Manuscript Collections

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee Records, 1960-1969
Records of a committee established in 1961 by the mayor of Charlotte to help ease racial tensions and to assist in the gradual desegregation of public facilities. Includes correspondence, minutes, and clippings relating to the committee and its predecessor, the Friendly Relations Committee. Also contains material from state and national groups, including the North Carolina Mayor's Cooperating Committee, North Carolina Good Neighbor Council, National Citizens Committee for Community Relations, and the United States Conference of Mayors Committee on Community Relations. The collection is organized by committee. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee was first established by Mayor James Saxon Smith as the Mayor's Friendly Relationship Committee in 1960. The committee was formed in response to sit-in demonstrations at lunch counters led by Johnson C. Smith students in uptown Charlotte on February 12, 1960, which were organized to push Charlotte restaurants to desegregate and serve both black and white patrons. Mayor Smith established the committee to facilitate dialog between protestors and restauranteurs, who were able to come to an agreement and integrate many of Charlotte's restaurants in the early 1960s. Mayor Stanford R. Brookshire (1961-1969) broadened the scope of the committee to include issues of housing, education, equal opportunities for work, crime, and the impact of segregation on communities, and changed the name of the committee to the Mayor's Community Relations Committee in 1961. The committee's name changed again in 1969 to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee to reflect the broader membership through appointments by the chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee is composed of 60 members who are appointed for three-year terms. The appointments are made by the mayor of Charlotte and the chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. The Committee's responsibilities include studying problems in the areas of human and community relations and promoting the quality of opportunity for all citizens. The collection is arranged in five series: I. Mayor's Friendly Relations Committee. II. Mayor's Community Relations Committee. III. North Carolina Organizations. IV. National Organizations. V. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee. Series V was not digitized as part of this project. The finding aid for the collection is available here:
Margaret Whitton Ray Papers, 1972-1974
Papers of Margaret Whitton Ray, who formed the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) in November 1973 to develop pupil assignment guidelines for integrating Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools as an alternative to the more conservative integration plan proposed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg school administrators. The group's 25 members were selected by their school "feeder area" or civic organization to speak to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education concerning their views on pupil assignment. Organizing itself into an advisory group to the Board of Education and its staff, CAG adopted a set of guidelines, which were presented to the U.S. District Court in May 1974. A compromise of the CAG and School Board plans was eventually accepted by U.S. District Court Judge James B. McMillan, who oversaw Charlotte-Mecklenburg school integration following the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The collection includes clippings, correspondence, findings and recommendations, reports, worksheets, notes, the CAG plan for pupil reassignment, and the joint proposal for school assignment that was ultimately approved. The finding aid for the Margaret Whitton Ray papers is available here: