The North Carolina Way: Civil Rights and Wrongs in the Twentieth Century

The North Carolina Way: Civil Rights and Wrongs in the Twentieth Century

For much of the twentieth century, North Carolina enjoyed a reputation as the most progressive state in the American South. In 1949, the preeminent political scientist V. O. Key labeled the state a progressive plutocracy and praised its leaders for following a relatively moderate path in support of public education, economic development, and harmonious race relations. Ironically, by the end of the century, many scholars referred to NC’s reputation as a “progressive myth,” especially in the area of civil rights. Several critics suggested that it was the least changed of the old Confederate states. How should we view the history of civil rights in NC? Dr. Karl Campbell provides an overview of Tar Heel race relations from the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 to the 2001 court ruling ending busing in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.

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