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Thu, 01.14.1943

Harvey Gantt, Architect, and Politician born

Harvey Gantt

*Harvey Gantt was born on this date in 1943. He is a Black architect and politician.

Harvey Bernard Gantt was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to Wilhelminia and Christopher C. Gantt, a shipyard worker. He started to participate in the American Civil Rights movement in high school. In 1963, he was the first Black student at Clemson University in South Carolina. He received a degree in architecture with Honors from Clemson and a master's degree in City Planning from MIT.

From 1974 until 1983, Gantt served on the Charlotte City Council. He was elected twice as the first Black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, serving in that position from 1983 to 1987. In 1990, Gantt ran for a Senate seat in North Carolina as a Democrat against the incumbent, Republican Jesse Helms. Gantt avoided the issue of race instead of attacking Helms's record on jobs, education, and health care. Gantt lost the election by 47% to 53%. He ran against Helms again in 1996, but he lost again with 46% of the vote.

He manages a successful architectural practice, Gantt Huberman Architects, and remains active in politics. Gannt served on the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council and the Democratic National Committee and was appointed as chair of the National Capital Planning Commission in Washington, DC. In 2009, the Afro-American Cultural Center and the City of Charlotte honored Gantt by building the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, recognizing his contributions to the civil rights movement and as the city's first black mayor.

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