Monday, August 31, 2020


                                              CHIEF DONNIE WILLIAMS



By Cash Michaels

Staff writer

Unless either the city of Wilmington appeals, or someone else comes up with a novel legal approach, the “race war” tapes - Wilmington police car recordings of three white fired officers talking among themselves using racial slurs about African-Americans, and  possibly starting an armed conflict between Blacks and Whites in the Port City - will not be released to the public for them to hear for themselves.

A New Hanover County Superior Court judge August 27th ruled that despite the Wilmington Police Dept.’s intention of being transparent by releasing a transcript of what was said on the tape, and wanting to release the tapes themselves (police recordings in North Carolina are not considered public record, so only a court can release them), the tapes will remain out of the public domain.

In his ruling to withhold release of the tapes, Judge Josh Wiley remarked that the tapes were “…much more inflammatory when you listen to [them].”

Wiley was apparently agreeing with attorney Michael McGuinness, who was representing two of the three former officers.  Using civil unrest in the aftermath of the George Floyd police killing, and the more recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, McGuinness  painted a picture of citywide chaos in the streets, with WPD officers being targeted for retribution if the tapes were released.

Asst. City Attorney Daniel Thurston, on behalf the Wilmington Police Dept, argued that releasing the racist police conversations was important to “the healing process” in the city so that all could move on and citizens would have renewed trust in the WPD.

Officer James Gilmore, Cpl. Jesse Moore II and Officer Kevin Piner were all fired in June by Chief Donnie Williams after a police supervisor who routinely audited police vehicle recordings, came across their conversations and reported them to higher-ups.

All of the former officers admitted to what was documented on the tapes, but maintained that they were not racists.

Chief Donnie Williams issued a statement, accepting the court’s final decision:

“We petitioned the court to release this video in an effort to be transparent; however, we understand and support the judge’s decision. As I said in my statement on June 24: Please do not judge our agency based on the conduct of a few. We have great officers who go above and beyond to do what’s right, and I proudly stand with them and beside them.

We are all hurt by this incident. We are all angry. Let this be an opportunity for us to come together as a community and heal.

We will be stronger for it.


STATE NEWS BRIEFS for 09-03-20


[WILMINGTON] The artistic group Eighteen Forward is soliciting local artists to help create the “BLACK LIVES DO MATTER - END RACISM NOW” mural in Jervay Memorial Park that was recently approved by the Wilmington City Council. Applicants have until Friday, Sept. 4th at 5 p.m. to submit their concepts to Eighteen Forward. Letter assignments will be made September 8th, and must be completed by Sept. 26th. Al submissions should be sent to by Sept. 4th at 5 p.m.


[RALEIGH] Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday relaxed many of the Phase 2 COVID-19 restrictions he ordered in place tp limit the spread of the pandemic three months ago. As of 5 p.m. on Friday, outdoor playgrounds can reopen, museums and aquariums can operate at 50 percent capacity, gyms, bowling alleys and other indoor facilities can reopen at 30 percent capacity. Barfs will remain closed and masks will be required for anyone five or older.



[GREENSBORO] With the Nov. 3rd election just over two months away, North Carolinians may now request an absentee ballot online. Registered voters can go to to make their request.The ballots will be sent to voters as of Friday to fill out and send back. North Carolina is the first state in the nation to do so. Make sure you send yours back in plenty of time before the Nov. 3rd Election Day. Early voting in North Carolina is Oct. 15 to Oct. 31st.





By Cash Michaels

Special to the NCPA

 [WILMINGTON] From even before North Carolina native George Floyd was coldbloodedly killed by a Minneapolis police officer with a knee to his neck, the  coastal port city of Wilmington - a place where raging white supremacists violently overthrew elected black control in 1898 - was dealing with extraordinary racism, and clear evidence that black lives really didn’t matter.

 But few knew that, even in the midst of a deadly pandemic, that would dramatically have to change.

 It was May 3rd when an angry white mob with guns, led by an off-duty New Hanover County sheriff’s duty, would allegedly assault the home of a black family demanding entry in neighboring Pender County under the premise of searching for a missing girl. No one was hurt, but the incident deeply disturbed African-Americans who felt threatened in a national atmosphere where angry whites felt free to falsely and verbally attack blacks for exercising their constitutional rights.

 May 25th - the day that would literally rock the world when George Floyd fatally fell victim to outrageous police abuse in a disturbing video, igniting massive protests and demonstrations in cities all over the nation, including Wilmington.

 Police chiefs across the state join demonstrators in decrying the death of Floyd, and in some cases, as with then interim Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams, marched with them.

 Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets, taking up the rallying cry heard all over to end police violence, remove confederate statues that honored white supremacist legacies, and “defund the police”- a cry to take funding from the local law enforcement budget, and transfer it to more social service programs for the poor.

 BLM protesters in Wilmington also demanded the establishment of a civilian police review board, and the permanent appointment of Interim Chief Williams to head Wilmington law enforcement.

 On the night of June 24th, two confederate statues were removed from the downtown Wilmington area by order of city government, per the demands of many in the African-American community who complained that they were reminders of past white racism and oppression that still plagued black people in the Port City.

 That stunning news was then immediately followed by the welcomed announcement that Interim Chief Williams had indeed been made permanent to lead the police department, becoming the first African-American ever to do so.

 But then the shocker. On his first day as the permanent chief, Williams announced the termination of three veteran white Wilmington police officers who were unknowingly caught on a police vehicle recording using racial slurs to describe Black Lives Matter demonstrators, black police officers, a black magistrate, and even their new black police chief.

 And the officers were also caught using hate-filled speech, discussing starting a racial “civil war” to wipe blacks “off the f——-g map.”

 The New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David announced that after reviewing the tapes, he couldn’t find evidence of the officers breaking any state law, but he did call for s federal Justice Department investigation. He also made sure the former officers could not serve as witnesses in any of the 70 cases they were involved in.

 Chief Williams ensured that they could never work for the city of Wilmington again, and would be blackballed to ever work in any other North Carolina law enforcement agency. He also vowed that as long as he was police chief in Wilmington, he would not tolerate racist attitudes among his officers on the force.

 Recently it was reported that one of the former officers, James “Brian” Gilmore, is appealing his termination, claiming that the remarks he was fired for, about whites “worshipping” black protesters, were actually constitutionally “protected” religious speech, not racial. Gilmore wants his job back.

 Then on July 6th, the NC Clergy Truth and Reconciliation Mission filed a federal complaint against the ousted white officers with the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Justice Dept., seeking an investigation.

 Finally, on Monday, July 13th, the New Hanover Board of Commissioners, by a 3-2 vote, passed a resolution that was simply unthinkable before the death of George Floyd - declaring racism a “public health crisis.”

 “Racism has formed the basis for a public health crisis affecting our entire County and should be treated with urgency,” read the resolution in part. “This resolution calls upon legislators, health officials and others in our community to research and analyze data, and make meaningful changes to dismantle systemic racism. New Hanover County will seek to promote Racial equity….”

 And at that same meeting, the NHC Commission Board voted to change the name of Hugh McRae Park - originally named after a prominent white supremacist in Wilmington’s past - to Long Leaf Park. The sign was immediately dismantled the day after.

  On August 18th, after several weeks of explosive controversy, the Wilmington City Council voted 5-2 to adopt a one-year pilot project sponsoring a donated art installation in it’s downtown area that says, “BLACK LIVES DO MATTER - END RACISM NOW.”

 Days later, a New Hanover County judge ruled not to release video/audio recordings of three white former Wilmington police officers racially disparaging African-Americans, and arming themselves for a race war.

 In the span of just four months, Wilmington, given it’s torrid racial history, has seen the kind of transformative change no one could have imagined.

 The question now, and for the future, is, can it last?




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

In the midst of the nation surpassing over six million cases of COVID-19, North Carolina over 167,000, and major universities like UNC, Duke and NC State having to wrestle with growing clusters of infected students forcing them to rethink strategies since reopening, HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) across the state have had to manage.

How have they managed?

Most of North Carolina’s eleven HBCUs have strict health protocols for students and staff  for in-person instruction, if they’re open at all. Masks and social distancing are required. International study has been suspended, and where online instruction can be implemented for at least part of the fall semester, it is.

These schools are forced to operate amid unstable health environments in cities and counties that are themselves struggling to stem the spread. Why open at all? Because many of the small private institutions were in desperate need of revenue that only maximum student enrollments could bring them even before the pandemic. Not having students on campus now threatens that prospect - not being able to charge for dorm rooms, activities, sports, books , food etc. -  thus forcing these schools to manage the best way they can during a unforeseen health crisis none of them were prepared for.

Thus, for HBCUs like Livingstone, Shaw, and St. Augustine’s, the availability of coronavirus testing; PPE (personal protective equipment); proper personal hygiene practices are heavily promoted; available space for quarantining students and staff who may have been exposed; appropriate cleaning and sterilization of facilities; and adequate medical resources to accurately  assess the level of on-campus infection, have become musts until the pandemic is officially deemed to be under control in the larger local community.

Add to that the fact that African-Americans have a disproportionate prevalence to COVID-19 infection (blacks are 24% of NC cases), and it is not at all beyond possibility that several small black institutions may, in fact, not survive the pandemic due to economic pressures, say education experts.

And yet, as of Monday, the number of cases on North Carolina HBCU campuses have been relatively few compared to their larger counterparts.

Barber-Scotia College in Concord had a stark message on it’s website for this semester from it’s president, Melvin Douglass.

At this time the Barber-Scotia College's administrative team is requesting that faculty, students and staff, with the exception of essential staff, refrain from visiting the campus unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed. Thanks for understanding our desire to safeguard your health and comply with the state of emergency plan.

Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte has adopted remote online instruction for the fall semester. The school had originally planned to reopen campus after it shutdown in the spring.

Bennett College for Women in Greensboro has also decided not to reopen campus.

Larger state-supported HBCUs like NCCU, Winston-Salem State University, NC A&T, Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State University, face many of the same COVID-19 pressures as do their smaller counterparts, and by order of the UNC Board of Governors, have had to drastically cut their budgets because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At NC A&T University in Greensboro, rapid testing is now available for students as they become better oriented to the new safety requirements  of living and learning on-campus. A new app to track and trace COVID-19 is supposed to be ready via the NC Dept, of Health this month.

And if the pandemic spread becomes chronic on campus?

“We have policies that would allow us to refund student’s tuition, fees, housing, and dining within the normal policies of our university,” Chancellor Harold Martin told a local television station.

NC A&T University has 16 reported cases.

At NCCU in Durham, the football team is where COVID-19 has reared it’s head. Officials have isolated infected students, and is working with the local county health department to confirm the cluster (defined as at least five cases). All students who live in residence halls continue to be tested. And the university contracts with a local third-party vendors to other institutions, for all of it’s testing, tracing and consultation needs.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Poor and low-income North Carolinians are still at risk of having their electric and water cut off in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, says NCNAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, and that’s why he asked Gov. Roy Cooper this week to “…protect those low-income households most at risk of losing essential utility services.”

In an August 29th letter to the governor, Rev. Dr. Spearman warns that an earlier executive order protecting those seat able to pay for those utility services is running out.

“Over a million residential households that owed well over $200 million in unpaid utility bills as of the end of July are now at risk,” Dr. Spearman wrote. This is over doublet reports number of households that were unable to pay they rent bills from when I called on you to extend the moratorium at the end of May. And this number far exceeds the money currently available for utility bill payment assistance.”

“We must do more,” Spearman insists.

The NCNAACP leader maintains that despite previous executive orders from the governor seeking to help the situation for those who can’t afford to pay their outstanding utility bills, “…many households will nevertheless be unable to afford their past due utility bills and will face disconnection even as the summer heat continues.”

“Without access to electricity for air conditioning…[or] access to clean running water…many will be at a health risk,” Dr. Spearman maintains.

“This utility affordability crisis is not felt evenly across our communities. It disproportionately impacts low-wealth households, the elderly, and Black and Brown families,” Rev. Spearman went on.

“I ask tat you issue a new Executive Order to protect those low-income households most at-risk of losing essential utility services,” the civil rights leader requested. “The North Carolina State conference of the NAACP supports the ‘Income qualified shutoff moratorium and repayment plan replacing [previous executive orders] that was submitted to your office last week. This[is a]  targeted measure to protect those who have been thrown into financial turmoil because of the pandemic. This new order should also require the reconnection of those eligible households who were previously disconnected for nonpayment.”

Dr. Spearman continued that the proposed new executive order should remain in effect beyond the end of the State of Emergency declared “…to make sure that households have time to get back on they feet before facing risk of losing essential utility service.”


Tuesday, August 25, 2020






By Cash Michaels

Staff writer

Wilmington is joining the nation this Friday and Saturday in commemorating the 57th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

It was at that gathering on August 28,1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  made, perhaps, his most prolific speech famous for the ages - “I Have a Dream.”

Many years later it was determined that Dr. King actually first uttered those words and speech during a voter registration drive in Rocky Mount, NC in November 1962.

This year’s commemoration, sponsored locally by Black Lives Matter, the Wilmington Chapter of the National Black Leadership Caucus, and WOW (Women Organizing for Wilmington), will be held in two parts.

Part 1 - “ A Time of Unity, Love and Passion for Justice,” will kick off August 28th at 5:30 p.m. with a peaceful protest rally and tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis at the 1898 Monument, 1074 North 3rd Street.

Hosted by Pastor Donald mason, featured speakers will include tribute to John Lewis; Moral Monday arrestees, and music by Christa Faison. 

There will be voter registration. Masks are required, and social distancing will be encouraged.

Then the next day, Part 2 on Saturday, August 29th at 3 p.m., we will hear from civil rights pioneers who attended the March on Washington in 1963 with a virtual commemoration via Zoom, so you can attend from the safety of your home.

Host will be Cash Michaels of the Wilmington Journal.

The special guest will be award winning and veteran civil rights attorney Al McSurely of the NC NAACP. 

Atty. McSurely has been in the struggle fighting white supremacy for over 60 years. He has worked closely with Rev. Dr. William Barber and Dr. T. Anthony Spearman on Moral Mondays and Historic Thousands on Jones Street marches and rallies.

Join ZOOM at, 82559781866, Meeting ID: 825 5978 1866, phone :1-929-205-6099, Mtg ID: 825 5978 1866



If there’s one resounding theme we noticed reviewing hundreds of citizen emails sent to Wilmington City Council members about the teen proposed “BLACK LIVES MATTER” mural in downtown, is tat a whole lot of white folks here watch way too much Fox News.

Some of the responses were just pure fear mongering, with people believing that by adopting the now iconic social call for racial justice, let alone just acknowledging it, the city was giving undue legitimacy to a Communist-inspired “domestic terrorist” movement that was seeking to overthrow the United States, and thus, their precious way of life.

First of all, these fear mongers are proving the old adage that if it’s Black and not being controlled by anybody other than, then it is a threat.

Thus, Donald Trump, Atty. Gen. Bill Barr, and Fox News have all done excellent jobs demonizing a movement that has young people across this country a sense of purpose and positive engagement.

The record is clear, especially with our local Black Lives Matter group here in Wilmington, led by Sonya Patrick, that they are about bringing about strong, positive, social change through peaceful means.

Confronting the city of Wilmington about adopting what is now the “BLACK LIVES DO MATTER - END RACISM NOW” mural in Jervay Memorial Park was a way - given the Port City’s shameful history of the 1898 race massacre and frame up of the Wilmington Ten - for city leaders to begin to acknowledge in earnest something they wouldn’t have been caught dead acknowledging before - that African-Americans are full-fledged, contributing citizens of this great city…always have been, and always will be.

As long as Wilmington lives up to what is now a stated commitment to making sure that black lives DO matter, and ending racism as we know it is a serious goal.

But surprise, surprise! There are just some folks who refuse to buy into that, and they let their City Council member know it, and it’s our job to make sure we document it so that YOU know it too. Because it’s going to take much more that a one year pilot project art installation saying “BLACK LIVES DO MATTER - END RACISM NOW” to make those words true.

Our community stands at the ready to build and grow, just as long as we are treated equally in terms of jobs and small business opportunities. Read some of those emails like we did. It’s clear that the Fox News fear mongers around here think of Black people primarily as thugs, killers and rioters…not teachers, businesspeople, clergy, etc. 

They have been thoroughly brainwashed into thinking that as long as they have all of the power and make all of the critical decisions, we only deserve what they give us.


Working with allies, we got rid of those wretched Confederate and white supremacist statues; got some racist names changed on parks and roads; cleaning out our police department and have a Black educator now in charge of our county school system.







By Cash Michaels

Staff writer

There was plenty of tense debate before the Wilmington City Council last week passed a resolution, 5-2, to establish the art installation of “BLACK LIVES DO MATTER - END RACISM NOW,” in downtown Jervay Memorial Park near Third Street.

At one point leading up to the August 18th vote, Councilman Charles Rivenbark declared that installing any public mural referring to Black Lives Matter was “racist,” and that “ALL LIVES MATTER” would be more fitting.

Based on hundreds of citizen emails exclusively reviewed by The Journal sent to council members days before the vote, Rivenbark (one of two votes against the mural) had a lot of supporters with that view. 

What The Wilmington Journal review of those emails reveal is evidence of deep racial and social divisions among Port City residents, steeped in deeper fear and ignorance of exactly what Black Lives Matters means on the part of mural opponents.

All 500 pages of citizen emails to Wilmington City Council members are legally public record, meaning they can be published once formally released by the City Clerk’s office. 

The Journal asked the city for emails on the BLM mural issue sent to both Council members Kevin Spears and Charles Rivenbark between July 13th and July 23rd. We also received emails addressing the entire council.

For the purpose of this story, The Journal randomly selected a few representing both sides, and will only use the first names of citizens on emails quoted. They have been edited for publication.


To RIVENBARK - “All Lives Matter” implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they’re not,’ stated Michael0117. Clearly you are a product of white privilege, never having known what it’s like to live in fear of those who demean and make fun of you. I’m so sorry to see you personally carrying on the long tradition of racism in Wilmington. My mother was a Rivenbark, but I certainly hope it was a branch far, far removed from your ancestors. You’ll never get to “All Lives Matter” if the “Black Lives Matter” movement offends your racist bigotry.

To MAYOR SAFFO/COUNCIL - “Hearing one of our council members say the “Black Lives Matter” is racist made me laugh out loud,” wrote Jordyn. “ I laughed out of pity. I laughed out of despair. I laughed because he is so clearly out of touch with reality. He cannot possibly have any genuine friendships with black people that he truly cares about. If you know better, you do better. And what we know is that black people are telling us their stories. They are sharing with us their experiences. And their reality sucks. And it has sucked for a long time. The fact that leaders of our city, with a history of massacring black people, cannot validate those feelings an experiences is awful.”

         To SPEARS - “Thank you for considering the Black Lives Matter Art for Wilmington in the council meeting,” wrote Megan. I witnessed that it was not an easy discussion. As a white woman and resident of New Hanover County, I am writing to express my support of the art installation . I do not only support it, but feel it is of vital importance. I am trusting you are voting for the art. Thank you for all you do.

To RIVENBARK -  “I am a white woman,” wrote Denise. Sir, your statements regarding “All Lives Matter” are extremely upsetting to me. I reject them outright… husband and I are calling upon you to retract your statement and vote to do the right thing at tomorrow’s Wilmington City Council meeting. The Black Lives Matter sign belongs in Wilmington and a public area of expression that would allow untrue and discriminatory speech…which “All Lives Matter” certainly is…does not belong in Wilmington or anywhere else in my country.”

To COUNCIL - “If you put four people in a lineup, one White, Jewish, Asian and Black, which one has always mattered the least yesterday and today in the USA?,” asked James. “Who is the last hired but first fired? Which one started out working for less than minimum wages, work the hardest, and may never receive a raise? Who is suspected of stealing any time something is missing? Who is sentenced to the most prison time for the smallest non-violent crime/ it is time for a 360-degree change today the scientists call a metamorphosis and Christians call being born again.”


To RIVENBARK - “I fully support you. Your position is correct,” wrote Jim. White Lives Matter. Support of Black Lives Matter means you support thugs; intimidation of others; injuries to others; death to other; damage to property of others; lawlessness. Remain strong Mr. Rivenbark.

           To COUNCIL - “The current climate creates the unique opportunity to correct other wrongs of the past,” wrote Arthur Jr. Since Martin Luther King Jr. was not a resident of Wilmington, did not make any references to this area and did not donate any money to this area, I submit to you that Martin Luther King Parkway, formerly known as Smith creek Parkway, be renamed Charlie Daniels Parkway [after the late country singer] As a Wilmington native, Mr. Daniels lived his early life in and around the area, and memorialized the area in many of his songs.

To RIVENBARK - Have you listened to the masses of black conservatives and why they are against BLM?, asked Will S. ‘Anti having a father in the home (lifted on their website) and traditional family, which is the largest problem in the black community (and white communities, [and] all communities0, and the largest indicator of a young person doing drugs, going to jail , etc. etc….gangs.

[Councilman Rivenbark responded - Thank you for the information. The local BLM say that they are not a part of the national group but I really believe that they are and that bothers me.]

To SPEARS -  “There are no words to describe how untoward this plan is for the citizens of Wilmington,” wrote Karen. We have witnessed days, weeks and months of the anarchy this group has perpetuated all across our United States of America! It’s truly unfortunate and criminal what happened to George Floyd on Memorial Day of this year! But, should we as law abiding, tax paying residents of Wilmington continue to endure the strife of what happened forever?

To COUNCIL - “ There is no logical reason to bow to their Marxist programming,” wrote Robert. As a city, it is your jobs to protect and support everyone, not just black lives…..Please do not allow domestic terrorists to inject they poison. Follow the oath of office.  Do your job without influence. Fair to all. Thanks.



                                                             JACOB BLAKE





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The latest black victim of police brutality to make national headlines - just like George Floyd last May - has strong ties to North Carolina.

Jacob Blake, 29, who was repeatedly shot by two Kenosha, Wisconsin police officers in the back as he tried to enter his SUV Sunday evening, grew up in Winston-Salem as a youth, before moving to Evanston, Illinois to attend middle and high school, the Chicago Sun-Times reported this week.

Three of his children were in the back seat when he was shot.

In an interview with Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake ( the grandfather is Rev. Jacob Blake Sr.), the young man was struck eight times in the back by police bullets, and is paralyzed from the waist down. 

According to witnesses, young Blake was trying to break up a fight when police arrived at the scene. A cellphone video shows Blake walking around from the sidewalk to the driver’s side of his car where some of his family was.

Two police officers follow Blake around as well. When he opened the driver’s door , one of the officers who followed him grabbed his T-shirt to stop him, then both opened fire at close range. At least seven shots were heard on the video.

As of Monday, Blake’s father told the Sun-Times that “…there are eight holes” in his son’s body, and doctors had not said whether the paralysis will be permanent.

The older Blake was driving from Charlotte, NC to the hospital in  Kenosha to arrive on Tuesday to be with his son. 

I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” his father said. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son,” he told the Sun-Times.

Young Blake is the father  of six children between the ages of six and 13. He had been living in Kenosha for the last three years. He has seven brothers and five sisters.

Blake’s grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Blake Sr., was the pastor of Ebenzer African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is credited with leading a fair housing march in Evanston in 1968. Jacob Blake Manor, a low-income housing project for senior citizens, is named after Rev. Blake.

Wisconsin’s governor has denounced the shooting, but Kenosha authorities are investigating.

Meanwhile Kenosha has experienced several straight nights of violence and burning of property.






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Two North Carolina Congressional members collided Monday during the Democrat-led U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform six-hour hearing examining whether Greensboro native Louis DeJoy, the U.S. Postmaster General, is deliberately ramping down postal service nationwide at the behest of President Donald Trump in order delay mail-in ballots for the upcoming November 3rd presidential elections.

Republican Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC-6) of Greensboro formerly introduced DeJoy during the hearing Monday, touting him as a respected businessman, philanthropist and community leader. The goal - to counter widespread media portrayals of DeJoy as a major Trump donor and loyalist installed last June to take control of the U.S. Postal Service in time to influence the flow of mail-in ballots.

Indeed, Walker joined the Republican cry that any talk of mail slowdowns was just Democratic party hysterics designed to win the election.

“[Speaker] Nancy Pelosi has called a faux emergency session to push a conspiracy theory through the halls of Congress without facts nor merit," Walker said in a August 22 release just before Democrats in the House Saturday passed a measure prohibiting the U.S. Postal Service from deliberately slowing down the mail. "Let this be clear: While millions of Americans are desperately waiting for Pelosi and Schumer to stop holding up coronavirus relief negotiations and help their small businesses, Democrats are instead intent on sporting tin foil hats and promoting baseless narratives."

“I’m not engaged in sabotaging the elections,” DeJoy told the Congressional Committee, while at the same time giving Democrats a flat “No” when they asked him to stop removing mailboxes from street corners and mail sorting machines from mail processing centers, thus slowing down mail deliveries.

An internal Postal Service report the committee obtained not only confirmed much of what has been alleged but mail service slowdowns, but documents that it has actually gotten worse since July.

Democrat Rep. Alma Adams [D-NC-12], who used to represent Rep. Walker’s district before she was forced to move to Charlotte because of redistricting, was the last to question DeJoy.

Adams, like many of her fellow Democrats before, noted how senior citizens in her district were concerned about not getting their medication through the mail on time. She asked about U.S. mail boxes in Charlotte that were covered with garbage bags (which she showed a picture of) to prevent the insertion of letters and packages.

The recurring theme I kept hearing from Postmaster General DeJoy was 'I don't know'," said Congresswoman Adams in a press release afterwards. “He doesn't know how many blue boxes were taken. He doesn't know why our Veterans are getting their medications late, or why goods that our small businesses rely on are arriving spoiled. He doesn't know the cost of Priority Mail or the kind of stamp he needs to mail a postcard. He doesn't know if his own mail is coming. The fact is: he just don’t know. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Postmaster General, not knowing is not good enough." 

The U.S. Senate is not likely to even take up the House bill passed Saturday.





An analysis by  Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

With the death toll from the deadly coronavirus  in the United States quickly approaching 200,000, most Americans remain concerned about how many more will fall victim.

But, if a recent poll is to be believed, apparently not Republicans.

According to a CBSNews Battleground Tracker Poll taken Aug. 19-21,  2, 226 registered voters across the country were asked if they found the startling current death toll from COVID-19 “acceptable or not acceptable.”

90 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents answered “unacceptable.”

But for 57 percent of Republicans questioned, the fact that over 176,000 Americans have died since COVID-19 came to these shores earlier this year was “acceptable.”

Interestingly, 64% of GOP’ers day the number of coronavirus deaths reported is false and not that high. 73% of Republicans polled agree that the Trump Administration is managing the fight against the virus “well,” compared to just 27% of Democrats.

According to CBS, Republicans add, “The virus elicits less concern…” to them, because they don’t feel as affected.

But people of color, who tend to be predominately Democrat, do, and with good reason.

According to a report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July, two-thirds of COVID-19 deaths in the United States are disproportionately Black and Hispanic among those under the age of 65.

The researchers looked at data from more than 10,000 coronavirus patients whose deaths were reported from February 12 to May 18, and found that more than one-third of deceased patients under 65 were Hispanic and another 30% were Black,” reported the Business Insider last July.

“The fact that most young people dying of COVID-19 in the US are people of color highlights the racial disparities at play in the pandemic,” the Business Insider continued.

As has been stated before, most communities of color tend to have large families who live in clusters, or who mostly work in service industry employment such as grocery stores or factory workers which give them greater exposure of infection.

Add to that that communities of color have poorer health outcomes because of high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity, some of which are brought on by environmental influences.

Ultimately, the poor health conditions in the Black and Hispanic communities are the result of racism, most experts agree, leading back to political policies that do not promote healthy outcomes.

Pres. Trump, who accepted the Republican Party’s renomination this week to run for re-election in November, is heralded by his supporters as being a non-racist, even though his words, actions and policies have targeted the Black and Hispanic communities.

Ironically, the most famous Black Republican to die because of the coronavirus is former presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Cain reportedly contracted the virus at a Trump rally in Tulsa, Okla a few months ago.

He proudly and boldly sat in the audience, cheering Trump on, without a protective mask. He did not believe he needed one.


Tuesday, August 18, 2020




[RALEIGH] Gov. Roy Cooper this week signed an Executive Order

to "implement fair chance policies" by prohibiting any inquiry into an applicants prior criminal history. Called “banning the box,” Cooper’s order allows state job applicants tp skip checking the box on the application asking about criminal records.. "People will get a chance to shine and show themselves on their own merit when they're going through the employment process," the governor said.”There’s a wealth of talent out there, a wealth of people who’ve made a mistake who are now about to come back into society who could be good employees."


[GREENSBORO] Amid all of the controversy about the U.S. mail being deliberately being slowed down in order to influence the November 3rd presidential election, some North Carolinians found a surprise in their mailboxes this week - absentee ballot request forms with Republican Pres. Donald Trump’s picture on them. The words under Trump’s picture ask, “ Ae you going to let the Democrats silence you? Act now to stand with President Trump!” Reportedly, the form is not from the State Board of Elections, but is approved by the SBOE. The forms themselves are fine and can be used. The mailers were sent by the NC Republican Party.


[CHARLOTTE] The state’s moratorium on paying your utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic is about to end. Duke Energy is urging all past due customers to settle their outstanding bills soon in order to stave off disconnections of service. Customers have until Sept. 1st. to hold back payments, and Duke will even grant 30 days after that. But that, unless you make payment arrangements, all payments are due, the utility says. Duke will continue to waive late fees, until further notice.






By Cash Michaels

Staff writer

As of Tuesday night, the city of Wilmington has agreed to go on record that “BLACK LIVES DO MATTER - END RACISM NOW,” thanks to the City Council’s 5-2 vote.

For at least one year anyway. 

In what has been called a temporary “pilot project,” the city will accepted the donation of the BLM art installation, which will be large 8x4 letters at Jervay Memorial Park near Third street and the 1898 Memorial.

After an almost two month delay from when the original BLM Third Street mural was introduced, Councilman Kevin Spears was pleased after the vote the the issue had been favorably and finally been decided.

“It’s politics,” he conceded, acknowledging that he wanted “BLACK LIVES MATTER - END RACISM NOW,” but if adding “DO” got the job done, he’s fine with it.

“You have to give a little to get a little, and…overall, I’m satisfied.”

“It’s a small gesture to Black citizens and their allies, and to send a message to other municipalities across the nation, and people all over the world that we want to be a part of the change,” Spears told The Journal.

One person seemingly in desperate need of that message is conservative Councilman Charles Rivenbark, one of two votes against mural after earlier calling it “racist.”

At Tuesday night’s Council meeting, Rivenbark’s opposition was in full flourish.

“To think that Black lives don’t matter is folly,” he said in opposition. “I mean, it’s ludicrous. And it makes me think that they don’t think that much of themselves, if they’ve got to have a sign out there that says Black Lives Matter, I can’t get my head wrapped around it.” 

Spears firmly chided his colleague for his remarks, noting that it’s that attitude that necessitates erecting the mural.

“With the [1898 race massacre] history that we have , I think it’s essential,” Spears told the Journal. There will be inspiration for a lot of generations. They’ll come through and say, “You know what? Anything is possible.”

“They’re going to be inspired to try new things…push against resistance. For my generation it’s ,’It’s never too late to get involved.

Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the New Hanover County NAACP was leery of the Council vote, but still pleased that it leaned in the right way.

The City Council of Wilmington forced constant compromise on the placement and wording of a Black Lives Matter Mural,” Dicks-Maxwell told The Journal. “It will now be placed obscurely so as the old adage goes"out of sight, out of mind." It is disappointing that in 2020 this has occurred. Thank you to Councilman Kevin Spears for forging the way to this point.”

Ms. Dicks-Maxwell also had some choice words for Charlie Rivenbark.

“The remark of "those people" by Councilman Rivenbark was insulting and degrading to every person of color and our allies in this city. It shows that he really needs the implicit bias training that was recommended by the Community Relations Advisory Committee. I will not say his name but say to the people of Wilmington he showed you who he was and do not forget. So now more than ever before you need to get out and early vote,” she said.







By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

After pointed threats to have both his job and his head if he didn’t straighten out the mess with the U.S. mail service, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Tuesday, a Greensboro native, did an abrupt about-face, ordered all “cost-cutting initiatives” postponed until after the Nov. 3rd general elections.

Not only was DeJoy, a top contributor to the Trump campaign, facing two Congressional hearings - the first a senate hearing this Friday - but he was also looking down the barrel of litigation from at least 20 states seeking to stop his disruptions of mail service.

“In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic,” DeJoy said in a statement. “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”

DeJoy, who took over as postmaster in June, found himself the target of extraordinary heat from congressional leaders after President Trump openly bragged that he was undermining the U.S. Postal Service because he believed that mail-in balloting was “corrupt” and a ploy by Democrats to seize power from him.

That admission caused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to recall House members from their August recess to deal with the matter, especially after Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) was among the first to call for DeJoy’s resignation.

'The mail is piling up, and the moves that he has made and the changes that he has made have really created problems in terms of our mail not getting out,' Adams told WFAE-FM last week. 'I think it’s a move to really dismantle the post office but also more than to disrupt this election.'"

This week, it’s virtually every Democrat in Congress, even in the U.S. Senate, who is calling for  DeJoy to be fired amid the growing catastrophe threatening to delay the U.S. mail to tens of millions of Americans, just because President Donald Trump says he fears losing because of mail-in voting.

DeJoy, one of Trump’s top campaign fundraisers and donors,  is also being hauled before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on August 24th to answer tough questions about some of the changes he’s implemented in mail service, changes designed to slow service down.

Rep. Adams will be questioning DeJoy during that session, she announced Tuesday during her “Don’t Mess with the USPS” press conference.

"Let me say this plain and clear," said Rep. Adams at her presser Tuesday. "If we determine during that hearing that the Postmaster General has deliberately harmed USPS; if this wealthy Republican donor Louis DeJoy has intentionally slowed down your mail and broken the trust between the Postal Service and its customers, the American people; then the House of Representatives should file articles of impeachment against him, and I will gladly lead the charge."

The Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service is also investigating reports that DeJoy owns businesses associated with the U.S. Postal Service, which many see as a conflict of interest.

DeJoy is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee  Monday along with Robert Duncan, current chair of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, and past chair of the Republican National Committee.

When DeJoy does testify, he’ll be asked about the reported removal of over 600 mail sorting machines from processing centers across the country; the elimination of overtime for postal employees; mailboxes being removed from street corners  in various states, the removal of over 30 postal executives from their positions overseeing day-to-day operations; and a letter last week to 46 states warning that mail-in ballots may not arrive in time be counted by Election Day, Nov. 3rd because of cutbacks in service.

“The American people want their mail, medicines, and mail-in ballots delivered in a timely way, and they certainly do not want drastic changes and delays in the midst of a global pandemic just months before the election,” said Rep. Caroline Maloney, (D-NY) chairwoman  of the House Oversight Committee.

Last Sunday, protestors gathered in front of DeJoy’s home in Greensboro, demeaning that he step down as head of the U.S. Postal service.

Ironically, Pres. Trump himself, during a Saturday night press conference in New Jersey, admitted to reporters that DeJoy “doesn’t know what he’s doing.” DeJoy had no previous experience with the U.S. Postal Service before his appointment.

On Monday, Congresswoman Adams, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and 173 other House Democrats sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy, saying in part, “The House is seriously concerned that you are implementing policies that accelerate the crisis at the Postal Service, including directing Post Offices to no longer treat all election as First Class. If implemented now, as the election approaches, this policy will cause further delays to election mail that will disenfranchise voters and put significant financial pressure on election jurisdictions.”

The House Democrats’ letter to DeJoy continued, “Because many states have traditionally allowed voters to request absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots within a few days of the election, it is essential that standard delivery times remain short and pricing remain consistent.”





In what has been hailed as an “historic” ruling, the NC Supreme Court on Friday ruled in a 4-3 decision that a Black convicted murderer should not have been returned to death row after he had been re-sentenced to life in prison without parole under the now defunct Racial Justice Act, a Lew that the Republican-led NC General Assembly repealed in 2013.. Doing so amounted to legal “double-jeopardy,” the High Court said, especially after it was proven that Black jurors were “intentionally denied the right to serve on his jury” by white prosecutors.

The 29-page decision came in the case of Marcus Robinson, the first inmate to claim, and prove under the RJA that his 1994 capital conviction for a Fayetteville murder was racially-biased because prosecutors found ways to keep African-Americans off of his jury.

Robinson’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole in 2012 as a result, but the GOP  repealed the RJA a year later, voiding all cases already decided in court, and dismissing any pending cases.

By effectively throwing out Robinson’s commutation, the legislature put him back on death row, thus violating his Constitutional protection against double-jeopardy, the state’s Supreme Court said Friday.

"Once the trial court found that Robinson had proven all of the essential elements under the RJA to bar the imposition of the death penalty…,” wrote Chief Justice Cherie Beasley in the majority decision, “… he was acquitted of that capital sentence, jeopardy terminated, and any attempt by the State to reimpose the death penalty would be a violation of our state’s constitution."

“Robinson’s claims under the RJA do not negate or diminish his guilt or the impact of his crimes on the victim’s family, the victim’s friends, and the community,” Chief Justice Cheri Beasley wrote. “Rather, the Act ensured that even those who commit the most serious offenses are entitled to a trial and sentencing free from racial discrimination.” 

Justices Mike Morgan, Anita Earls and Robin Hudson all joined Beasley in the majority decision.

The court’s only Republican, Justice Paul Newby, who is running to unseat Chief Justice Cheri Bealey, was one of three dissenters. He wrote, “

"Apparently, in [the majority’s] view, the law is whatever they say it is," The votes of the four justices prevent defendant’s execution for murder. It appears, however, that three justices may have a larger purpose: to establish that our criminal justice system is seriously – and perhaps irredeemably – infected by racial discrimination."

Newby wanted Robinson’s case to be returned to the trial court in order to give the state a chance to appeal.

Instead of doing the legally correct thing, the majority opinion picks its preferred destination and reshapes the law to get there," Justice Newby wrote.

Still, defendants’ rights advocates hailed the decision.

“This is one of the most important decisions I’ve ever seen from our state Supreme Court,” said Center for Death Penalty Litigation Executive Director Gretchen Engel. “It seems that Justice Beasley and her colleagues intend to make good on the promise that no person should be executed if race was a factor in their death sentence. This is a critical issue of racial justice, both for people on death row and for African Americans seeking to participate in our democracy. It’s heartening to see the court recognizing that fact, in all its difficulty and complexity, and taking bold action.”  

This state High Court ruling comes three months after it ruled in State v. Ramseur that over 100 death row cases that applied for consideration under the RJA should hav their day in court.


                                                            SEN. KAMALA HARRIS




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

No sooner last week had Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his historic choice of Sen. Kamala Harris to be “a heartbeat away” from the presidency should he win in November, than Pres. Trump led a parade of racial detractors to tear the vice presidential candidate down, and apart.

"I heard it today that she doesn't meet the (citizenship) requirements,”  Trump told the White House Press Corps last week, “..and by the way, the lawyer who wrote the (controversial Newsweek Magazine) piece (calling Harris’s eligibility into question) is highly qualified, very talented. I assumed the Democrats would've checked that out before she gets chosen for vice president"

Newsweek later had to apologize to it’s readers for publishing the disparaging op-ed, especially after it was discovered that the attorney who wrote it lost out in his bid for California attorney general the same year Harris won.

For the record, Sen. Kamala Harris - the first black woman ever to be vice presidential candidate for a major political party -  was born in Oakland, Calif. on October 20, 1964 to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, but activists in the ‘60s civil rights movement, so there is no doubt about her citizenship. 

She was born on U.S. soil.

And there is little doubt about her blackness, given that her father was Jamaican. In fact, as is well known by now, Harris chose attending the legendary HBCU, Howard University in Washington, D.C., to further immerse herself in her heritage and culture.

She later graduated law school, and eventually was elected as District Attorney for San Francisco in 2003, and later California State Attorney General in 2010 and 2014.

It was 2018 when Harris won a seat in the U.S. Senate, but had to fold up her underfunded campaign for president earlier this year before the Democratic primaries began, though she did make her presence known during the contentious debates when she confronted former Vice President Joe Biden about his past history as a U.S. senator who opposed racial school busing.

Yet none of Kamala Harris’ personal American history mattered to her critics.

Trump called her “nasty” and “mean” for her tough Senate panel questioning of members of his administration.

And her black critics blasted her on social media for not being “Black” enough, and having a white husband.

Sen. Harris, in an interview with The, recently fired back, saying that she expects “dirty tactics” from her detractors, and noting that the election isn’t about her or her background, but the issues everyday Americans are struggling through in the face of racial injustice, economic uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have to meet people where they are and address their needs,” Harris, who was officially nominated as the vice presidential candidate during the 2020 virtual Democratic National Convention this week,  is quoted as saying. 

“You may not fall in love with who you’re voting for, but if you just look down on a piece of paper at the issues that are impacting you every day.”

“Whether you’ve got relatives who have been impacted by the COVID virus, you’re unemployed or trying to get that extra check that unemployment, that six hundred dollars. Or you look at who’s going to pay attention to whether the Black community is going to have equal access to a vaccine when it’s created … There is so much on the line in this election,” Sen. Harris said.

The General Election is Nov. 3rd. Early Voting in North Carolina begins Oct. 15 and ends Oct. 31st. North Carolina will mail out ballots on Sept. 4th.