Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' MLK Holiday fallout

By Steve Crump - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV)-On the day that Charlotte celebrates the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday, CMS is planning to hold classes.

State representative Kelly Alexander Jr. doesn't agree with the decision.

"This sends a message of insensitivity," he said.

The message comes in a environment where Charlotte is at the bottom of the barrel nationally when it comes to interracial trust.

Tom Hanchett and staffers at the Levine Museum of the New South are installing the last pieces of its Courage Exhibit, which deals with community issues of racial trust

"A lot of people don't know the history here. It's easy to be tone deaf," Hanchett said. "People are looking for is respect, and our history unfortunately is one of not enough respect."

Dianne English has spent years studying social capital and racial trust issues in Charlotte, and understands how and why questions over the King Holiday are becoming a lightning rod issue.

She said, "For some people it is value piece. For some people it is a real line in the sand."

Reverend Ricky Woods of First Baptist West says fences need to be mended.

"We have a lot of work to do in this community and we have to find ways of getting people to the table who take seriously this issue of building trust in the community," Woods said.

Classes this coming Monday may be a temporary inconvenience, but those familiar with community issues worry that the sting will not go away easily or overnight, according to Alexander.

"We just know if you do enough insensitive things. You end up at a point of where it's almost impossible to repair relations."

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