Greenwood argues that concepts of race and class changed significantly in the late nineteenth century. Documenting the rise of interracial social reform movements in the 1880s, she suggests that the black and white "better classes" briefly created an alternative vision of race relations. But this alliance disintegrated under the pressures of New South politics and the rise of a new generation of leaders, leaving a bittersweet legacy for Charlotte that would weigh heavily on its citizens well into the twentieth century. Bittersweet Legacy paints a surprisingly complex portrait of race and class relations in the New South and demonstrates the impact of personal relationships, generational shifts, and the interplay of local, state, and national events in shaping the responses of black and white southerners to each other and the world around them. Bittersweet Legacy is the dramatic story of the relationship between two generations of black and white southerners in Charlotte, North Carolina, from 1850 to 1910 - a time usually characterized as racially antagonistic. Janette Greenwood describes the interactions between black and white business and professional people - the "better classes," as they called themselves. The black members of this class were born in slavery and educated in freedmen's schools; they came of age in the 1880s with high expectations of being full-fledged members of New South society. They defined themselves against what they called the "masses" of the black community, and their alliance with their white counterpart helped shape their outlook.