From what I can see so far, Charlotte seems like a nice place. I was particularly impressed by the light rail line that runs from the southern suburbs into the city, and wish to hell I'd known about it before I tried to drive into town yesterday afternoon.
Charlotte's most promiment role in recent American history wasn't exactly a soothing one--it was the center of one of the most heated school desegregation battles we had in the 1960s and 70s. The 1971 Supreme Court decision in support of forced busing emanated from Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, and it's a huge landmark moment in the creation of our polarized nation.
The Wiki summary here is good, and you can go read other sources if you'd like. But the whole thing was ugly. I have criticized busing myself as liberal overreach and a remedy that was bound to inspire backlash. Maybe those of you who were alive in those days can help me tell our readers who weren't just how incendiary an issue busing was.
But it's worth remembering: Busing was implemented as a total last resort. We all know about Brown v. Board of 1954. What most of us don't know is that much of the South totally ignored that precedent. It took many more decisions over the course of the later 50s and 60s before the South grudgingly started to go along and integrate its schools. In Charlotte and elsewhere, black children who were entering first grade the year Brown was decided probably finished high school without ever going to a fully integrated school.
So again, the liberal remedy that makes whites mad didn't just come out of nowhere. It happened because of massive and obdurate resistance to reasonable change. And today? Schools are basically resegregated, thanks to conservative local courts and, since the Seattle-Louisville decision, the Roberts Court.
So that's Charlotte's place in American history.