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.”

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