In July 1960, Charlotte’s Park and Recreation Commission enacted an official policy of desegregation in the city’s parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, and recreation centers. This development, which resulted in the first integrated municipal swimming pool in the state of North Carolina, seemed to embody the progressive business-centric ethos of Charlotte’s white elite. While token desegregation was lauded by commentators as evidence of Charlotte’s progressive race relations, the reality was far more complex. During the majority of the twentieth century, the Commission utilized a series of putatively moderate methods to suppress black dissent and muffle white reaction in the city. Even after de jure segregation crumbled, de facto segregation remained largely intact. This form of exclusion was buttressed by discriminatory public policies that redistributed black tax dollars to white communities, spatial segregation that insulated middle-and upper-class white neighborhoods from African Americans, and police harassment that fractured militant Black Power organizations. The persistence of these factors disempowered black residents in distinctive ways, perpetuating poverty and insecurity. Although modes of white reaction in Charlotte were less vivid than massive resistance or the violence found in other southern locales, the effects of these seemingly banal policies were remarkably similar.