Saturday, December 23, 2017


by Cash Michaels
contributing writer 

            It was the year of recovering from the 2016 election of Donald Trump; when a Democratic governor came into office in North Carolina, bitterly opposed by GOP lawmakers; and a prominent black leader gained national prominence as he stepped away from the NCNAACP.
            Those were just some of the top stories impacting North Carolina’s African-American community we covered in 2017. In Part Two of this three part series, we look back at April to July.
April -  Concerns grow among HBCU leaders when Pres. Trumo’s proposed budget doesn’t reflect promises he made to appropriate more funding to them. In fact, some funding is cut. Conservative federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, a Trump nominee, is sworn-in as an associate justice to the US Supreme Court, retuning the high court to a 5-4 conservative majority. The International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro files a complaint against Duke Energy after the utility cuts off its power.
May Winston-Salem Chronicle founder and publisher Ernie Pitt official steps down. Donny Williams becomes Wilmington’s first African-American deputy police chief. Rev. William Barber announces that he is “transitioning” from the presidency of the NCNAACP in June to co-lead the national Poor People’s Campaign. In the meantime, Barber blast the UNC Board of Governors for threatening to close the UNC Center for Civil Rights, saying that it has no business litigating cases. The US Supreme Court upholds a 2016 ruling by an appellate court striking North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law down because it suppressed the black vote. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman announces candidacy for the NCNAACP presidency. Gov. Cooper calls for a special session of the NC legislature to redraw its 2011 redistricting maps after the US Supreme Court agrees that they are unconstitutional.
June -  There is concern that Trump Administration budget cuts  to federal anti-poverty programs could profoundly hurt North Carolina for the next decade. GOP legislative leaders reject Gov. Copper’s call to go into special session to redraw the 2011 redistricting maps declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. Two black US Capitol Police officers thwart a mass assassination attempt by a lone gunman during a softball practice in Alexandria, Va.. One of the officers was an alumnus of North Carolina Central University. NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber is asked to stay on until the October elections, and he agrees. Gov. Cooper veto’s the Republican-led legislature’s compromise $23 billion budget, and blasts them not funding the African-American Heritage Monument Project for the Capitol grounds.
July -  US Rep. Alma Adams says Republican NC legislative leaders “don’t give a damn about citizens.” Raleigh-Apex NAACP Pres. Rev. Portia Rochelle announces that she is also running for state NAACP president. Freedom Monument project is in limbo after lawmakers fail to fund it in their budget. The NCNAACP blasts Pres. Trump’s nomination of Raleigh GOP Attorney Thomas Farr, who has defended the NC Republican Party in the voter ID case, and also worked for the late Sen. Jesse Helms. Hearings begin before a federal three-judge panel about whether the 2011 redistricting lines for North Carolina  should be redrawn, and special elections scheduled. The judicial panel rules that the maps must be redrawn by Sept. 1st.
[In Part Three, August to December 2017]


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Even though 2018 is literally just a few days away, Oct. 1, 2020 still seems to be  long way down the road. And yet, if you to board a commercial airliner, or enter a secure federal facility like s courthouse or military base, officials say now is the time to know all about getting what’s known as a REAL ID.
            Issued by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, the REAL ID is a state government identification card mandated by Congress in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where airplanes were used hijacked and used to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
            If you do not have a REAL ID by Oct. 1st, 2020, you will be required to show a passport in order to board a plane, or a US Dept. of Defense identification, or one of at least a dozen ID’s listed at the federal website of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s website at
            Military bases, like Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg, will require REAL IDs  as of Jan. 22, 1918. Currently, two forms of valid identification are already required to enter a military facility.
             Thus, the need for a REAL ID, which looks very much like your driver’s license, except for a gold star in the right-hand corner. An estimated four million North Carolinians are expected to get their REAL IDs by Oct. 1, 2020, so DMV officials are getting the word out now to prevent a crush of long lines at the 113 DMV offices statewide, getting closer to the deadline.
            To obtain a REAL ID, three types of documentation are needed.
            One should either be your birth certificate indicating US citizenship, or your US passport. If your name is currently different from that which is listed because of marriage or divorce, then a marriage certificate or divorce decree is then needed.
            Then, you need a document which displays your Social Security number, like  pay stub or W-2 form.
            Finally, you’ll need a document that proves your North Carolina residency, like current unexpired driver’s license. The full list of documents needed to apply for a REAL ID are found at
            Please note that a REAL ID is separate from your driver’s license, which you are still required to renew. The REAL ID costs $40.00, and can be gotten at the same time you are renewing your driver’s license, as long as you do so before Oct. 1, 2020. Or you can get it before Oct. 1, 2020. You can get your REAL ID by appointment.
            And no, children below the age of 18 are not required to have REAL IDs, but the adults they’re traveling with do.
            Please go to for more.



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