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- David Goldfield lecture, circa 1991
David Goldfield lecture, circa 1991
In this 1991 lecture, "A Southern Century," UNC Charlotte history professor Dr. David Goldfield discusses the changing social and economic status of the American South in the twentieth century. Setting the context for the growth that took shape in the South from the 1960s onwards, Dr. Goldfield contrasts the economic, industrial and cultural domination of the great Northeastern and Midwestern cities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with the American South, which was economically stressed, largely rural in character, dominated by small towns, and socially regressive. It was not until the post World War II period and the decline of Northeastern and Midwestern urban centers that the South experienced a boom in its population and service economy. While addressing the South as a whole region and generalizing the trend of Southern economic expansion, Dr. Goldfield often draws attention to Charlotte's position within this narrative as a New South City, noting in particular Charlotte's growing diversity, sprawling suburban and "outtown" growth, and amenities which made the city attractive to corporations seeking new branch locations. In particular he mentions Charlotte's international airport and urban university in addition to accessible natural and cultural amenities. Dr. Goldfield closes his lecture on a note of hope that the lessons learned during the civil rights era will continue to improve racial and economic disparities in order to allow the South to become the next great American region.