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Charlotte, NC

The Global Evolution of a New South City

William Graves

Publication Year: 2010

The rapid evolution of Charlotte, North Carolina, from “regional backwater” to globally ascendant city provides stark contrasts of then and now. Once a regional manufacturing and textile center, Charlotte stands today as one of the nation’s premier banking and financial cores with interests reaching broadly into global markets. Once defined by its biracial and bicultural character, Charlotte is now an emerging immigrant gateway drawing newcomers from Latin America and across the globe. Once derided for its sleepy, nine-to-five “uptown,” Charlotte’s center city has been wholly transformed by residential gentrification, corporate headquarters construction, and amenity-based redevelopment. And yet, despite its rapid transformation, Charlotte remains distinctively southern—globalizing, not yet global.

This book brings together an interdisciplinary team of leading scholars and local experts to examine Charlotte from multiple angles. Their topics include the banking industry, gentrification, boosterism, architecture, city planning, transit, public schools, NASCAR, and the African American and Latino communities. United in the conviction that the experience of this Sunbelt city—center of the nation’s fifth-largest metropolitan area—offers new insight into today’s most pressing urban and suburban issues, the contributors to Charlotte, NC: The Global Evolution of a New South City ask what happens when the external forces of globalization combine with a city’s internal dynamics to reshape the local structures, landscapes, and identities of a southern place.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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p. vii

Charlotte, NC: The Global Evolution of a New South City has truly been a collaborative enterprise, and the editors wish to express their deepest thanks to the book’s author team for their contributions and dedication to this project...


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pp. viii-x

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Introduction. From Mill Town to Financial Capital: Charlotte’s Global Evolution

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pp. 1-9

Charlotte, North Carolina, is not a “global city.”1 It is, however, a globalizing one. In less than four decades, Charlotte has transformed itself...

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A Place to Come To

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pp. 10-23

In November 1986 the Southern Historical Association (SHA) held its annual convention in Charlotte. Comprised primarily of academics who either teach southern history or teach at southern institutions,...

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Searching for Respect: From “New South” to “World Class” at the Crossroads of the Carolinas

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pp. 24-49

One way to tell that you’re from Buffalo,” the New York Times informed readers in 2000, “is that half of your friends moved to Charlotte, N.C., and the other half went to Raleigh.”1 This gloomy joke that made...

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Red Dust and Dynamometers: Charlotte as Memory and Knowledge Community in NASCAR

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pp. 50-86

On June 19, 1949, the Charlotte Speedway hosted NASCAR’s first official race of “strictly stock” cars, serving as the inaugural event for a division that ultimately grew into the prominent Sprint Cup Series...

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Blending Southern Culture and International Finance: The Construction of a Global Money Center

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pp. 87-101

Two trillion dollars. The number, without additional scale, has little meaning. Two trillion dollars is roughly equal to the GNP of China and Canada combined. The number also approximates the total...

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Beyond Local Markets: The Export Performance and Challenges of Charlotte Manufacturers

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pp. 102-118

The manufacturing sector has long been viewed as a catalyst for economic growth in the southern United States. For the past several decades, states, counties, and cities have regarded the manufacturing...

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A Place for Old Mills in a New Economy: Textile Mill Reuse in Charlotte

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pp. 119-140

Textile mill reuse builds tangible bridges between Charlotte’s old nineteenth- and twentieth-century and new twenty-first-century economies. The place-defining continuity inherent in renewed functions...

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Banking on the Neighborhood: Corporate Citizenship and Revitalization in Uptown Charlotte

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pp. 141-159

The good private or corporate citizen is imbued with [a] sense of charity —[a] sense of improving life for others while at the same time improving life for oneself.”1 Corporate citizenship comes in many forms....

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Developing a Typology of African American Neighborhoods in the American South: The Case of Charlotte

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pp. 160-188

African American neighborhoods of southern cities grew at a slower pace, from more varied spatial foundations, and under different social, economic, and historic conditions than did black neighborhoods...

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Development and the Politics of School Desegregation and Resegregation

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pp. 189-219

These statements by two of Charlotte’s most preeminent business executives have been widely echoed by numerous other civic leaders as well as by virtually every journalist and scholar (including me) who has written...

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Centers and Edges: The Confusion of Urban and Suburban Paradigms in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Development Patterns

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pp. 220-246

The discussions in this chapter focus on two dichotomous types of urbanism within Charlotte, North Carolina, and its hinterland, and on the forces that create these distinct urban environments....

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Salad-bowl Suburbs: A History of Charlotte’s East Side and South Boulevard Immigrant Corridors

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pp. 247-262

A surprising new residential pattern seems to be taking shape in American cities. Historically, dating back to the nineteenth century, newly arrived immigrants clustered in tight-packed inner-city neighborhoods,...

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Mi Reina: Latino Landscapes in the Queen City (Charlotte, N.C.)

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pp. 263-283

It is late morning on a Thursday and I stop into a small convenience store to purchase an agua fresca (fruit-juice drink); I walk out with my drink in hand and a Club de Fútbol América cap...

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Epilogue: Charlotte at the Globalizing Crossroads

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pp. 284-289

In his 1941 landmark book, The Mind of the South, W. J. Cash probed the intellectual and sociological roots of the New South.1 Over the course of his analysis, Cash dismissed the importance and place of urbanization...


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pp. 291-296


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pp. 297-310

E-ISBN-13: 9780820343938
E-ISBN-10: 0820335614
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820335612
Print-ISBN-10: 0820335614

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 37 b&w photos; 10 maps
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 794413048
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Charlotte, NC

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Charlotte (N.C.) -- Economic conditions.
  • Charlotte (N.C.) -- Social conditions.
  • Social change -- North Carolina -- Charlotte.
  • Urbanization -- North Carolina -- Charlotte.
  • Globalization -- Social aspects -- North Carolina -- Charlotte.
  • City and town life -- North Carolina -- Charlotte.
  • Cities and towns -- Southern States -- Growth -- Case studies.
  • Social change -- Southern States -- Case studies.
  • Globalization -- Social aspects -- Southern States -- Growth -- Case studies.
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