CHARLOTTE — This has always been a place that has prided itself on order, consensus and a can-do corporate mentality that turned a locale with no real geographic reason to exist into one of the hemisphere’s financial dynamos.
It has also gained a reputation for racial amity, from its nationally recognized commitment to busing and integrated schools in the 1970s and ’80s, to the election of Harvey Gantt in 1983 as one of the South’s first prominent black mayors.
But the fatal police shooting on Tuesday of a black resident, Keith Lamont Scott, and the protests that have followed are among numerous bumps and jolts that have shaken Charlotte’s sense of itself recently as it emerged from a successful small city to a more complicated larger one.
After decades in which it willed itself to big-city status, Charlotte in the last decade has had to grapple with a host of big-city problems, including a corruption scandal that brought down a mayor, a recession that shook the banking industry to its foundations, a previous fatal police shooting of a black man in 2013 that sent angry residents into the streets and, this year, a high-profile culture war with the state legislature over an anti-discrimination ordinance.
There has also been a growing realization here of the depths of poverty that have come to coexist alongside the comfortable New South reality enjoyed by the city’s business class.
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