Past Mayors

James Saxon Smith (1957-1961)

Public Service:
Smith served one term on the City Council before being elected as the Mayor of Charlotte.

Smith was a brush manufacturer.


During his Administration:

            Photo of James Smith
  • City and County schools were consolidated.
  • Sit-ins occurred at uptown lunch counters demonstrating against segregation.
  • The Civil Rights Act was signed on August 29, 1957 which prohibited interfering with the right to vote.
  • In September, 1957, four black students tested local laws against school segregation.
  • The first of a series of bank mergers occurred. The mergers ultimately led to today's Bank of America and Wachovia/Wells Fargo Corporation.
  • The first section of I-85 opens in Mecklenburg County in 1958.
  • A 1959 annexation under a new state law almost doubled the population of Charlotte.
  • Senator John F. Kennedy campaigned for President in Charlotte in 1959.
  • On October 28, 1959 the first enclosed retail shopping mall opened in the Carolinas. It's name was the Charlottetowne Mall (the mall has since been torn down to make way for the Greenway and a new residential and commercial area).