Tuesday, October 29, 2019


By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

An historical “Wilmington Coup” marker commemorating the tragic 1898 Wilmington white supremacist race massacre- scheduled to be unveiled downtown on Nov. 8th - is “overdue.”
So says Ms. Deborah Dicks Maxwell, the president of the N.H. C. NAACP.
In an exclusive statement to The Wilmington Journal Tuesday, Ms. Maxwell continued, “ The only coup d'etat  in the United States that resulted in a massacre of unknown numbers of blacks has to be recognized. This massacre occurred to gain economic control. Lives and land were lost as some never returned. We can never forget 1898 as the vestiges of it still permeates within this community. All citizens should know what occurred here.”
Maxwell and the local NAACP will be in charge of the official dedication ceremony for the highway marker at noon on Friday, Nov. 8th, on Market Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets downtown.
The marker- two years in the making - has already been installed, but remains covered until the ceremony. It will stand outside of the Wilmington Light Infantry Building, from where, on Nov. 10, 1898, a mob of an estimated 500 so-called “Red Shirts” Ku Klux Klansmen and other white supremacists, displeased with an editorial written by editor Alex Manley appearing in The Daily Record, the local daily black newspaper, marched down to its office on Seventh Street, and burned it down.
The mob then fanned out, indiscriminately killing an untold number of African American citizens in the city, and forcing many others to abandon their homes and business to flee for their lives.
That racist mob also violently took over Wilmington city government. Nothing was ever done to bring the perpetrators to justice.
As reported exclusively by The Journal in January 2018, the marker language on the original draft had to be changed because it inaccurately stated that “Violence left up to 60 blacks dead,” when, in fact, historians agree that the number of black killed is unknown, but is though to be many, many more the just 60.
A June, 2006 story in the New York Times quoted an 1898 Wilmington Race Massacre Commission member, Lottie Clinton, a retired state port supervisor and 1 of 13 members of a state-appointed panel,  as saying, Nobody will ever be certain how many people died the night of Nov. 10, 1898, on the streets, in the marshes where some ran for safety, or in the swift, wide current of the river that has always defined this port city. The Cape Fear River could be dammed up with black bodies, but we have no way of knowing just how many,” The Journal reported in January 2018.
The Journal story continued, “The so-called “Wilmington Coup” marker was approved in the fall of 2017, according to www.ncmarkers.com, the website of the North Carolina Highway Historical Program, which is administered by the Research Branch of the NC Office of Archives and History.  The NC Highway Historical Marker Advisory Committee, which meets just twice a year, “…[reviews] applications received and determine the wording on new markers.”
It was thanks to Ms. Maxwell, and Rend Smith of the nonprofit group, Working Narratives, the original applicant which sponsored creation of the marker, that the language was corrected and approved by the advisory committee.
The local dedication ceremony of any state highway historical marker is traditionally the responsibility of a local organization, and thus why the NHC NAACP is sponsoring the event on Friday, November 8th.


[NEW HANOVER COUNTY]  N.H. Commissioner Woody white has announced that he will not run for a third term in 2020. White has served for eight years, being reelected in 2016. “But I have decided against seeking a third term because I believe that democracy is better served by having new people rotating in and out of public office, especially at the local level.” White will serve through December 2020.

[DURHAM] Paying to the fact that he was speaking at an historically black high school, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden told a packed campaign rally at Hillside high School’s atrium Sunday that if elected president, he would work to address poverty, raise the living wage, and increase funding to historically black colleges. Biden, 76, is currently running second to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the polls.

[GREENVILLE] Dan Gerlach has resigned as the interim chancellor of East Carolina University after a new video surfaced allegedly showing him on the night of Sept. 25th staggering down a downtown street, losing his flip-flop, then getting into a car and driving off. This follows video of Gerlach in a bar apparently chugging down multiple beers and dancing. In a statement, Gerlach apologized, saying, “There is no one to hold accountable for the situation except me.” Gerlach’s resignation Sunday was immediate.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

“If at first you don’t succeed…..”
A three-judge Wake County Superior Court panel ordered Monday afternoon that the Republican-led NC General Assembly but literally go back to the drawing board, and redraw new congressional voting districts before the 2020.
That same judicial panel also ruled against GOP lawmakers’ 2017 legislative redistricting maps in September as a partisan gerrymander that violated the NC Constitution, and ordered them redrawn in two weeks at the time and resubmitted for approval. Republicans did not appeal, choosing instead to meet the deadline in a transparent process.
Monday evening, that judicial panel approved the redrawing of those legislative maps, against an appeal from Common Cause and the NC Democratic Party that an outside expert needed to redraw about 20 state House Districts, according to the Washington Post.
That decision can be appealed by plaintiffs at the risk of delaying the March 2020 primaries. Otherwise, the new maps will be used for 2020.
Monday’s new ruling on North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts needing to be redrawn also involves partisan gerrymandering. Democrats filed suit in state court because the U.S. Supreme Court last June refused to rule on the issue, saying that federal courts have no place in what essentially was a “political” question, better suited for state courts since state legislatures draw all redistricting maps.
As in September, state lawmakers were ordered to create new Congressional maps. No deadline was set.
Republicans can appeal Monday’s ruling, but the question is will they? The GOP decided not to appeal the September legislative map ruling, assuming that it would only end up in Democrat-majority state Supreme Court. 
They may decide the same thing here. Republican legislative leaders are facing the prospect of March 2020 primaries, with December being the beginning of filing for state and congressional offices. Judges want new maps in place by the December filing deadline, or else may have to move the March primaries back.
No reaction from Republicans at press time, but the Nc Democratic Party claimed victory, even in the legislative decision.
"Today’s decisions are major victories for all North Carolinians, who will now elect their legislative and Congressional representatives under fairer maps,” said Wayne Goodwin, NCDP Chair, in a statement. “Voters should choose their representatives not the other way around, and we hope after today’s rulings that North Carolina Republicans will finally give up their hyper-partisan, unconstitutional efforts to cling onto power by robbing North Carolinians of free and fair elections.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Right on the heels on the heart wrenching Oct. 25th funeral for Congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrats, Republicans and admirers are  in continued mourning amid the unexpected passing of two more prominent political figures - U.S. Kay Hagen (D - NC) and former Detroit, Michigan Congressman John Conyers.
Sen. Hagen, 66, died Monday of encephalitis (brain inflamation). She had been suffering with the disease for three years.
The Shelby native  was a former bank executive who was elected to the NC Senate in 1998, where she was a budget writer, before winning seat in 2008, defeating Republican incumbent North Carolina U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, only to lose re-election after one term to NC House Speaker Thom Tillis in 2014.
Sen. Hagan was a moderate Democrat who was reluctant to endorse then Pres. Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. During her reelection campaign in 2014, Hagan was critical of Pres. Obama, and at time, tried to politically distance herself from him. She went on to lose.
Former Pres. Obama was among the first to offer condolences upon word of her death money.
She was, quite simply, a terrific public servant—eager to find common ground, willing to rise above the partisan fray, and always focused on making progress for the people she served,” Obama wrote in a statement. “As President, I deeply appreciated her reasoned, pragmatic voice, whether we were working together to pass the Affordable Care Act, reform Wall Street, support working families, or just make Americans’ lives a little better. Her record is one all public servants would do well to follow, and her perspective is one we’ll sorely miss.”
Calling Hagan “ an inspiration to women across North Crolina,” U.S. Rep. Alma Adams said she was “devastated” by the loss of he “friend.”
I’ve had the honor of knowing Kay since our days in the legislature, where she was a strong advocate for Guilford County,” Rep. Adams said in a statement. “As the first Democratic woman to represent the Tar Heel state in the United States Senate, she broke even more barriers as the first woman to defeat an incumbent woman in a Senate election.”
Gov. Roy Cooper lamented Hagen’s loss as well.
Kristin and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend Senator Kay Hagan,” Cooper said in a statement. “I’ve known Kay since our days in the legislature together. Kay was a fierce advocate for North Carolina, and she represented our state with courage and grace her entire career. She made it a mission to inspire young people - especially young girls - to enter public service, and she served as a role model to so many. North Carolina is mourning one of our best today.”
Congressman John Conyers was known as a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. First elected to Congress in 1964, Congressman Conyers had a close relationship with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. He soon became a champion of liberal issues. Four days after the assassination of Dr. King in 1968, Conyers introduced a bill calling for a national  holiday in honor of the civil rights leader every year for 15 years, until Congress finally passed in 1983.
He was forced to resign from Congress in 2017 under allegations of sexual harassment. Conyers denied the allegations.
“The CBC Foundation family mourns the loss of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) founding member, former Congressman John J. Conyers, Jr.,” President & CEO David A. Hinson said in a statement.
“As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965-2017, Congressman Conyers represented Michigan's 14th District in Detroit. After more than five decades in office, he was the longest-serving African American in Congress. Before entering Congress, Rep. Conyers served in the National Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.”
Pres. Hinson continued, “During his tenure in Congress, this champion of civil and human rights served as chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform and the House Committee on the Judiciary.”
“We join generations across the nation in expressing our deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and constituents. May he rest well.”

Monday, October 21, 2019


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Any final determination of Rev. Curtis Gatewood’s suspended NAACP membership will most likely not come before February 2020, according to two sources confirming what was decided last weekend during the NAACP Board of Directors’ meeting in Atlantic City, N.J. last weekend.
As reported exclusively last week, according to the NAACP Constitution and Bylaws, after Gatewood was sent his copy of the Article 10 complaint against him for alleged sexual harassment, the board ordered a hearing by an appointed panel, which would convene within 60 days.
For the record, Rev. Gatewood has denied all allegations of sexual harassment, even though a second young female NAACP member also alleges that he sexually harassed her in 2014 when she was just an intern.
Gatewood and others testifying, should receive official notice of the hearing date, and it’s location, by the end of the week.
Because of the nature of the complaint, the hearing, in this case, will be comprised of  three attorneys. That panel will receive a copy of the five-month investigative report ordered  by then NC NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. William Barber in 2017 after Gatewood was accused of sexually harassing Jazmyne Childs, the NC NAACP Youth Director. Gatewood resigned prior to the report’s conclusion.
Rev. Gatewood will be called before the panel to testify, as will Ms. Childs and any supporting witnesses on a date still not made public. The hearing process may take one or two days. 
According to sources, a national NAACP committee is scheduled to meet in December to consider all evidence and testimony, and then to make a determination to the national NAACP Board. The board, in turn, will render it’s final determination of the Article 10 complaint against Rev. Curtis Gatewood at it’s next scheduled meeting in February. 
Given that timeline, any new election for state NAACP president will not occur before February. Gatewood was a candidate opposing the re-election of current Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, but his membership was suspended a week before the state NAACP convention in Winston-Salem, and the election of state officers, thus disqualifying him.
Sources say if the hearing panel adopts the NCNAACP 2017 report as fact, along with any testimony by opposing witnesses to Gatewood’s defense, then he will most likely not be reinstated. Thus, if there is a new NC NAACP presidential election, he will not be a candidate.
When asked, Rev. Gatewood has already stated that he will no longer be making any comments  regarding his NAACP suspension. He referred all questions to Derrick Johnson, president/CEO of the national NAACP.
A spokesperson for Mr. Johnson, Marc Banks, responding to an email request for comment sent to the NAACP president, replied, “Due to the ongoing investigation and internal status of this matter, we are unable to give comment at this time.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer
On one of his many trips to Washington, D.C. to demonstrate against injustice, Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-convener of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival, recalls walking the halls of Congress one day, when suddenly someone called out to him.
It was Congressman Elijah Cummings.
“He said, ‘Don’t stop fighting for what is right,” Rev. Barber recalls. “His words to me was his life….he never stopped fighting for what was right, just and good. We can only honor him by imitating his commitment to justice for all.”
Indeed, since his unexpected death Oct. 17th in Maryland, the tributes for the 7th District, twelve-term Baltimore native have been pouring in, especially from North Carolinians, and his congressional colleagues, like House Speaker and fellow Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi, who called her longtime friend “…a voice of unsurpassed moral clarity and truth.”
Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) fondly recalled how Rep. Cummings, 68, “…was looked up to,” she told WGHP-TV in High Point.
He was iconic, but yet he took time to show the care and sincerity that he had for youth and really wanting them to succeed,” she said. “He took a personal interest in my grandson who is now a freshman at Howard [University] and he wrote him a wonderful letter of recommendation. He talked to him, encouraged him, that was very impressive to me.”
Another congressional colleague from North Carolina, Rep. G. K. Butterfield, called his late friend, “A powerful and compassionate voice for the voiceless…”
…[W]e have lost a giant and true champion of the people. I have been proud to serve in Congress alongside my colleague Elijah Cummings and honored to call him friend. This is a devastating loss for the city of Baltimore, the state of Maryland, for the nation and for Congress.”
Congressman Butterfield continued, “Elijah Cummings was the epitome of a servant leader, a resolute civil rights icon, a strong voting rights advocate and a relentless advocate for justice and equality. The presence and leadership of Congressman Cummings will be deeply missed, but his example and charge to us all continues to fuel our fire to protect our democracy and the American people. My sincerest condolences to the family, friends, staff and loved ones of Congressman Elijah Cummings during this difficult time.”  
Another close friend and colleague, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), also paid deep tribute.
“The American people have lost a great leader at a time of crisis in our democracy.  Chairman Elijah Cummings gave all he had.  He dedicated his entire life to serving the public good.  When this nation needed him most, he became a moral voice “crying in the wilderness,” and his words and actions called a reluctant nation to conscience.”
“He was a defining and commanding chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee who was not afraid to use the power vested in him to inquire, investigate, and demand the answers the American people deserve,” Rep. Lewis continued. “He led us to the place where we, as a nation, finally understood government reform was urgently required.  His passion, his vigor, and his example were a master class in leadership demonstrating how we must all dig in to defend and preserve our democracy.  His passing is a tremendous blow to the struggle to build a fair and just society in America.”
Cummings resided in his hometown of Baltimore- a place he vigorously defended when President Donald Trump attacked it earlier this summer. 
According to his official bio, Congressman Cummings “…obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Howard University, serving as Student Government President and graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and then graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law. Congressman Cummings has also received 13 honorary doctoral degrees from Universities throughout the nation.”
“He began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem.  Since 1996, Congressman Cummings has proudly represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
His body will lie in state at the US Capitol on Oct. 24th.
Funeral services for Rep. Cummings are scheduled for Oct. 25th at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, where he worshipped for most 40 years.


[RALEIGH] According to the just released 2018 NC Infant Mortality Report, the death rate for infants in North Carolina dropped from 7.1 per 1,000 in 2017, to 6.8 per 1,000 in 2018 - the lowest in 30 years. But when it comes to black infants, they are more than twice as likely to die before completing year one of life than their white counterpart. White infants, for the third year in a row, have had a mortality rate of 5.0 per 1,000. Black infants, however, die at a rate of 12.2 per 1,000. Gov. Cooper’s office says the key to addressing the discrepancy is expanding Medicaid to more poor families across the state.

[WINSTON-SALEM] The Dixie Classic Fair is no more. As of 2020, the annual event that has been 135 years in the making will be called the “Carolina Classic Fair.”  The Winston-Salem City Council voted in August to change the name because prior to 1963, the Classic was not racially integrated. Back then, the Carolina Fair was considered the black fair. Changing the name now sends the message that it is now a more inclusive event, with a shared history. The Carolina Classic Fair will be held Oct. 2 - 11, 2020.

[RALEIGH] NC Attorney General Josh Stein has joined over 20  other state attorneys general to oppose the Trump Administration’s proposed policy to weaken fair housing laws, which would ultimately make it much harder to prove housing discrimination when people try to rent or purchase or home. “Fighting discrimination and ensuring everyone is treated equally is central to building stable, successful communities in North Carolina,” Stein said in a statement . “The existing rule helps ensure equal housing opportunities for everyone – I urge the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to abandon its proposed weakening of these critical protections.”


Tuesday, October 15, 2019


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

The Rev. Curtis Gatewood, whose membership was suspended by the national NAACP office several weeks ago over allegations of sexual harassment while he was a supervisor with the NC NAACP, is expected to have a hearing on his appeal soon. How soon is in the hands the national NAACP Board of Directors,  which is meeting in Atlantic City, N.J. this Friday and Saturday.
But it has also been learned exclusively that Gatewood is not the only one from the North Carolina conference who has had an Article X(10) complaint filed against him.
Sources say a long simmering power struggle has ensued in the NC NAACP, involving jealousies that have targeted current Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. Article 10 complaints regarding conference fiscal matters have been filed against him, sources say, thus, one of the reasons why an administrator from the national office has been put in place to oversee conference operations.
Though allegations have been made - one of Rev. Gatewood’s platforms during his candidacy for state NAACP president was that it was “rumored that theft and/or misappropriation” of NC NAACP funds took place over the past five years” -  there is no evidence, sources say, of any fiscal mismanagement since Dr. Spearman took leadership, or even before, under former Pres. Rev. Dr. William Barber.
Gatewood has issued a “no comment” when recently asked for further details about his case, and the national office isn’t commenting either. 
The suspension of Gatewood’s NAACP membership prevented him from running for state president of the NC NAACP during the recent Oct. 5th convention in Winston-Salem.
In a Sept. 27th email to his “Alamance Family and Justice Team,” Gatewood indicated that he would request a hearing be scheduled prior to the Oct. 5th elections - where he would have been the only challenger to current Pres. Rev. Spearman. Since that did not happen, Gatewood is hoping for a special election between him and Dr. Spearman,”…upon being cleared of the Article 10 allegations and membership restored.”
He has denied allegations that he sexually harassed former NCNAACP Youth Director, Jazmyne Childs,  in 2017 while he supervised her. After her complaint to then NC NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. William Barber, a five-month investigation ensued, during which Gatewood resigned. However, he remained a member because only the national office can revoke memberships, but failed to do so.
Since Ms. Child’s went public with her complaint, another female NAACP member, who alleges that she was a young intern when Rev. Gatewood sexually harassed her, has come forward. 
Gatewood also denies her allegation, though adding that he was “deeply sorry.” 
Per the NAACP Constitution and Bylaws, the Chief of National Field Operations should have sent Gatewood a copy of the Article 10 complaint against him within fifteen days of receipt. Gatewood, in turn would have 15 calendar days to file a written response by mail.
The National NAACP Office then has 60 days to then investigate the charges, and render it’s findings and recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Board, in turn, can order a hearing by an appointed hearing panel, which would convene within  60 days.
Ultimately, the national NAACP Board of Directors “…shall render its final decision with 180 days of receipt of the complaint….”
Within 15 days of the Board’s decision, it “…shall be published in the official organ of the NAACP and published in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction where the member is located.”
According to sources, the Board may decide this weekend in Atlantic City, N.J. what the next move in the Curtis Gatewood case will be.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

“African Americans adolescents (13-19 years of age) have disproportionately higher rates of suicide,” according to a recent study, “The Changing Characteristics of African American Adolescent Suicides, 2001 - 2017” by Jagdish Khubchandani, professor of health sciences at Ball State University in Indiana.
Suicide is second only to accidents as a leading cause of death among teenagers of all racial backgrounds, data shows.
But according to the study, based on figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2001 and 2017, the rate of suicide for black teens exploded - 60% for black males, and 182% for African American females.
And after Georgia, Texas and Florida, North Carolina logs in at fourth nationally for black teenage suicides.
Prof. Khubchandani’s research was confirmed this week when Pediatric, a national medical journal, reported that from 1991 to 2017 - ten years before the Ball State research period - black adolescent suicide attempts rose dramatically. In fact, according to the magazine, “…the rate for black youths grew even as the rate of suicide attempts by teens in other racial and ethnic groups fell.”
Black boys between the ages of 5 and 11, have experienced an increase in suicide deaths, and in black children overall between 5 and 12, the suicide rate was twice that of white children.
While this study did not determine what the cause factors were, other research has determined that bullying, mental health challenges like depression, and even family strife, figure into suicide  attempts by black teens.
Even confusion over gender identity is seen as a possible factor for some.
Others have noted that 2001 through 2017 track with the emergence of the internet, and with it, black teens experiencing blatant forms of racism online that could affect their emotional well-being and feelings of self-worth.
In North Carolina, African American high school students reportedly attempted suicide more than twice the rate of their white counterparts, according to the NC Child Health Report Card.
Because so much of this is newer, there isn't a lot of data about why, but some of the factors are stressors like discrimination and the experience people have with discrimination and microaggressions,” Amy Green, director of research for the Trevor Project - a suicide prevention group - told CNN.
She added that black teens don’t have equal access to mental health services. 
If you think that someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255


[CARY] The superintendent and school board of the Wake Public School System lauded a 14-year-old black student for exposing a racist student chat group that pushed “#bringslaveryback.” Now the family of Cenayia Edwards, who attends East Wake High School, want the school’s principal held accountable for not doing anything when first told. Cenayia was able to infiltrate and expose two kids from her school, and five from Corinth Holders High in Johnson County. The Johnson County students were disciplined, according to the system there, but nothing happened to the two East Wake High Student. The Wake System said it could not say if anything happened to them at all because of federal law. Cenayia’s family say they fear for her life.

[WINSTON-SALEM] Winston-Salem police have identified three female staffers at The Darby House assisted living  facility, accusing them of running a ‘fight ring,” where patients suffering dementia were encouraged to physically assault one another. Video was taken, showing at least one patient being strangled until her face turned pale. The three staffers have been arrested. The staffers were fired after the incident was revealed last June.

[RALEIGH] It’s just a few weeks before the start of the 2019-20 CIAA basketball season, and the Shaw University Men’s basketball team is already looking for a new coach. Joel Hopkins quit his position, after serving as head basketball coach twice, from 2000-02 and won a CIAA championship, and then 2015 until now, where he has led the Bears to three-straight CIAA Southern Division titles. Hopkins has an overall record of 126-76.

Monday, October 7, 2019



[RALEIGH] Two former Raleigh city council people - one of whom is seeking to become the Capital city’s second African-American mayor in history - finished Tuesday’s election in a virtual dead heat with 36 percent of the vote each. Because neither black businessman Charles Francis, or white businesswoman Mary Ann Baldwin garnered at least 50% of the vote, they will runoff in November. Francis, who was once appointed to the council, fell short two years ago when he challenged incumbent Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, who announced she wouldn’t run this time. Baldwin, who served on the City Council for ten years, says she has the most experience to serve as mayor.

[RALEIGH] Rep. David Lewis [Harnett] has admitted to borrowing $500,000 from John Gray, an indicted figure accused in the alleged plot to bribe to bribe NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. It is also the same plot when former NC Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes pled guilty to lying to the FBI. Lewis says he borrowed the money in 2018 to help his farms, putting up $1.2 million in property in collateral.He says he did not know that Gray was involved in an alleged bribery scheme.

[RALEIGH] A three-judge Superior Court panel that recently struck down the NC legislature’s 2017 maps as being unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders, is in the process of reviewing new maps it ordered lawmakers to redraw. However, if the judicial panel rejects them, will it assign a special master to redraw them? The question is key, because candidates for legislative offices are scheduled to file for office Dec. 2- 20th, for primaries scheduled for March 3, 2020. If new maps aren’t approved by then, North Carolina’s primaries may have to be pushed back.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer
According to those who attended last weekend’s 76th Annual NC NAACP Convention in Winston-Salem, it was memorable, but for the most part, for all of the wrong reasons.
What normally and annually is an exercise for attendees in reaffirming the basic principles of the state’s oldest, and foremost civil rights organization, was instead, according to some who attended last weekend’s three-day session, a tense affair involving factions, accusations, anger and uncertainty.
So much so that Derrick Johnson, the president/CEO of the national NAACP, personally came down from his Baltimore, Md. headquarters, to address the North Carolina membership Saturday, reminding all that they were “family,” not to speak with the media, and that the enemies of equality and racial justice would like nothing better than to see the NAACP - even in North Carolina - be ripped apart, and rendered ineffective as the crucial 2020 elections approach.
The cause for all of this unbridled angst? Reverberations from troubling allegations of sexual harassment against one of the state NAACP’s former top administrators, Rev. Curtis Gatewood.
It was two weeks ago that former state chapter Youth Director Jazmyne Childs, surrounded by supporters, including former NC NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. William Barber,  held a press conference, publicly accusing Rev. Gatewood of sexually harassing her as her supervisor in 2017. 
Gatewood emphatically denied her charges, but during the course of a five-month investigation of Ms. Childs’ complaint, Gatewood resigned. The investigation revealed evidence that Ms. Childs’ was telling the truth, NAACP officials say.  However, despite repeated urgings by Rev. Barber and the state chapter, the national NAACP did nothing to revoke Gatewood’s membership.
The group, Elder Women of the NC NAACP, ultimately threatened to bring the controversy right to the national NAACP’s doorstep in Baltimore, forcing Pres./CEO Johnson to formally suspend Gatewood’s membership, pending a hearing.
By doing so, Gatewood, who was originally a candidate for state NAACP president opposing current President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, was deemed ineligible to run by the national office. And as a result, the scheduled election was postponed until further notice.
The story has been carried all over the country, even by the extreme right-wing website, Breitbart.com, which once tried to frame a former NAACP official as a racist, with an edited videotape several years ago.
Reportedly, Rev. Gatewood has appealed his suspension, the hearing for which, at press time, had not been scheduled (though sources say a meeting concerning it has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19th.)
Published reports now also state that a second female former NCNAACP member has come forward to also allege that Gatewood sexually harassed her.
It was under this cloud that the NC NAACP Convention in Winston-Salem tried to proceed as normal. But a faction of Gatewood supporters were determined to be heard, many there said.
One of the first indications of a coming rough convention took place Thursday night - the first night of the convention - at Emmanuel Baptist Church, where according to published reports and eyewitnesses, Winston-Salem police were called after an alleged “disruption” of a meeting there. Rev. John Mendez, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist,  called the police, and told a local newspaper that Gerald Givens Jr., president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, was one of several “supporters of Gatewood” present involved.
There were no arrests, though at least nine police officers answered the call.
In a phone interview Monday evening, Givens disputed Rev. Mendez’ published account, but did confirm that he was at the church, at that meeting, and ultimately did have a nonviolent confrontation with NCNAACP Pres. Dr. Spearman about some issues, but would go no further into describing what exactly they were about. 
In a statement issued to his Raleigh NAACP branch later, Givens alleged that “Within 15 minutes of my arrival, a member of the security detail attempted to physically attack me, while calling me a “boy” in the process.  He made several statements indicating that he was angry about issues relating to election procedures committee.”
Givens went on that,” Later, the same member of security who threatened me earlier, then threatened one of the delegates on the floor and turmoil ensued.  Law enforcement officers were called in, and the delegates who had objected to conducting business without a quorum or proper bylaws were asked to leave.   All of our convention delegates witnessed these events.” 
He maintains that he was not there in support of Rev. Gatewood.
On the call, Givens did allude to what has been publicly alleged by the Alamance County NAACP, where Rev. Gatewood was once president. Members of that branch alleged that Dr. Spearman “…faces allegations of financial misconduct, and that Gatewood had promised to audit the state organization if he were elected,” according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
Sources close to Dr. Spearman, however, dispute those allegations, saying that the structure of the NC NAACP hierarchy and procedures after Rev. Barber took over in 2005 from the previous president wouldn’t allow for that to happen without more than one officer involved.
Then Friday morning when the convention moved to the Marriott Hotel in downtown Winston-Salem, several police officers - both uniformed and plainclothes - were seen there to keep the peace at the convention, and for good reason. 
A group of Gatewood supporters made their presence known vocally, but soon left, according to published reports.
An administrator from the national office has now been assigned to oversee the state NAACP during this turmoil. All of the conference officers will remain in place, and carry on as normal.
I have great confidence in the national NAACP’s ability to assist the state conference to correct any deficiencies so that we can focus on our ongoing fight for justice,” Givens said.  
But until a new election is held, and the Gatewood controversy has been settled once and for all, the internal conflicts of the state’s oldest civil right organization may continue to overshadow the very public social conflicts the NC NAACP prides itself on fighting.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Did Rev. Curtis Gatewood, former NCNAACP official, and now suspended member of the civil rights organization pending appeal, send out a “plan of action”advising his followers how to distract the press from serious allegations of sexual harassment made against  him, with counter claims of  “…rumored …theft and/or misappropriation of NC NAACP finances…” by former Pres. Rev. William Barber?
Sources in the NC NAACP have shared an email, purportedly from Gatewood to his “Alamance Family and Justice Team,” dated Friday, Sept. 27th, time coded at 1:19 a.m..
That is the day the Alamance NAACP held an emotional press conference defending Gatewood.
The subject: “Re: Notice of Article X Against Curtis Gatewood,” a reference to Article 10 of the NAACP  Bylaws and Constitution dealing with members who have been accused of wrongdoing.
Gatewood was recently suspended as an NAACP member by the national office pending his appeal hearing, which, as of press time earlier this week, had not been scheduled.
It was Wednesday, Sept. 25th, when Jazmyne Childs, former state NAACP Youth Director, tearfully told the press about how Gatewood, her supervisor in 2017, allegedly sexually harassed her to the point of her quitting her position. 
On Thursday, Sept. 26th, the national NAACP formally suspended Gatewood from membership, thus denying him his candidacy to run against current state NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman when the state convention convened Oct. 3-5 in Winston-Salem.
That evening on his Facebook page, Gatewood reiterated that “the allegations are totally false.” He then went after Rev.Barber personally, accusing him of “unlawfully” sharing an internal personnel report (the investigative report confirming Ms. Childs’ allegations) with the media, but not with him, the accused.
Gatewood went on allege that Barber “…seem[ed] to have long envied the love the people of North Carolina have had for me.” Gatewood continued to rant about Rev. Barber, saying, “His actions are those more of Judas than Jesus. He had already committed crucifixion in 2017. Now here he is in 2019 trying to stop God’s miraculous resurrection. But what God has for me; He has for me.”
Rev. Barber was made aware of his former colleague’s berating words, but refused to comment, saying it would detract from the main issue - the alleged sexual harassment of a former female NCNAACP employee.
Barber did deny, however, any allegation of fiscal mismanagement, saying that systems were put in place during his administration that would prevent that from happening.
The next day, on Friday, Sept 27th,  a press conference in Burlington was called by the Alamance County NAACP, where members, and Gatewood’s daughter, Desmera, blasted Rev. Spearman and Rev. Barber, asking why two-year-old allegations were being re-litigated right before the elections. 
Per the email from Rev. Curtis Gatewood earlier that Friday, he wrote, “Here’s a short term plan of action that I will attempt. Wherever you can assist or join me in this demand, please do.”
He then went on to state that he “…will send an immediate request for a hearing”  before  the Oct. 5th NCNAACP election. If the matter can’t be resolved before Oct. 5th, Gatewood “…will request a special election between [him] and Rev. T. Anthony Spearman upon being cleared of Article [10] allegations and membership restored.”
Gatewood says that in preparation for his hearing, he is requesting “…an official and complete copy of the internal investigative report which was shown and exposed in media reports, but never shown to Gatewood.
He also wanted a “written statement from the NC NAACP officers and/or Executive Committee members who never received the internal report being exposed to media.”
And lastly, “…a date of the last audit conducted to inspect the fiscal responsibility/accounting of the NC NAACP finances. This is necessary because it is rumored that theft and/or misappropriation of NC NAACP finances over the past 5 years are what drove the unusually aggressive efforts of the former NC NAACP president and the current treasurer to have Gatewood removed from membership of an organization and denied the privilege to seek office despite being declared “eligible” by both the state and national NAACP. Fiscal responsibility and an audit of finances was a part of the Gatewood campaign platform.”
Rev. Gatewood concluded with, ‘If anyone would like to share this plan at the press conference tomorrow in my absence, feel free. Meanwhile, my heart and thanks go out [to] such a brilliant team.”
Your brother in the spirit of justice, Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood.
Rev. Gatewood was asked by email by this reporter to confirm that he, indeed, sent this email, but at prestige Monday evening , did not respond. 
In an Oct. 2nd story by the Associated Press, following reports of a second female former NCNAACP’er - this time a former 17-year-old intern from 2014 - coming forward to accuse Rev. Curtis Gatewood of sexual harassment, he issued a statement saying he was “deeply sorry”for the way his actions were perceived.
“While denying any kind of sexual assault or intentional sexual harassment,’ the AP story continued, he wrote that he didn’t “deny the feelings of my accusers.”
‘While I know I had no sexual intentions toward my accusers, the thought that either woman even felt slightly uncomfortable in the workplace is unfortunate.”
The AP reported that the young girl’s mother was told in 2014 that Gatewood allegedly had been linked to another complaint even then.