) -- Perhaps the exhilaration surrounding the election of the first black president will be restored next month by a historic juxtaposition, when Barack Obama will be renominated nine blocks from the last meeting of the full Confederate cabinet.
Charlotte is a city of the New South today, its downtown vibrant and filled with skyscrapers, corporate headquarters, museums, upscale restaurants and professional sports facilities. That is the city Obama selected as the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which will take place during the week of Sept. 3.
While few Civil War battles were fought in North Carolina, the war's closing in April 1865 brought a focus on North Carolina and Charlotte, a small town with a few thousand residents. The second surrender of Confederate troops, following the April 9 Appomattox surrender, was in Durham. The last full meeting of the Confederate cabinet occurred on April 26, 1865, in a planter's home near downtown Charlotte.
That April, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet fled Richmond. They reached Greensboro by train and mounted horses. Accompanied by cavalry and wagon trains, they continued south to Charlotte, arriving April 18. Eight days later, following the last full cabinet meeting, they departed for South Carolina. For a week and one day, Charlotte was the Confederacy's de facto capital. Thus it is sometimes referred to as "the Last Capital of the Confederacy."
Few remnants of the Confederate legacy exist today. The one most likely to be noticed by convention visitors is a plaque embedded in the sidewalk on South Tryon Street near Fourth Street. The plaque states: "Jefferson Davis was standing here when informed of Lincoln's death. April 18, 1865." A second plaque, on North Tryon Street between Phifer Avenue and 10th Street, commemorates the final cabinet meetings, between April 22 and April 26
The plaques, like the sites of the two homes occupied by the widow of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, are all within blocks of Time Warner Cable Arena, the convention site, and of Bank of America Stadium, where Obama will give his acceptance speech.
In the century and a half since the Civil War ended, Charlotte remade itself. Downtown is home to the headquarters of
Bank of America
(BAC - Get Report)
(DUK - Get Report)
, the Levine Museum of the New South, two new art museums and the Nascar Hall of Fame. The city is also the largest, most profitable hub for