Harvey Bernard Gantt is an architect and former politician from Charleston, South Carolina. He has served on the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council, the Democratic National Committee, and the National Capital Planning Commission. In 1961, Gantt attended Iowa State University. After one year of study, he returned to South Carolina and soon afterwards sued to enter racially segregated Clemson University. On January 16, 1963, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Clemson to admit Gantt who became its first African American student. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Clemson with honors in 1965. In 1970, Gantt earned a M.A. in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mr. Gantt served as a Principal Partner of Gantt Huberman Architects from 1971 to 2012. In 1971 hecollaborated with civil rights activist Floyd B. McKissick to design Soul City, North Carolina, an experimental interracial community in eastern North Carolina. Mr. Gantt has extensive experience in construction, both nonresidential and residential and broad knowledge of developing trends in selection and use of construction materials by owners and architects on major projects.
In 1974 Gantt’s political career began with his appointment to the Charlotte City Council to fill the seat vacated by Fred Alexander, the council’s only black member. While on the council, he encouraged black voting and reformed the process of electing city council members. In 1983
Gantt was nominated as the Democratic candidate for mayor and elected as Charlotte’s first and, to date, only black mayor. He won the election with 52% of the overall vote and 36% of the white vote and then served a four-year term as mayor.
In recognition of his experience in urban planning and design, the President of the United States appointed him to serve as a chair from 1994 to 1999 of the National Capital Planning Commission, a United States government agency that provides planning guidance for the District of Columbia and the region surrounding the nation’s capital. Gantt has also received awards from the Charlotte branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Leadership Charlotte in 2006. He has also received honorary degrees from Belmont Abbey College, Johnson C. Smith University, and Clemson University.He currently serves as Member of the Board of Directors of Foundation of The Carolinas.
Harvey Gantt lives with his wife Cindy in Charlotte and they have four children: Sonja, Erika, Angela, and Adam.