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The Project

In the decades following World War II, Charlotte was transformed from a textile town to a center of finance with a rate of growth that was exceptional, far outpacing most of the rest of the country: among U.S. cities, Charlotte’s rank in population went from 90th in 1940 to 35th in 1990. This era encompasses not only an incredible economic expansion, but also the rise of intentional city planning, the civil rights movement, urban renewal projects that demolished African American neighborhoods, and radical reforms in the structure of municipal governance.

Indeed, the interrelatedness of the realms of economic development, transportation, land use, and social relations is nowhere more evident than in the postwar history of Charlotte, as crystallized in the struggle over desegregation in education. The nation’s eyes were on Charlotte when the landmark Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education ruling on busing for desegregation was decided in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971. Cities throughout the state and country were affected by the decision, which pushed them to initiate busing to achieve desegregation in education.

Partnering with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room and the Inez Moore Parker Archives at Johnson C. Smith University, J. Murrey Atkins Library is leading Living Charlotte, a project to digitize materials including audio oral history recordings, municipal city planning and development materials, and the legal and personal papers of key individuals in the civil rights and desegregation movements.

Free Digitization Consulting Services Available
Contact us to schedule no-cost onsite consulting services for cultural heritage digitization projects. Our Digitization Project Librarian is available to travel to your institution to share knowledge and workflows that can be adapted to libraries, archives, and museums throughout NC, even those with minimal budgets for digitization. These services are offered only through June, 2016, as part of our Living Charlotte digitization project, funded by IMLS's LSTA program as administered by the State Library of NC.

For more information, contact Rita Johnston, Digitization Project Librarian, (704) 687-1431,