Feb. 24, 2015
Bob Morgan went to school in Charlotte. His calling of place names and schoolhouse names and the legendary educators who helped shaped him drew smiles from the smallish Forum audience that braved Tuesday’s light snow to hear the president of the Charlotte Chamber.
He spoke, in a way that many white leaders addressing the Forum do not, about the need for newcomers to Charlotte and the South to understand issues of race and how they have shaped the community.
And while those who listen to the videos below from his visit at the Forum may take away some of what Morgan seemed to espouse in terms of sharing the history of this place, that has not been the Chamber’s strength for the last three decades as it fostered the massive in-migration that has created today’s Charlotte. Observers will judge in the future whether this visit marks a new path for their town’s chamber of commerce.
That in-migration, Morgan says, is about half African-American, and includes many young people who see Charlotte as a destination city. His talk focused on how the chamber is encouraging its business members – and itself – to create ways to remain relevant to this diversifying population.
Below are two videos of Morgan’s presentation, then two more of the Q&A that followed.
Presentation part 1
Presentation part 2
Q: How optimistic or disappointed are you by the number of African-American businesses that have become part of the Chamber?
Q: In most cities, light rail to the airport is built first. Why was Charlotte’s south line built first?
Q: Heath Morrison was said to be unable to get corporate support for a community discussion about race. How do you feel about that?
Q: What can we do to create blue-collar jobs, and increase economic mobility for for all?
Q: How do you improve education without first acknowledging the damage that’s been done to African-Americans?
Q: CIAA visitors think Charlotte is price-gouging at hotels and restaurants. What impact will that have on our city?
Q: Conversations about race occur among professionals but not among grass-roots people. I hope you’ll consider supporting a conversation among the grass-roots.
Q: I’ve been here since 1971 and I’m worried about Charlotte. Does Chamber have a role in making the city work for everyone?
Q: What can Chamber do to make more African-Americans stakeholders (i.e., business owners)?