to run for mayor by Charlotte's white business leaders who did not
want the more liberal Martha Evans to win. On racial issues Brookshire was
a moderate. Above all else he sought to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing
events of 1957, when national newspapers had carried photographs of Dorothy
Counts being harassed as she entered Harding High School . "Brookshire
identified himself with Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr .," explains Alex
Coffin. Unlike Mayor Arthur Hanes of Birmingham, Alabama, who championed
the continuation of segregation, Brookshire, like Allen, favored peaceful
reconciliation and looked upon moderates in the African American community
like Fred Alexander as his principal allies.
Johnson C. Smith University students stage sit-in.
on the edge of racial conflict in the early 1960s. There were sit-in
demonstrations at eight local lunch counters on February 9, 1960. Store
managers refused to serve the African Americans and closed down. Seven did
resume operations on an integrated basis the following July. Black dentist
and Presbyterian minister Reginald Hawkins , whom Brookshire despised, was
the most strident voice in the local African American community. On May 20,
1963, Hawkins led hundreds of Johnson C. Smith students on a protest march
against racial segregation in restaurants, theaters, hotels, motels, or any
other business establishment that served the general public.
Hawkins, a native of
Beaufort, North Carolina, had a penchant for publicity. He purposely chose
the 188th anniversary of the alleged signing of the Mecklenburg
Declaration of Independence in 1775 to stage his protest. "There is no
freedom as long as all of us are not free," the tempestuous dentist and
preacher shouted. The crowd greeted his remarks with "Yeah" and "No."
"We shall not be satisfied with gradualism," Hawkins proclaimed. "We want
freedom and we want it now." As the students began to disperse, Hawkins
issued a threat to the white leadership of Charlotte. "Any day might be D
Day . . . . They can either make this an open or democratic city or there
is going to be a long siege. They can choose which way it's going to be."
This was not idle
talk. Mayor Brookshire knew that demonstrations were occurring in Raleigh,
Durham, and Greensboro, and that large numbers of protestors were being
arrested. "Pete" McKnight of the Charlotte Observer telephoned
Brookshire and suggested that decisive action was needed to maintain the
peace. Brookshire agreed. He asked Ed Burnside , president of the Chamber
of Commerce , to call a meeting of the Chamber's executive committee. These
actions culminated in the Chamber of Commerce's approving a resolution on
May 23rd calling upon businesses in the community to open their doors
voluntarily to African Americans. "May 23, 1963, could be the day leading
to a major breakthrough in human relationships for the Queen City and the
Carolinas," stated a Charlotte Observer editorial. " . . . once the
leadership of this community has set its course, regardless of the
individual problems encountered," the newspaper continued, "it will not
swerve from it until all citizens can breathe free in the public ways."
This prediction was borne out in the weeks and months that followed. Legal
racial segregation ended voluntarily in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in
1963. "I positively think that this voluntary action enabled us to avoid the
violence of murder, riots, arson, and looting, which plagued many of our
cities," declared Brookshire shortly before his death from lung cancer in
The struggle for
full integration of the public schools was not yet over, however. Julius
Chambers , a laconic but brilliant lawyer, often speaks in a quiet monotone
that gives little indication of the passion for racial justice that burns in
the core of his being. Born in Mt. Gilead, North Carolina, Chambers arrived
in Charlotte in July 1964 after receiving a law degree from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an advanced degree from Columbia
University, and serving for one year as an intern for the NAACP Legal
Defense Fund. "He provided for blacks in Charlotte the legal brilliance
that their movement had lacked," writes Frye Gaillard. Reginald Hawkins
did not wait long to visit Chambers in the lawyer's rented office on East
Trade Street to express frustration over the progress of integration in the
Dr. Reginald Hawkins
On January 19, 1965,
Julius Chambers , acting on behalf of Vera and Darius Swann , whose son had
been assigned to all-black Biddleville Elementary School near Johnson C.
Smith University , filed legal briefs in Federal District Court in
Charlotte. Chambers argued that the pupil assignment plan of the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools violated the United States Constitution and
that the School Board was obligated to take more resolute action to
eliminate the vestiges of racial segregation that persisted in the public
| William E. Poe
including School Board Chairman William Poe , believed that this community
had a sterling record with respect to race relations and that some in the
African American community were pressing their demands for more
comprehensive school integration too assertively. "I never knew of any
occasion when he even wrote a letter," Poe stated many years later when
discussing Chambers. "He never came in and said, 'let's talk about these
things.'" Such behavior frustrated and angered Poe.
Police Investigate Bombing.
Anger of a more
sinister kind erupted in Charlotte during the early morning hours of
November 22, 1965. Sticks of dynamite exploded with dramatic suddenness in
the yards of the homes of Fred Alexander , Kelly Alexander , Reginald
Hawkins , and Julius Chambers . It was as if a compressed coil of racial
hatred suddenly sprang forward. Luckily, nobody was hurt. The
perpetrators were never identified, but Mayor Brookshire and the Charlotte
City Council left no doubt as to how they felt about this incident. "We are
ashamed and horrified by the acts of violence," read their official
statement. "They have done much damage to the four homes involved. They
have done far greater damage to our community." According to Alex Coffin,
Brookshire regarded these bombings as the "low point in his time in office."
"The despicable acts of these nightriding terrorists do not represent the
spirit of Charlotte," asserted the Charlotte Observer . Mayor
Brookshire himself would experience the barbs of racial retaliation. A
burning cross was found in his yard on August 26, 1966.
another round of intense racial stress in the days following the tragic
assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. Cities
across the country exploded in orgies of rage, and many wondered whether the
same would happen in Charlotte. President R. P. Perry closed Johnson C.
Smith early for spring holidays "to maintain calm." Students at Davidson
College donned black armbands in honor of Dr. King, and those at Second
Ward High School wept openly during an emotionally wrenching memorial
service. Mayor Brookshire and County Commission Chairman Jim Martin
declared a city-wide day of mourning and scheduled a memorial service for
noon on April 6th at Ovens Auditorium . Dr. Warner Hall , pastor
of Covenant Presbyterian Church and chairman of the Mayor's Committee on
Community Relations , said that the people of Charlotte needed to come
together to express a "personal sense of loss."
Police stood at the Square in April 1968 after dark to
assure that nobody was on the streets.
George Leake , the
passionate and physically imposing minister of Little Rock A.M.E. Zion
Church , alarmed Mayor Brookshire and other civic leaders during a meeting
of the Committee on Community Relations on April 6th. Leake
spoke with uncharacteristic candor to representatives of the white elite.
African Americans, he said, rejected "attempts to placate the Negro
community and to soothe the conscience of whites." Leake called upon the
business community to "teach Negroes in the same way that they teach the
dumb white folks." He warned that Charlotte could experience "long hot
summers" and even "chaos" unless it curbed the racist behavior of some
policemen and improved recreation programs in poorer neighborhoods. Blacks,
he said, would continue to fight "with the ballot, boycott, picket and will
march if that is the only way you'll answer the call." He ended by inviting
whites to come to a memorial service on April 8th where "men of
color will honor one of their own."
This writer attended
the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service held at St. Paul's Baptist
Church on the evening of April 8, 1968. It was a memorable experience. The
streets were virtually empty, because Mayor Brookshire had declared a
city-wide nightly curfew earlier that day. Black ladies in white dresses
greeted the people politely and handed out programs at the door of the
Gothic Revival style church, which would soon fall victim to Mayor
Brookshire's "slum clearance" program for the Brooklyn neighborhood.
The banging radiators
along the walls of the packed sanctuary seemed to underscore the
significance of the moment. The audience was about half white and half
black. Mayor Brookshire was there. County Commission Chairman Jim Martin
was there. “I didn’t believe you would come,” proclaimed Rev. Leake. “I
am encouraged that at last you did come down and share with us.” Kelly
Alexander concurred. “I’m glad to see so many people here,” he declared.
“I’m sorry it took Martin Luther King’s death to bring us together.”
Some of the attendees at the April 8th Memorial
delivered a stirring sermon. His sonorous tones reverberated against the
walls of the old sanctuary, evoking tears and shouts of “Amen” from many in
the audience. He began in a dignified, measured manner similar to that
employed by preachers in white churches. It did not take long, however, for
the more dramatic style of the African American clergy to come to the
surface. Leake suddenly thrust his arms skyward and began swaying from side
to side in the pulpit. Perspiration beaded on his forehead and trickled
down the side of his shiny, black face. “The Lord has gathered him up and
said, ‘Martin you have done enough. You have walked enough miles, you have
made enough speeches.'” The service ended with black people and white
people singing "We Shall Overcome," the anthem of the civil rights
movement. This writer realized that he was witnessing a watershed moment in
the history of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Dr. Raymond Wheeler of the
Southern Regional Council appreciated its meaning. "I tell all of you,
black and white, racial separation is not the answer."
Local physician Raymond Wheeler was a champion of
There were still
major challenges to face. On April 23, 1969, Federal Judge James B.
McMillan ruled for the plaintiffs in the landmark Swann case. McMillan, a
native of Robeson County, declared that the public schools of Charlotte and
Mecklenburg County had "the affirmative duty to desegregate 'now' by
positive measures." The eventual outcome of his order was the establishment
in 1970 of a system of cross-town busing to assure that schools would be
racially integrated. This community is still grappling with the issue of
how to provide equal educational opportunities for all children when many
neighborhoods continue to be racially homogenous. Yet the trend toward
greater racial understanding is irreversible. At the time of the completion
of this manuscript African Americans are fully represented on the Charlotte
City Council and the Board of County Commissioners. A black man is Chairman
of the Mecklenburg County School Board. Another African American is County
Manager. The City Manager is a woman. The two representatives from
Mecklenburg County in the U.S. House of Representatives are a black man and
a white woman.
Judge James B. McMillan.
Protestors march in front of Judge McMillan's home.