Did you know that the first black student to enroll at Clemson University also became the first black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina?
Harvey Gantt was born and raised in segregated Charleston, South Carolina. Gantt’s high school advisor challenged him to apply for admission to an all-white institution, but South Carolina at the time would pay for black students to go to institutions out-of-state if there was not a black college that offered the program in-state. Gantt spent some time at Iowa State University before he decided to try and transfer to Clemson to be closer to home.
After suing to be admitted to Clemson, Gantt won and soon after enrolled at Clemson in 1963. In addition to graduating with honors, Gantt also met his wife, Lucinda, who was the first black woman to enroll at Clemson. After graduation, Gantt went on to receive his M.A. in city planning from M.I.T and started an architecture firm.
Later in his career, Gantt also became the first black mayor of Charlotte and ran for U.S. Senate twice.
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Learn more about Harvey Gantt from Carolina Stories: The Education of Harvey Gantt.