North Carolina Humanities Council Awards Harvey Gantt Highest Honor

North Carolina Humanities Council Awards Harvey Gantt Highest Honor

North Carolina Humanities Council trustees have selected Harvey Gantt as the recipient of the 2015 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, the Council’s most prestigious public humanities honor. The award recognizes Gantt for his lifelong achievements as an advocate for the public humanities across North Carolina. The Caldwell Award ceremony will be held on October 15, 2015, at the Mint Museum in Uptown, Charlotte at 6:00 pm. A reception will follow at the Harvey Gantt Center. The events are free and open to the public. RSVP is required due to space limitation.

Harvey Gantt is a trailblazer champion for civil rights, respected nationally for his position in education, health care, the environment, and for his vision for improving the quality of life for all citizens. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Gantt participated in civil rights activism in high school and was the first African-American student to attend Clemson University where he graduated with honors in architecture in 1965. He received a Masters of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1970 and soon after began his political career, serving on Charlotte City Council from 1974 until 1983, and as Charlotte’s first African-American Mayor for two successive terms, from 1983 to 1987, challenging Charlotte’s role on planning, revitalization of the inner city, housing, and managed growth.

Gantt’s activism does not stop in the political arena; he is also an avid advocate in his field, architecture, encouraging architects nationally to use their creative skills to address the critical social and public policy issues that impact the urban environment. Gantt Huberman Architects, the architectural firm he co-founded with Jeff Huberman, has won numerous awards and is a part of many significant public projects around Charlotte, including the Charlotte Transportation Center, ImaginOn children's museum, and UNC Charlotte's Center City Building.

A tireless public servant, Gantt holds active board membership in education, cultural, civic, and business organizations. He has served for over a decade on the board of Nucor Corporation and currently serves on the Boards of the Foundation for the Carolinas, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, YMCA of Greater Charlotte, and Chair of Charlotte Center City Partners. He was past chairman of the Foundation for the Carolinas, and past president of Crisis Assistance Ministry.

Because of his great impact throughout North Carolina, in 2009, the Afro-American Cultural Center in Charlotte was named the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture. When Gantt spoke of this honor he said:

“When it was first proposed that this building be named after me, I hesitated. Being a man of tradition, I always felt it was more appropriate to name a building or street for someone after their passing, as a way to honor their work…After much processing and discussion with my wife, Cindy, the prevailing factor that led me to say "yes" was that it was for the sake of posterity. I envisioned walking into the building with my grandchildren and had thoughts of others doing the same with future generations. I saw them talking about the sacrifices of many who made Charlotte great, and the enormous history and accomplishments of the African American community. And I remembered my parents and others who served as inspirations to me. I am forever grateful to them for being the driving force and motivation in my life.” (

Gantt is married to the former Lucinda Brawley and they have four children.