A native of Charleston, South Carolina Gantt became the first black to enter the previously all-white Clemson University in South Carolina. He graduated with honors in 1965. Later he earned a master's in city planning at MIT and returned to Charlotte to establish Gantt Huberman Architects. Gantt had two unsuccessful attempts to unseat U.S. Senator Jesse Helms.
During his Administration:
- Charlotte/ Douglas International Airport completed the construction of their new 10,000 foot runway.
- November 1, 1987 the daily afternoon paper, The Charlotte News, ceased publication.
- On March 15, 1986 the Afro-American Cultural Center opened in the old Little Rock AME Zion Church on the edge of First Ward.
- Shalom Park, a new Jewish Community Center was dedicated on May 18, 1986.
- The location of the Charlotte Coliseum was decided. The facility was placed on City-owned land on an extension of Tyvola Road.