A Day for Reflection - | WBTV Charlotte

A Day for Reflection

By Steve Crump - bio l email
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Compelling stories came on this day from three individuals linked to the same struggle as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Former Mayor Harvey Gantt worries that not enough information is being shared with a younger generation.
Gantt said, " I am so concerned that the young people in this room don't get a clear message where we have come from as a people and they need to hear these stories."
Gantt, Dorothy Counts Scoggins, and State Representative Kelly Alexander Jr. reflected on their contributions at a Center City round table discussion.
According to Alexander, the holiday pays tribute to efforts of a civil rights leader, but it is also a time to recognize the unseen foot soldiers.
"This is a day that not only lifts up Martin Luther King, but it also lifts up so many people who struggled in the 30's and 40's and so many names have been lost to history."
It has been more than 53 years since Dorothy Counts took those first brave steps at Harding High School.
"This was a time to test the law, and my family was willing to test the law and because of what we believed," she said.
Believing in a better day did carry its risks.
During1965, the home of Kelly Alexander was bombed in an act of domestic terrorism.
The case was never solved, and more than years after the fact Alexander is concerned that yesterdays lessons of intolerance can rear its ugly head.
" I am terribly afraid that we embrace ignorance too much. We allow ourselves to deal with the lowest common denominator, even in popular culture, he said."
But in 1963, it was a culture of inequality. Gantt had to fight his way through the court to become the first of his race to attend Clemson University.
He credits this civil rights leader for raising the bar of expectation for those who were systematically disenfranchised.
"We had heard enough indoctrination from our parents to know that we were some body, and the time has come for things to change," Gantt said.
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