- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Civil Rights and Desegregation in Charlotte
- Margaret Alexander oral history interview 1, 2001 April 30
Margaret Alexander oral history interview 1, 2001 April 30
Margaret Alexander, civil rights activist and wife of civil rights pioneer Kelly Alexander Sr., discusses her involvement in Charlotte's civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s as a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch of the NAACP. She describes her experiences growing up in the First Ward neighborhood and living in a segregated city. After her marriage to Kelly Alexander in 1946 Mrs. Alexander took on the role of his personal assistant, usually working behind the scenes to push out mailings, make arrangements for civil rights leaders to visit Charlotte, and organize voter drives, among other activities. She reflects on the tireless efforts of the NAACP to support school integration after the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision in 1954, and on the frustration felt over the intransigence of the local school board to approve assignments of black children to white schools. Mrs. Alexander also describes the horrific bomb attack on the Alexander home in 1965 when it was targeted along with the homes of three other civil rights activists, and she notes the outpouring of sympathy that followed. Although she was aware of more militant civil rights activism in Charlotte, Mrs. Alexander sees the NAACP as the major player in bringing about social change in the city over the long term. She describes Kelly Alexander Sr.'s central role in this achievement, depicting him as a leader who consistently challenged segregation and inequality in areas including education, politics, recreation, and public accommodations, and who worked through civil discourse to attain his goals.