Gantt, speaking at a press conference in Charlotte, praised Perdue's commitment to health care and the environment, reports Peter St. Onge of The Charlotte Observer.
"Most importantly," said Gantt, "we need a leader who understands North Carolina values, who understands what families are talking about when they sit down at the kitchen table."
The endorsement from one of N.C.'s revered black political figures should help Perdue build on her already healthy support from the state's African-Americans, including an endorsement from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Political Caucus.
Perdue, who said she considered Gantt "one of North Carolina's great heroes," said she remembered being proud to watch Gantt in his unsuccessful U.S. Senate runs in the 1990s against then Sen. Jesse Helms.
"In rural North Carolina, this urbanite, well-educated, sophisticated guy could sit at anybody's table and relate," Perdue said. "He still remains one of the great political leaders."