Monday, March 25, 2019


                                                    ADAMS                  BUTTERFIELD

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            African-American members of Congress – many of whom are leaning strongly for the impeachment of President Donald Trump – have joined their Democratic colleagues in demanding the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged Russian interference into the 2016 presidential campaign, and the Trump campaign’s suspected collusion with Russian operatives to do so.
            Both of North Carolina’s African-American congresspeople – Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1)  - have added their voices to the growing Democratic Congressional chorus to U.S. Attorney General William Barr (a Trump appointee) to release the entire Mueller Report immediately, or face legal subpoenas.
            “This is about trust and transparency,” tweeted Rep. Adams Monday, a day after Barr released a four-page summary conclusion of Mueller’s findings, determining that no evidence of collusion was found, and that Trump, arguably, did obstruct justice during Mueller’s 22-month investigation.
            “AG Barr must listen to the American people,” Rep. Adams continued, “…and #ReleaseTheReport.”
            Her North Carolina colleague agreed.
            “Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation, transparency is paramount,” Congressman G. K. Butterfield tweeted. “It is absolutely  imperative AG Barr expeditiously release the report to Congress and the American people.”
            Indeed, Butterfield and Adams were among the 420 U.S. House members, both Democrat and Republican, who unanimously voted March 21stfor the full Mueller Report to be released.  
            Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the U.S. Senate from even considering a similar measure, even though Pres. Trump told reporters he had no problem releasing the report.
            Two powerful African-American House Democrats – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), chairman of the House Oversight Committee – joined four other House Democratic committee chairs in a March 25thletter to Attorney General Barr, demanding that he turn over the Mueller Report, and all supporting documentation, by April 2nd.
            “Those of us who chair these committees have the responsibility to continue with our oversight,” Rep. Waters told MSNBC Sunday.
            House Democrats are also planning to call Barr and Mueller to testify in congressional hearings to ask key questions they feel have not been satisfied by Barr’s initial summary.
            Even the national NAACP is formally calling for the Mueller Report to be released, saying , “The people of this nation deserve transparency. The integrity of our democracy is at stake. Our country cannot afford anything less than the unvarnished and unedited truth.”
Republicans, in response to the Democratic clamor for release of the full report, say that can’t happen as long as it contains grand jury testimony and classified information. The GOP charges that Democrats are angry because the report “exonerates” Trump on charges of collusion, and that Democrats and the media should be ashamed for “falsely” alleging that the president was guilty of colluding with the Russians.


            [GREENSBORO] Dr. John Marshall Kilimanjaro, publisher of the Carolina Peacemaker, died Wednesday morning after a long illness. He was 88.
            Dr. Kilimanjaro, along with his wife, Vicki, started the Peacemaker in 1967, determined to give Greensboro’s black community a voice in the midst of the civil rights movement, and tremendous change in the South. For 52 years, the Peacemaker has served the Greensboro community. Dr. Kilimanjaro has received many honors throughout the years, including the prestigious Order of the long Leaf Pine.
            Funeral services for Dr. John Marshall Kilimanjaro will be held Friday, 11 a.m. at Temple Emmanuel in Greensboro.

            [WASHINGTON, D.C.] Attorneys for both Republican legislative leaders, and plaintiffs against partisan gerrymandering in drawing voting districts in North Carolina, made their arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. The High Court must decide whether GOP-leaning congressional voting districts, as the NC legislature have been drawing them since 2011, are indeed legal and constitutional, even though they have given Republican 10 of 13 congressional districts; or if having such lop-sided voting districts will always deny Democratic voters there their constitutional right to choose their representation in Congress. A ruling is expected by late summer.

            [GREENSBORO] North Carolina’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy was struck down Monday by a federal judge, saying that the restriction was arbitrary, and denied a woman her constitutional to end an pregnancy before the fetus was viable. The judge, however, stayed his ruling for 60 days to give state lawmakers a chance to either appeal his ruling, or change the law. “"[N]o matter what the state’s legitimate interest in restricting abortion, this interest can never support an outright ban prior to viability," U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen ruled.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            [WILMINGTON] New Hanover Public Schools Supt. Tim Markley’s investigation into how a controversial “Monopoly-like role-playing slavery game,” used by fourth grade teachers in their classrooms is reportedly complete, and while none will lose their jobs because of it, new policies have been put in place to prevent “culturally insensitive” teaching materials from third-party vendors from being used again without carefully review, says a NHC Public Schools spokesperson.
            Controversy erupted over two weeks ago when it was revealed that fourth-grade teachers at majority-white Codington Elementary School used a game titled “Escaping Slavery,” and according to materials that come with the activity, most notably a “Freedom Punch Card,” students indeed assume the role of runaway slaves during the Underground Railroad, and are told on the card, “ …If your group runs into trouble four times, you will be severely punished and sent back to the plantation to work as a slave. Write your name on the back of this card.”
            Among the materials with the game, were illustrations of shackles, and black slave families. 
            A black grandmother complained to a local television about the game, concerned that he grandchild was not being taught appropriately about perhaps the most painful historical period in the lives of most African-Americans.
            She called it “horrifying.”
            NHC School Board Chair Lisa Estep, in a letter to the community, countered an early statement of support for the game by Codington Elementary Principal Graham Elmore, saying that use of the game was not appropriate, and promised that Supt. Markley and his staff would immediately look into it.
            After a March 22ndrequest for comment, NHC Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Ms. Valita Quattlebaum, responded to questions Monday.
         “Dr. Markley’s investigation into the situation has concluded,” she wrote, confirming that the slavery games was only used in the fourth grade at Codington. “The district determined there was no ill will on the part of the teachers, but they did fail to show the cultural competence and sensitivity needed to effectively instruct on the topic of slavery in the U.S. As a result, there are some diversity and equity training programs that will happen throughout the district.”
 “Also, principals are now required to review all third-party teaching materials before they can be used.  The NHCS Instructional Services Department is reviewing guidelines for the use of outside materials in the classroom. NHCS Human Resources is reviewing policies and practices related to onboarding for new staff to ensure that the district is providing the necessary training regarding implicit bias and diversity.”
Who approved the use of the slavery game in the first place?
“This activity was purchased by teachers from a [popular] third-party website and at the time not vetted or approved by the administration,” Ms. Quattlebaumsaid. “The use of the activity was a part of a larger scope of related instruction connected to the Civil War. Going forward, all materials from this third-party website and others must be vetted and approved by the administration of the school.”
Quattlebaum maintains,  “…there was no intent to belittle or trivialize this topic…” adding that “The district intends to improve overall in the teaching methods that are being used in presenting sensitive subject matters…” She also confirmed that schools normally “have flexibility in determining materials to include as a part of their curriculum…”
No rules were broken, but again, new vetting policies are now in place for third-party instructional materials.
And while no one will be disciplined or terminated for their role in the “slavery game” episode, Ms. Quattlebaum says, “…the district intends to provide cultural competency training for all teachers and staff.”
         The NHC NAACP chapter did call for “…a timeline of when the implicit bias and cultural competency training will be implemented,” and also recommended that members of Wilmington’s African-American community be involved.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019


                                                    PRINCIPAL GRAHAM ELMORE

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            While the New Hanover County Public School System investigates the disturbing complaint about a “Monopoly-like role-playing slavery board game ” being used to “teach” children at Codington Elementary School in Wilmington earlier this year, growing questions remain about how school officials there even allowed a fourth-grade teacher to consider employing such a controversial, highly sensitive activity in her classroom.
            The game in question is called, “Escaping Slavery,” and according to materials that come with the “game,” most notably a “Freedom Punch Card,” students indeed assume the role of runaway slaves during the Underground Railroad, and are told on the card, “ …If your group runs into trouble four times, you will be severely punished and sent back to the plantation to work as a slave. Write your name on the back of this card.”
            Among the materials with the game, were illustrations of shackles, and black slave families. 
            Codington Elementary is a majority white school, the only one, thus far, determined to have employed usage of the slavery game in North Carolina.
            There are reports of other slavery-type games that have been used in other schools systems, like in Loudoun County, Virginia in February, that caused a firestorm with parents and the local NAACP, resulting in an apology from the principal.
            Thus far in Wilmington, the principal, who at first defended usage of the slavery game employed there, has not apologized personally, only saying that he agrees with the school board’s mea culpa.
It was an outraged African-American grandmother who went to a local Wilmington television station two weeks complaining that her granddaughter in her fourth-grade class at Codington Elementary was subjected to the “slavery game.”
She said having black children, in particular, to learn about what still is an extremely “painful” part of their heritage, is “…horrifying.”
“Slavery is not a game,” she added.
The grandmother said she did not complain to Codington Elementary’s Principal Graham Elmore, because she feared retaliation against her granddaughter.
Elmore, when contacted by the TV station by email, responded saying, “ ...that fourth grade social studies teachers used the “Monopoly-like game” in January, and it was obtained from the educational website Teachers Pay Teachers,” WECT-TV reported.
            “’The purpose was to play a role to increase interest and enthusiasm for historical events,’ the principal wrote,” the station added. “The teachers wanted to share how the people communicated and worked for change and equality in their communities.”
            Elmore, who noted that “Escaping Slavery” was purchased from a website called “Teachers Pay Teachers” and copyrighted by a company called “Wise Guys,” concluded that at that point, that the school had received “no complaints” from any parents.
            Well that changed immediately after WECT-TV aired its story. Picked up by newspapers and TV stations across the country, New Hanover County Schools soon found itself in yet another embarrassing racial situation it had no real excuse for.
            “[The board] shares the community’s concern over the Black History Month lesson at Codington Elementary School,” read a statement from school Board Chair Lisa Estep. “We understand the stated purpose of the lesson, but we do not believe the strategy of using this game to teach historical facts about a topic as sensitive and painful as slavery was appropriate.”
            School Superintendent  Tim Markley was assigned to investigate, and report back to the board. Estep’s statement also announced that system principals will undergo “cultural competency” training to deal with “implicit bias.”
            The New Hanover NAACP, in a statement, said that the slavery game, “…is a reflection of how the New Hanover School system allows institutional racism to thrive in our children’s classrooms.”
            “The New Hanover County NAACP calls for a timeline of when the implicit bias and cultural competency training will be implemented. The Chapter also requests that representatives of the African American community be involved in the selection of the entity that will do the training.”
There was no indication that there will be any disciplinary action against either the principal or the teachers involved in approving the usage of an activity that board chair admitted was not “appropriate.”

                                                                   CHIEF JUSTICE CHERI BEASLEY

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is expected to appoint a three-judge panel to hear arguments in a December 18, 2018 voter ID lawsuit, stemming from the third legislative Special Session last year where six plaintiffs alleged in a lawsuit against the Republican-led state legislature that its voter photo identification law “…purposefully discriminates against and disproportionally impacts minority voters in of the Equal Protection Clause,” according to the eight decision issued by the court.
            That law was based on a constitutional amendment passed by North Carolina voters during the 2018 November midterm elections, requiring that a voter ID law be established.
            That amendment has been subsequently struck down by a Wake County judge in recent weeks per a lawsuit by the NCNAACP, but that ruling is currently being appealed.
            Meanwhile, the law which was spawned from that voter ID amendment is being challenged on a different legal track.
            The lawsuit also alleges that the new voter ID law :
-      unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote,
-      creates separate classes of voters,
-      imposes a cost on voting, 
-      imposes a property requirement for voting,
-      imposes the ability of voters to engage in political expression and speech, in violation of their Right of Assembly and Petition and Freedom of Speech.
            Not surprisingly, attorneys for the defendants - Republican legislative leaders House Speaker Tim Moore; Senate Pres. Pro tem Phillip Berger; Rep. David Lewis, chair of the House Select Committee on Elections; Sen. Ralph Hise, chair of the Senate Select Committee of Elections; the State Board of Elections and the State of North Carolina  – filed a brief seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, but Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier Jr. ruled on March 13ththat case can proceed.
            Attorney Allison Riggs, Senior Voting Rights Attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, responded to Judge Rozier’s decision  by saying, “We appreciate that the court recognized that the voters who brought their case deserve to have a full hearing in front of a three-judge panel,” said Allison Riggs, Senior Voting Rights Attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “We look forward to representing plaintiffs as they continue to challenge this discriminatory and unconstitutional law.”
            The Republican response to Judge Rozier’s ruling? Last week, the legislature immediately fast tracked Senate Bill 214, which effectively delays implementation of the voter ID law until 2020, provided the current lawsuit doesn’t derail it first.
            Gov. Roy Cooper immediately signed SB 214 into law, primarily to ensure that voter ID is not in force for either the Third Congressional District, or the controversial Ninth Congressional District races, that are scheduled for later this year.
            In a related matter, students attending a dozen UNC System campuses will not be allowed to use their university-issued student IDs to vote during the 2020 elections because they were not approved by the State Board of Elections.


            [WILMINGTON] The New Hanover County Chapter of the National Black Leadership Caucus has asked City Councilman Clifford Barnett Sr. to lead an effort to have Robert Strange Park renamed as “Major General Joseph McNeil Park.” 
Joseph McNeil was not only a civil rights hero but a veteran who served this country well,” the letter from NHC-NBLC President Sonya Patrick stated. “We feel that it would be fitting to have a park named in honor of this historical icon who graduated from Williston Senior High School which was once located right across the street from the park.”
The letter continued, “It is imperative that the youth in our community know that there are African Americans leaders that demonstrated excellence in our community. Furthermore, we feel that this name change would inspire and empower our overall community as well as serve as an attraction for tourists.  This park has been an important part of the African American Community even as far back as 1898 at which time the first black printing press in North Carolina owned by Alex Manly was only five blocks away.”
No word at press time as to what response, if any, Ms. Patrick has received per her letter.


Saturday, March 9, 2019



            [WILMINGTON] Right on the heels of the investiture last week of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday appointed state Appellate Court Judge Mark Davis to fill the unexpired term of Beasley when she left that seat to lead the High Court. Justice Davis will be officially sworn-in on April 8th. Many will recall that Davis previously served as Special Legal Counsel to Gov. Beverly Perdue, and at her direction, investigated the case of the Wilmington Ten as she considered pardons of innocence. Per his recommendation, on Monday, Dec. 31st, 2012, Gov. Perdue indeed pardons of innocence for the Ten. She also appointed Davis to the NC Court of Appeals. On Monday, Justice Davis said that it has always been his dream to serve on the NC Supreme Court.

            [WILMINGTON] Three weeks ago, Loudoun County, Va. elementary school sparked controversy when parents and the local NAACP complained about a “game” based on the Underground Railroad was being used to teach students about slavery. The controversy forced school’s principal to issue an apology to parents, saying in a letter that the “lesson was culturally insensitive.” 
            Now, that same “slavery game” is reportedly being used at Codington Elementary School in Wilmington, and a fourth-grade student’s grandmother has complained, telling a local television station that “…slavery is not a game.” But unlike Virginia, officials at the school at first defended the use of  “Escaping Slavery,” saying that it was used in small groups of students for Black History Month “…to dispel myths about slavery, and to have students “play a role to increase interest and enthusiasm for historical events.”
            On Monday, School Board Chair Lisa Estep issued a statement saying that the board “…shares the community’s concern.” She added that using the game “was not appropriate” for teaching about slavery. The superintendent has been asked to investigate.
            The Journalwill follow-up on this story next week.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            It’s been three weeks since the NC State Board of Elections (SBOE) voted unanimously to hold a new election in the Ninth Congressional District because of clear-cut evidence of “tainted”election fraud with absentee ballots in Bladen County.
            Thus far, five people have been indicted, and two arrested, by state authorities, including Leslie McCrae Dowless, the two-time convicted felon and political operative now charged with the illegal tampering of absentee votes on behalf of the Republican candidate.
            But two weeks ago, on his Charlotte WBTV-AM radio show, former Gov. Pat McCrory, after announcing that he will not seek election to the still open Ninth District seat, demanded that the SBOE and the media reopen an investigation into his dramatic 2016 re-election loss.
“It is time for the media and the elections board to reopen this investigation, in public – don’t wait for the federal or state authorities – and ask the question, “Who did what, when…not just in 2018, but in 2016 when I raised, as a gubernatorial candidate the exact same issues,” McCrory told his audience.
A loss the Republican ex-governor maintains was a result of the same kind of Bladen County “voter fraud,” but on a statewide level. His 2016 campaign had filed 52 election complaints after his loss, none of which were justified.
According to McCrory, back in 2016, the Bladen County Improvement Association (BCIA), a black Democratic Party-funded political action committee there, was responsible for the same type of “voter fraud” that the SBOE uncovered taking place in 2018 – illegally collecting absentee ballots and filling in blanks.
McCrory alleged that other Democrat-funded black PACs across the state were also guilty.
In fact, it was none other than Leslie McCrae Dowless who made the complaint on behalf of McCrory and the state Republican Party.
“Should the election board find that these are absentee ballot mills, with the purpose of fraudulent voting, those people should go to jail,” Dallas Woodhouse, NCGOP executive director told a radio show in 2016. “They should spend the first term of the Trump administration behind bars.”
The campaign of the 216 gubernatorial winner, Roy Cooper, shot back, “The truth is this election was administered by Republicans appointed by Gov. McCrory himself.”
But thus far, even though McCrory is pressing his case, no one…not the SBOE, not the State Bureau of Investigation, and not even federal authorities, have seen any evidence that convinces them that the former Republican governor did anything but lose re-election on his own.
It fact, it was the GOP-led SBOE in 2016 that looked into McCrory’s claims then, and turned their findings over to federal authorities. The charges were unfounded, but had a chilling effect.
“The election challenges that have been filed are in areas where we have strong African-American political organizations,” executive director Melvin Montford of the A. Phillip Randolph Institut, e said in a news release. “Calling these votes into question is an obvious effort to cast doubt on election results with no good reason to do so and disenfranchise black voters.”
And the fact that McCrory, and the state Republican Party, continue to allege voter fraud on a statewide scale in his 2016 election, infuriates Irving Joyner, attorney for the BCIA.
“The Bladen County Improvement Association did not engage in any illegal conduct during either the 2016 or 2018 campaigns,” Joyner said in a statement two weeks ago. “McCrory is lying about what happened to him in 2016. He lost the governor’s race and is attempting to falsely cast blame on others for his inept campaign.”
In a heretofore unknown Feb. 19thletter to the SBOE for the record after the hearings began, Atty. Joyner reiterated that the BCIA had done nothing illegal during the 2018 elections, even though one of the hearing witnesses, Lisa Britt, testified that the BCIA PAC Pres. Horace Munn, “…had visited with McCrae Dowless …to deliver absentee ballots and that he had called Dowless, at a later point, and directed that a signed absentee ballot form be returned to [a voter].”
“That testimony was a deliberate lie,” attorney Joyner emphasized. “At no point during the 2018 election did Mr. Munn have any contact with  McCrae Dowless or Lisa Britt regarding absentee ballots or anything else.”
Joyner continued that Munn had been subpoenaed to appear at the SBOE hearings, and did attend to refute Britt’s false testimony, but was then “dismissed by the SBOE staff.”
The BCIA, Joyner maintained “…did engage in get out the vote (GOTV) activities during the 2018 elections….” and legally paid people to do so. “…[N]one of those efforts involved the gathering or harvesting of absentee ballots,” he added.
Joyner sees the 2018 allegation is a continuation of what McCrory and the state Republicans allege about his 2016 contest involving the BCIA, and other Democratic Party-funded  black PACs across the state.

Photo #1 - As her husband, Curtis Owens, hold the Bible, Chief Justice Beasley raises her right hand to take the oath of office. 

Photo #2 - Senior Associate Justice Paul Newby applauds Chief Justice Beasley as she takes her center seat. 

Photo #3 - The entire NC Supreme Court

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            It was as if all of North Carolina state government had stopped on March 7that 2 p.m. to recognize that a true moment in history was about to take place.
            Over a thousand wellwishers, including Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, and Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court Emeritus Henry Frye, the first African-American ever to hold that esteemed title, assembled in the state Supreme Court chambers and overflow satellite locations at the State Capitol and First Baptist Church across the street, to witness the formal swearing in of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, the first African-American woman ever to officially lead North Carolina’s High Court.
            The court remained all-white for 155 years prior to Frye’s appointment by then-Gov. James B. Hunt. There have been seven African-Americans in all to serve on the state Supreme Court, and eight women.
            Beasley was officially sworn-in on March 1stin her office during a private ceremony, so this was her public investiture as the state’s 29th chief justice in the 200-year history of court. She was appointed by Gov. Cooper to finish out the unexpired term of former Chief Justice Mark Martin when he recently retired to become a law school dean in Virginia.
            Chief Justice Beasley is only the fourth African-American woman in the nation to ever serve in her capacity on a state Supreme Court. As chief justice, she leads the third branch of North Carolina government, and is responsible for running the state court system, in addition to determining the Supreme Court calendar and rendering decisions with her colleagues on the court.
            Beasley is also one of three African-Americans on the NC Supreme Court, the most of any state in the nation.
            After remarks from various dignitaries, including Gov. Cooper, as she stood with her husband and twin sons, Chief Justice Beasley formally took the oath of office from Senior Associate Justice Paul Newby, before going to chambers amidst a round of applause, reemerging in her judicial robe, and taking the center seat on the court to offer remarks.
            “I am honored and humbled to receive Governor Cooper’s appointment as Chief Justice. The magnitude of this opportunity to serve all North Carolinians is certainly not lost on me,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “I look forward to continuing to work to improve access to the courts and to ensure that our citizens have a judiciary that they trust to administer justice fairly, equally, and swiftly.”
            Citing Chief Justice Emeritus Henry Frye when he was sworn in twenty years ago as her inspiration, Beasley quoted him as once saying, “My philosophy is this world is full of problems.”
“I believe we should treat our problems as challenges and opportunities to do what is right and good. I’m prepared to treat our problems as challenges.”
            “Today is really a day of hope,” Beasley later said. “It’s a day of hope for justice — really for all of us.”
            “Hope for accessibility to the processes that we have in our justice system, and to the practices in our justice system. And most importantly to treat everybody — everybody — fairly, regardless of what matter they bring before the courts,” she said.
Chief Justice Beasley was originally appointed to the NC Supreme Court as an associate justice in 2014 to finish out the term of Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson. Beasley then ran and won her election in 2014 to a full eight-year term. Prior to that, she served as a state appellate court judge, and a District Court judge for ten years in Cumberland County.
            By becoming chief justice, Beasley finishes out Mark Martin’s term, and has indicated that she will run to be elected for that seat when it expires in 2020.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019



By Cash Michaels

            A North Carolina conservative congressman who once urged voters to send Pres. Obama “…home to Kenya,” won few, if any, friends in the black community last week when he had a former employee of President Trump’s - a black female Republican -  to come stand next to him, during the House Oversight Committee hearings focusing on former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen’s contention that the president was a racist.
            Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC- 11) , known to be close to and protective of Trump, justified having Lynne Patton, a HUD employee and former Trump associate who once worked as an event planner, to stand by him because “…she would never work for a racist.”
            Meadows added that Patton was the daughter of a black man born in Birmingham, Alabama, signifying that she knew racism, and would not countenance it.
            The conservative congressman became irate to the point of tears when a Democratic freshman congresswoman publicly accused him of a ‘racist act” for using Patton as a “prop.”  She later backed off when pressed by committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings.
            In his opening statement, Cohen, who has been convicted of lying to Congress during previous testimony, and tax evasion, maintained that his former client Trump, was a racist, as well as a “…con man and cheat.”
            While Cohen drew plenty of fire from Republican lawmakers on the panel, African-American North Carolinians and others on social media, especially Facebook, had a field day going Meadows for his use of Patton to prove that Trump was not a racist.
            Patton, being a black woman, drew particularly nasty reviews.
            “Well massa always had one that worked in the big house.....,” quipped Odessa.
            "She stood there like a slave on the auction block,” quoted Carol from Black Twitter. 
            “ As a white woman, I resent anyone being used this way,” wrote Ann. “It is sexist and racist. Why didn’t he use a black male? She sold herself, but might have lost her job if she didn’t cooperate. He has insulted women and black women especially. Jesus does not foster these things!”
            A poster named Regina wrote, “Her Trumpian Journey... from wedding and event planning to HUD administrator to House Chamber Jester
            An outraged poster named Pebbles from Charlotte wrote in mostly caps, “THEY HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE OFFICE. They just put anyone in the position. She looks like a "PET" ....DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH....DISGUSTING!
            “She was a token black woman being used by a political hack defending a waste of human skin-TRUMP, wrote Linda..
            A white man named Tim went after Meadows, writing, “ I was disgusted by Meadow's behavior. He exploited the young African American lady. Made her a token like she was on display. What a show it was! I haven't seen this type of racism or false enlightenment. The young lady barely said anything. My mother was born in 1926. I would expect this type of behavior, prejudice, and discrimination from her generation.
            Finally, a angry woman named Lillian wrote, “Working for the white whiteboy is bad enough, but when they drag you before the world and say SEE I AM NOT RACIST it’s damn embarrassing. The spook who sat by the door! Girl!

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            A Wake County Superior Court judge has denied a motion by Republican legislative leaders to stay his Feb. 22ndorder to void a constitutional amendment, passed by North Carolina voters during the 2018 November midterm elections, to make voter photo ID law in the state.
            Judge G. Bryan Collins, Jr., a Democrat, effectively refused to place a hold on his own order, thus setting up a huge legal battle over whether the state legislature was even legally constituted to place the amendment on the 2018 ballot, let alone later passing laws codifying voter ID.
            The argument put forth by the NCNAACP and other groups in their lawsuit before the court, argued that because many of the state lawmakers were deemed to have been illegally elected from racially gerrymandered voting districts, they did not have the authority to act on behalf of the people, as the NC Constitution mandates.
            Judge Collins original order struck down the amendment empowering the subsequent voter ID laws that were passed, not those laws themselves. That’s the argument attorneys for Republican legislative leaders now argue, that the voter ID laws, separate from the voided constitutional amendment, still exist.
            Opponents have wasted no time in going after the voter ID laws.
            Filed almost immediately after the Republican-led General Assembly Special Session last December, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed suit on behalf of six plaintiffs, charging that the new voter ID laws violated the NC Constitution by:

·       purposefully discriminating against and disproportionately impacting African-American and American-Indian qualified voters, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
·       unduly burdening the fundamental right to vote, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
·       creating separate classes of voters, treated different with respect to their access to the fundamental right to vote, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
·       imposing a cost on voting, in violation of the Free Elections Clause in Article I, § 10;
·       imposing a property requirement for voting, in violation of the Property Qualifications Clause in Article I, § 11; and,
·       impeding voters’ ability to engage in political expression and speech by casting a ballot, in violation of their Right of Assembly and Petition and Freedom of Speech as afforded by Article I, §§ 12 and 14.

“It is the legislature’s duty to balance competing demands in the State Constitution.  It has failed miserably in its exercise of balancing the new ID constitutional amendment, which explicitly allows for exceptions, with the numerous other state constitutional demands that have been interpreted to aggressively protect the right to vote, ” said AttorneyAllison Riggs of theSouthern Coalition for Social Justice.   “Any legislative scheme that requires voters to present ID when voting must have fail-safe measures to ensure that not one single eligible voter is disenfranchised.  Our State Constitution demands it.  This legislation does not do that.  It simply replicates a scheme that we know disenfranchised approximately 1,400 voters in the March 2016 primaries.”
Attorneys for Republican legislative leaders are now hoping to appeal Judge Collins, hoping, in the end, to overturn it.
                                                   WEBSTER.                   COLLINS

By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

            There has been no determination announced by District Attorney Ben David by press time Tuesday as to the trooper shooting death of Brandon Lovell Webster of Shallotte .
            On Tuesday, The Wilmington Journalcalled the office of D.A. David, who also oversees Brunswick County, for an update as to whether any charges were expected. According to published reports, officials were waiting for toxicology and autopsy reports before making a final determination. The State Bureau of investigation, which normally investigates shootings by law enforcement across the state, reportedly finished its initial review of the incident..
            The SBI normally reports its findings to the county District Attorney for an assessment of the evidence, and final determination as to whether criminal charges are warranted.
            The state Highway Patrol normally conducts its own internal review of such incidents to determine whether agency policies and procedures were followed.
             Webster, 28, was fatally shot by NC State Trooper S. A. Collins on January 1stright outside the Civietown Mini Mart. He had been pulled over by Trooper Holden on Holden Beach Road at around 8:55 p.m..
            Authorities allege when Collins approached Webster’s vehicle, Webster  “accelerated towards the officer.”
            A cellphone video, purportedly of the incident, doesn’t show the shooting, but a man’s voice can be heard yelling “Stop….,I’ll shoot!” followed by shots as white truck moves forward, and pulls away from a stationary Highway Patrol vehicle with its lights flashing.
            Webster, who was reportedly with a female friend in the truck, later died of  a gunshot wound later at Norvant Health Brunswick Medical Center.
            Trooper Collins, who has been with the state Highway Patrol for one year, has been placed on administrative duty since the shooting, pending results of D.A. David’s determination, and the internal agency review.
            Since the incident, there had been a candlelight community tribute to Brandon Webster, in addition to at least one march demanding justice in the case.
            Family and friends of Webster say there was no reason for the trooper to shoot the young man, and that he could have been chased if he had committed a crime, and forced to surrender.


            [WILMINGTON] It’s official. The NHC School Board, as of Tuesday, has officially dropped it’s proposal to turn Williston Middle School into a performing arts high school. School board members credit the concern expressed by the community, urging that if Williston is to be changed all, it should become a top academic and vocational school, similar to it’s historic namesake, Williston Senior High School, which was unceremoniously closed in 1968 by the board. Members say Williston Middle will be subject to the new middle school redistricting plan once that’s developed, and efforts will be made to improve Williston Middle low-performing status.

            [WILMINGTON] Wilmington police are probing who is responsible for spray painting racial slurs, obscenities and symbols on the rear of the multi-ethnic The Bridge Church on Market Street last week. Authorities suspect that the some person or persons responsible for putting graffiti recently on Flytrap Downs downtown, may have vandalized The Bridge Church as well. If you have any information as to a possible suspect, please contact the Wilmington Police Dept.

            [RALEIGH] Get ready to dust off another dollar from your wallet when it comes time to pay for your annual vehicle safety inspection. The state house Transportation Committee voted to approve the dollar increase Tuesday. Keep in mind that your vehicle must also pass emissions testing as well. The increase still has to be voted on in the full House, and then be sent to the state Senate before becoming law.