Monday, January 25, 2021


STATE NEWS BRIEFS for 01-28-21


[RALEIGH] State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen apologized Monday during a teleconference with hospitals and county health departments statewide for COVID-19 vaccine distribution delays and projected shortages. Facilities and been getting week-to-week deliveries of vaccine supply, but that practice made it difficult to plan ahead. As a result, they’ve had to cancel vaccine shot appointments. Dr. Cohen said the state will now assure a three-week minimum supply for planning.  


[WASH.] Calling it a “dangerous precedent,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) says he’s opposed to holding a trial for former President Donald Trump for his part in allegedly inciting the Jan. 6th siege of the U.S. Capitol because Trump is no longer in office.  U.S. House managers earlier this week delivered an article of impeachment to the Senate as constitutionally required for trial. Republican senators have made clear that if the trial is held,  a majority of them will vote to acquit Trump.


[RALEIGH] Because neither political party received at least two percent of the November 2020 vote, neither the Green nor the Constitution parties will appear on North Carolina ballots in the future, because they’re no longer recognized in the state. That also means North Carolinian voter can no longer affiliate with either party. On feb. 23rd, the State Board of Elections will meet to decide if those voters who currently are affiliated will transition to unaffiliated status. That change is constitutionally mandated to occur ninety days after the November election.


                                                             DAMEON SHEPARD




By Cash Michaels

Staff writer

After eight long months, a Black Pender County woman and her teenage son will have their day in court soon to tell how an off-duty New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy - in uniform -  and several armed accomplices, tried to force their way into the Black family’s home, allegedly looking for  a missing girl the group falsely believed was being held there.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Monica and Dameon Shepard of Rocky Point Tuesday in Pender County Superior Court, alleging that now former deputy Jordan Kita and “…a mob of known and unknown white residents…attempted to forcibly enter” the Shepards’ home on the late evening of May 3, 2020.

Also named in the lawsuit, Timothy Kita, Jordon Kita’s father who was also present during the raid; one of the other allegedly armed participants, Robert Austin Wood; and eleven “John and Jane Does,” indicating the other unknown members of the “mob’ that descended on the Shepards’ home.

Their names are expected to be revealed during discovery prior to trial.

The Shepards “demand” a jury trial to determine the extent of their financial and punitive damages.

According to the lawsuit, “This case is a present-day example of the long and ugly history of white mobs acting with impunity and reckless disregard in the extrajudicial pursuit of Black Americans. Like the thousands of victims of KKK night rides or lynch mobs in the Jim Crow era, Plaintiff Monica Shepard and her teenage son Dameon, 19, were terrorized by Defendants’ actions, which constitute trespass, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, interference with civil rights, and violation of the right to fair housing.

The suit goes on to document how Kita, leading the mob in uniform and with his service revolver, “…attempted to forcibly enter the Rocky Point home of the Shepards, but was at first denied entry by the teenage son, Dameon.

“The mob claimed to be looking for a Black teenager who lived at the Shepards’ address because they believed he was with a relative of Kita’s who had been missing for a few hours…,” the lawsuit states.

          “Although Plaintiff Dameon Shepard repeatedly explained that they had the wrong house and that he was not the person they were looking for, Defendants continued to harass and intimidate Dameon, and tried to force their way into his home.”

The suit continued, “Plaintiff Monica Shepard also explained that they had the wrong house, but the Defendants continued their threatening presence and again tried to force their way inside. Monica refused to let them enter her home.”

The Pender County Sheriff Dept. was called, but when deputies arrived, they made no arrests of the threatening mob, the lawsuit contends, and didn’t even attempt to identify anyone.

“Coming just three months after the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, and two months after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor late at night by three white plain clothed police officers after forcibly entering Taylor’s apartment (another wrong address), Defendants’ actions terrified Plaintiffs Monica and Dameon Shepard. The racialized context of Defendants’ attack on Plaintiffs’ home, the historical legacy of white mob violence against African Americans, and the failure of Pender County Sheriff Deputies to properly respond inform the nature of this action,” the lawsuit alleges.

It is also alleged that a captain with the Sheriff’s Dept. tried to smooth over the terrifying incident twice with the Shepards both that night, and the next day, ben though he was told that the mob was armed. “He told the Shepards that it was complicated to apprehend or arrest anyone who had been there the previous night.” He later tried to talk Ms. Shepard out of pressing charges or pursuing the matter.

“The following day at approximately 3:00 p.m., Attorney Jim Lea delivered a letter to the District Attorney for Pender and New Hanover County, as well as to Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler and New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon, demanding a full investigation into the incident at the Shepard residence,” the suit states.
“The next day, at approximately 4:00 p.m., New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon, Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler, and New Hanover/Pender County District Attorney Ben David held a press conference in which they announced charges had been brought against two of the Defendants.”
         “ New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department terminated Defendant Jordan Kita’s employment and charged him with misdemeanor willful failure to discharge duties, misdemeanor forcible trespass (common law), and misdemeanor breaking and entering.”

The lawsuit continued, “Defendant Wood was also charged with going armed to the terror of the people”
         “No other arrests have been made since that time, although the New Hanover and Pender District Attorney’s office and Pender County Attorney’s office have suggested that some type of investigation into the incident is ongoing.”

The lawsuit also notes that the Pender Sheriff’s Dept., which took part in helping to search for the missing girl that the kites were looking for, gave them “permission” to search in the neighborhood where the Shepards lived.

The suit notes North Carolina’s “long history’ of mob violence against Black people, including the 1898 race massacre.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Shepard family by the Lawyer Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of Washington, D.C. , and the Lea/Schultz Law Firm, P.C. of Wilmington.

There was no response to the lawsuit from Jordan Kita or his family, or attorneys representing them at press time Wednesday. Defendants in lawsuits usually have thirty days to respond from the date of the initial filing.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

After the police killing last May of George Floyd, activists with Black Lives Matter and other coalition groups took to the streets of the nation demanding to “Defund the Police,” seeking to reduce the ability of police departments to kill innocent African-Americans.

But if a special investigation by a Durham television station is accurate, several NC police and sheriffs departments have received upwards of $44 million in surplus military equipment over the past year.

What’s more interesting is that those local police agencies paid next to nothing for surplus weapons, machetes, rifles, riot shields, and even vehicles.

It’s called the “1033 Program,” which, according to the Duke University Center for Firearms Laws, is a federal program that “…allows the DoD (U.S. Dept. of Defense) to transfer its excess property to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies at no cost other than what is required for transfer and maintenance. This property includes “vehicles, helicopters, weapons, ammunition and other property that is needed by law enforcement agencies.”

The program is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 1997, and originally was supposed to be an aid in the War on Drugs, giving local police agencies comparable firepower to the automatic weapons and other armaments carried by street gangs guarding their drug territories.

In 2019, 92% of the military property given to local police agencies was considered “non-controlled,” meaning things like computers, furniture, sleeping bags, etc.

8%, however, was considered “controlled” property because it involved weapons, helicopters, and even night vision equipment. It should be no surprise that the percentage of controlled property to local law enforcement agencies has been rising, says the Duke Center.

According to the Duke Center, as of 2020, $7.4 billion worth of federal armament has been transferred to 8,200 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in 49 states, including North Carolina.

The national public first became aware of how widespread the program was when they saw the Ferguson, Mo. Police Dept. roll armored tanks down the street to deal with civil unrest there in the aftermath of the Michael Brown police shooting.

President Obama issued an Executive Order to reform the program  and add more scrutiny shortly after, but when Pres. Trump took office in 2017, he rescinded that order, allowing the program to continue unfettered.

Still, there are items that have been removed from the list of controlled property DoD is able to transfer to local police agencies, including “[A]ny aircraft, vessels or vehicles that inherently contain weaponry, (e.g. tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, armed drones); crew served/large caliber (.50 caliber or greater) weapons and ammunition; military uniforms; body armor; Kevlar helmets; and explosives or pyrotechnics of any kind.”

Still, according to Durham TV station WTVD-11, “While the bulk of items are relatively mundane (first aid kits, clothing, computers, office supplies and even a popcorn maker), data obtained … also shows armored vehicles, machetes, rifles and riot shields among tens of thousands of individual items transferred from the U.S. military to North Carolina law enforcement agencies.”

A quick look at the list of what North Carolina police and sheriff departments have been getting from the U.S. military includes rifles for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Dept. since 2004; rifles and mine  resistant vehicle  (valued at $658,000 ) for the Guilford County Sheriff's dept; two all-terrain vehicles for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Dept; and a metal detector and freezer for the Pender County Sheriff’s Dept.

Many of North Carolina’s more remote and rural counties got weapons and vehicles.






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

If you were under any impression that the Republicans have ceased their voter suppression efforts after trying unsuccessfully to overturn the Nov. 2020 presidential election results, guess again.

If anything, the fact that incumbent Republican Pres. Donald Trump decidedly lost to Democrat Joe Biden - in addition to the stunning victories by two Georgia Democrats earlier this month - has inspired Republican-led legislatures across the nation to ramp up efforts to establish tighter controls over voter mechanisms in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and of course, the granddaddy of them all, North Carolina.

The objective? Not to ferret out alleged “rampant” voter fraud, which Republicans maintain - without evidence - has corrupted the system, but to ensure more GOP electoral victories.

With the next critical national election just around the corner - namely the 2022 midterm elections - Democratic voting rights attorney Marc Elias said it best recently on Twitter.

If you don't think that voter suppression is the GOP's top priority for 2021-22, then you aren't paying attention.”

Republican-led states are looking to eliminate no-excuse mail-in voting and voting drop boxes, as well as establish voter I.D laws and other restrictions that would make it harder, not easier for African-Americans and other communities of color to cast ballots.

In North Carolina, state Republicans, who still maintain control of both chambers of the General Assembly, are eagerly awaiting two court cases - one federal, one state - dealing with the future of North Carolina’s 2018 voter ID law. 

Per the federal case, the Fourth Circuit recently dumped a federal judge’s temporary injunction against the 2018 voter ID law until an upcoming hearing. The state case hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders in the NC legislature are reportedly prepared to introduce new restrictive voting laws during the current session.

North Carolina’s anti-Democrat conservatives have already started their disinformation campaign to boost Republican efforts, by attempting to rewrite well-documented recent history.

This week, Amy Cooke, the new CEO of the Raleigh-based right-wing think-tank the John Locke Foundation, issued the latest of her weekly video commentaries, claiming that “…reporters and left-wing activists have misused the words “almost surgical precision” regarding a US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the 2013 NC voter ID law regarding how African-American voters were targeted for suppression.

Cooke maintains that the phrase is used to “distort Republicans’ record,” adding there was no proof GOP legislative leaders were racially targeting “anyone.”

“With two Trump appointees, and one Obama judge, the Fourth Circuit restored voter ID for North Carolina,” Cooke says. “And depending on a separate case in state court, the state could have voter ID for the next election (2022). With the 2021 legislative session just starting, I’m sure there will be more debate about voter ID and redistricting.”

Not so fast, says atty. Irving Joyner, who was actually led the NCNAACP legal team who got the 2013 voter ID law overturned.

Based on the totality evaluation, which the 4th Circuit conducted, that three-judge [appellate] panel concluded the General Assembly’s assaults on Early Voting, Out of Precinct Voting, same day registration and voting, pre-registration by 16 and 17 year-olds and the imposition of a stringent  Photo Voter Identification Requirement were intentionally directed at blunting the increasing voting political participation by African Americans in this State’s political process. Based on this legally mandated totality assessment, the 4th Circuit concluded that the General Assembly had acted with surgical precision to curtail those voting procedures which had been heavily utilized by African American voters.”

As evidence, Joyner reminds us that Republican lawmakers requested specific information on what kinds of photo identification Black voters were likely to have, and the crafted the 2015 law to disallow those specific forms of ID.

Republicans took note of Black voters favoring early voting, then cut the number of days they could do it, plus eliminated “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting.

They also eliminated same -day registration/voting, and other aspects of early voting favoring African-Americans.

“The John Locke analysis is distorted and is designed to mislead those persons who listen to it,” atty . Joyner continued. “I am sure that we will hear this ill-informed analysis again as the General Assembly returns to efforts to curtail the constitutional right and opportunities of African Americans and racial minorities to vote.”

“Presently, the NC NAACP is challenging the latest effort by the General Assembly to impose a Photo ID requirement in federal court. Initially and in response to this challenge, an injunction was issued in favor of those Plaintiffs which prevented the use of these Photo IDs during the past elections. That injunction was recently dissolved by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals after the November elections, but that decision is presently being appealed. In a separate and independent challenge to the photo ID requirement which was filed in State Court, another injunction has been issued and that decision remains in place while the appeal in the 4th Circuit continues.”

Atty. Joyner concluded, “The suggestion that a restoration of a Photo ID requirement is right around the corner is idle speculation. The NC NAACP is committed to fighting against this Photo ID requirement until hell freezes over.”


Monday, January 18, 2021





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Wednesday was a bittersweet day for Congressman G.K. Butterfield.

Naturally, the North Carolina First District Democrat was elated to see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris sworn-in as president and vice-president respectively, bringing with them the promise to heal a badly broken nation trying to recover from four-years of the Republican Trump Administration.

Harris becoming the first African-American woman sworn-in as Vice President was particularly gratifying, as well.

But Rep. Butterfield had a hard time enjoying the inaugural festivities. The U.S. Capitol, which fourteen days prior was the scene of the Trump-inspired violent white insurrection, was an armed camp Inauguration Day, with the Secret Service, National Guard, Capitol Police and other forces on high alert for any attempt to disrupt the proceedings.

There was no 500,000 people-plus crowd extending to the National Mall (like Pres. Obama’s first inauguration in 2009), and though held outside, guests where subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

Still, Congressman Butterfield was thankful for the positive change in leadership.

‘I am excited about the Biden Administration,” the eight-term Democrat exclaims, noting that he supported the former vice president from the very beginning. Butterfield was pleased that Biden “a very elaborate, very detailed” plan for Black America due the campaign, demonstrating his commitment to diversity.

As far as other Biden-Harris proposed legislation Butterfield plans to support as it makes it’s way through the New Democratic Congress, there’s the just-announced $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which promises to send $2,000 checks to all Americans, and add $400.00 to unemployment compensation.

The bill will also include a refundable tax credit for low-income people with dependent children who don’t earn enough to pay taxes, but could still use help making ends meet.

Rep. Butterfield also looks forward to a much-needed national infrastructure package That would improve broadband, roads, schools, water and sewer in marginalized communities.

But make no mistake - as much as the former NC Supreme Court justice is looking forward to the future, he ha no intention of forgetting the past, or ignoring the present.

While Congressman Butterfield’s personal experience during the Jan. 6th U.S. Capitol siege was not as harrowing as many of his colleagues (he stayed in his office in the Rayburn Building and never went to the Capitol until that night after the pro-Trump mob had been cleared out for the continuation of the electoral vote certification process), he realized after the fact just how bad it was.

He saw firsthand the destruction left behind, which left him in “shock.” Heard from colleagues on how 200 of them had been crammed into the Ways and Means Committee room during the height of the violence, something he called “a strategic blunder” because several Republican members were apparently COVID - 19 carriers.

Rep. Butterfield says it appears the Capitol siege was “well-planned,” and that it’s obvious that the rioters had assistance, possibly from the inside. He recalls seeing people he found “interesting” touring the Capitol the day before the siege. That was strange because the Capitol had been closed to public tours since last March because of COVID-19. 

“I feel that the protestors had information that they normally would not have had,” Butterfield says, promising vigorous House committee investigations into all that transpired.

Add to this the fact that Republican members now want bring guns onto the House floor, where they are absolutely not allowed. Some have already balked once metal detectors were installed shortly after the siege.

In the future, that could cost each complainant as much as $10,000 out of their salary.

One good thing tat has come out of the Capitol siege has been the unanimous acclaim for the bravery of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who is credited with misleading an angry white mob away from the Senate chambers during the melee, possibly saving lives.

“He is a hero by any definition,” says Congressman Butterfield, agreeing that the Black officer is deserving of the Congressional Gold Medal. 




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

With his then Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris standing at his side, on January 14th, Joe abides made it clear that one of the first things he’ll do as president is ask the Congress to increase the national minimum wage to $15.00 per hour for all low-wage earners.

“Nobody working 40 hours a week should be living below the poverty line.”the former vice president said then.

Republicans don’t agree, saying that raising the minimum wage from $7.25 (where it’s been since 2009) is too much heavy-lifting for small business owners.

But the Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-convener of the Poor People’s March: A National Revival, and president of the nonprofit Repairers of the Breach, not only agrees, but has been wholeheartedly calling for the minimum wage hike for years.

During a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Velshi,” Rev. Barber reiterated his support, noting that $15/hr minimum wage could lift 39 million Americans out of poverty.

“There are 62 million people in this country, who make less than a living wage. This the right thing to do. If It’s radical (as Republicans charge that it is), it is radical love.”

Studies have shown that if the national minimum wage kept pace with productivity growth since 1968, it would be over $24/hr, meaning that a minimum wage employee would earn $48,000 a year - enough to cover the basic necessities for a single person.

“It’s economically insane not rot do it,” Rev. Dr. Barber maintained. “And if the minimum wage kept pace with inflation, it would actually be $9.00 higher.”

“We see tis as a major victory of the Poor People’s campaign,” Rev. Dr. Barber continued. “And if people are paid this wage, guess what? It goes into economy, and raises productivity.”

“It’s the right way to go, and it’s a powerful start for the Biden Administration,” Barber concluded.

History shows that Rev. Dr. Barber is not the first national faith and civil rights leader to forcefully advocate for the poor to be treated fairly when it comes to making a living wage.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the originator of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, pushed powerfully for that very thing during the waning days of his life, planning to bring thousands to Washington, D.C. in peaceful protest to do so before he was cut down by an assassin’a bullet.

It was no accident that he was in Memphis, Tenn. advocating for the local garbage workers who were charging low wages and bad on-the-job treatment.

God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty,” Dr. King said in 1963.




[RTP] Swiss bank Credit Suisse is sponsoring a new scholarship fund fr students attending North Carolina’s yet HBCUs. The bank says it’s created a $1.2 million endowment with the United Negro College Fund. The bank now joins other companies in making meaningful contributions after the death of George Floyd.


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) will not face charges by the U.S. Dept. of Justice for alleged insider stock trades just before the pandemic hit.  Burr announced this week that he was informed that the case was now closed. He was accused of using classified information to make stock trades. Burr, who is retiring from the Senate after this term, maintained that he used public information to execute $1.7 million in stock trades.


[KERNERSVILLE] Federal authorities have arrested and charged Christopher Raphael Spencer, 40, for taking part in the Jan. 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. Spencer allegedly live-streamed videos to Facebook from inside the Capitol, according to an informant. Authorities recovered the videos with Spencer featured in them. He was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds, and obstruction of justice.




Monday, January 11, 2021




[RALEIGH] The former chief justice of the NC Supreme Court now has a new job. It was announced this week that Cheri Beasley, the first Black woman ever to serve as NC chief justice, is now a partner in the law firm of McGuireWoods. Beasley is working out of the firm’s Raleigh office in it’s litigation and appellate groups. Beasley lost a razor-thin race to keep her seat on the state’s High Court.


[FAYETTEVILLE] Citizens were shocked to see city crews Monday removing the “Black Lives Matter - End Racism Now” mural from in front of the historic Market House. There was no warning from Fayetteville city leaders, and given how the country is still reeling from the attack on the U.S. Capitol just last week, people felt the timing was way off.  Mayor Mitch Colvin says  the mural was never to be permanent, and the decision to remove it was made in November.  It was installed after the May 2020 shooting death of George Floyd.


[RALEIGH] Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, was sworn-in for his second-term last Saturday in front of the Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh with a limited crowd due to COVID-19 restrictions. Also sworn-in, Mark Robinson, Republican, and the first African - American to be elected as NC lieutenant governor. The rest of the Council of State, including NC Attorney General Josh Stein, took their oaths of office as well. Stein is now serving his second term.


Wilmington Journal editorial

        ed- PLAYTIME IS OVER

We sincerely hope that anyone who hasn’t taken the perilous times that we’re in seriously before, has now had a change of heart.

White supremacists are, once again, seeking to violently take over the reins of power in this country by force, and they’ve made it clear that they will spare no one in the process. That’s what the Trump-inspired terrorist riots at the U.S. Capitol last week were all about. 

Black people, least of all, can ill-afford to ignore this clear and ever-present danger. Our very lives, in addition to what little civil liberties we have, are at stake. And when we say “we,” we’re talking about ourselves, our families and our communities.

All that we, as Black people, care about.

Based on our history here, we are experts when it comes to surviving the wrath of white supremacy.

From slavery, to the 1898 insurrection, to the Wilmington Ten, to the firebombing of this very African-American newspaper, Black people here have had to fight to survive the historic onslaught of hate-filled White supremacy.

The Wilmington Journal is still fighting that onslaught, doing our best to survive in a world where the Black Press is no longer respected for reporting truth to power, and is denied the same opportunities for advertising and wealth building as our White counterparts.

Keep in mind that the primary objective of hate-filled White supremacist terrorism - which Black people here in Wilmington can speak to with authority - is to make it clear that we don’t have the “power”.

They do…and it should stay that way.

And that’s why when we strategically build multi-racial coalitions, and, led by Black people, leverage our collective power of the vote like they masterfully did in Georgia recently, we are despised.

That’s not supposed to happen, Grandmaster Trump and his supremacist rioters say. Indeed, the fact that the Black vote came together to elect Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House, in addition to delivering the U.S. Senate  and House, thus now giving us more “power,” is such treachery and blasphemy in their eyes, it was worth violently threatening the very existence of the United States government to regain control.

Now the rest of America can join the African-American community of Wilmington in knowing what the tragic results feel like.

What it feels like to have your community targeted for death.

What it feels like to have the wealth of your community stolen.

What it feels like to have your community’s leadership either killed or chased away.

What it feels like to have your community’s political power denied for virtually a century.

What it feels like have the families and businesses of your community historically struggle.

What it feels like having to survive pure evil!

For those of us (which means all of us) who weren’t here during the 1898 Wilmington White supremacist massacre, one look at video from last week’s U.S. Capitol siege, and seeing the sheer madness and hate in the eyes and on the faces of the White pro-Trump mob rioters, and hearing them call for the blood of Democratic leaders and Republican “traitors”, is probably close enough.

This insidious hate has now gripped the nation, and it’s not leaving when Donald Trump leaves office on January 20th. Just like 1898, it is buried deeply in the hearts of his followers and the Republican Party, which still sees fit to defend and protect him.

Because Trump represents the kind of racist hatred they crave.

So playtime is over, community. We can ill-afford to take anything for granted anymore.

It’s time for ALL of us to understand that in order to survive what is now a very dangerous America for us, we’re going to have to work together better, support each other and our institutions (like the Black Press) better, and strengthen our community better, to survive.

It ain’t going to be no picnic, now. But Black people built this country with our backs,  and with our blood.

Wilmington is still our city, and this is still our country.

Playtime is over, community. Time to stand even stronger!

And we know how to do it.





An analysis

by Cash Michaels

Since last week’s horrifying and violent breach of the U.S. Capitol by thousands of White, fever-pitched pro-Trump supporters, much of what we’ve heard - though compelling - has missed the point: the bottomline to the attack on our nation’s Capitol building by White supremacists, is race. 

         This guttural social temper-tantrum has happened in our nation’s history before, and from what we’re hearing, is very likely to happen again in the very near future.

Why? History tells us it’s all about White belief in coveting control for the sake of maintaining racial power, and the fear of losing it.

That is the common theme that runs through every historical instance of White American violent and political insurrection.

Naturally, thanks to a jaundiced misinterpretation of the Bible, Whites of earlier centuries thought of themselves as God-made superior beings, placed here to rule the Earth, and consequently, non-whites who lacked the power to successfully resist domination.

That credo led to American slavery, and the resulting nation-building off the backs of cheap African labor. But it wouldn’t be long before the growing tension between White America’s “declaration of independence” from European rule, and Black former slaves’ increasing demand for freedom and opportunity, would repeatedly clash, with Whites ultimately using violence and corruption to draw a line of control, to maintain power.

To be clear, violence was just one of the many tools at the disposal of White civic and political leaders to minimize Black citizenship and equity.

Convincing lower-class Whites that Blacks were taking rights from them, thus resulting in their dire circumstances, was also effective at harnessing anti-Black political power.

But violence, when deemed necessary, was most effective.

November 10, 1898 - Black people had built a strong political and economy base in Wilmington, NC, so much so that Whites became disturbed, burned down the Black newspaper, killed Black citizens at random, confiscated Black businesses and property, and took over Wilmington city government at gunpoint.

The 1898 Wilmington insurrection was designed for the purposes of eliminating the African American vote and to re-arrange the political power in North Carolina,” says Irv. Joyner, vice-chairman of the 1898 Wilmington Race Massacre Commission. ‘Those purposes were successful and, as a result, Democrats held the reins of political power in North Carolina for more than a century and the ability of African Americans to vote was effectively suppressed until the 1980s. 

Joyner then compared the nation’s only successful coup de’ tat in history, with last week’s nearly successful attempt to decapitate the U.S. government.

“The underlying focus of the January 6, 2021 attempted insurrection was a national effort, which was orchestrated by Donald Trump and his right-wing supporters, to undermine the exercise of the right to vote by African Americans and other people of color. This coordinated national effort to attack the African American votes which were cast in Atlanta and its surrounding area; Detroit and its surrounding area; Philadelphia and its surrounding area and Milwaukee mirrored, in real time, that 1898 voter suppression campaign and was designed to convince the public that African Americans and people of color were unqualified and had illegally voted against Donald Trump.

Ironically, just four years ago, then Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, having lost a close re-election, also falsely claimed Black voter fraud.

And before either McCrory or Trump, the Republican majority in the NC General Assembly has been cited for using voter ID legislation, and racial gerrymandering in redistricting to, again, cripple the Black vote in order to maintain power and control.

That common goal of White Republicans and Trump to neuter the political power of African-Americans was at the true roots of the January 6, 2021 siege on the U.S. Capitol. And the fear of not stopping the constitutional takeover of a White who is sympathetic to Blacks, and his Black female vice president, sparked a violent desperation.

By all accounts, Donald Trump’s deadly attempt to “make America great again,” failed, or a very important reason.

“America is clearly brown now, and that’s the fear of these white supremacists, and all of the people who felt like they are superior,” says Congresswoman Alma Adams, who survived the siege. “I think that’s where the president was coming from from the beginning. His whole attack is on Black and Brown people.” 

“Our country has been shamed by this president,” Rep. Adams adds.

And so has the White supremacist movement.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

“We could have all been blown up. This could have been much, much worse!”

To Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), what could have been on the afternoon of January 6th, 2021 is chilling enough.

But what did happen when a predominately White pro-Trump mob of thousands attacked the U.S. Capitol, seeking to either delay or stop the congressional joint session certification of 2020 presidential electoral votes,  still has the third-term NC Democrat emotionally shaken to the point where she has serious concerns about the safety of the January 20th inauguration of Pres.-elect Joe Biden and Vice Pres.- elect Kamala Harris.

“Yes, I do,” Rep. Adams said, admitting during a Zoom interview Sunday that she doesn’t want to put anymore stress on her family. “I have trepidations about going back this week.”

 But trepidations or not, Adams maintains that because she believes that President 

Donald Trump is an ever-present menace and danger to the nation until he officially leaves office on Jan. 20th, she had to join her Democratic colleagues in impeaching him this week for “ inciting violence against the government of the United States,” the second impeachment of his only term in office.

“He is not above the law, and and should not be.” 

However make no mistake, with the FBI now warning of the prospect of armed protests in capitol cities across all 50 states, in addition to another violent event between now and the inauguration, Adams says there is now a “special urgency” to make the next few days safer.

Certainly safer than the riotous events of January 6th at the Capitol.

Rep. Adams says she was scheduled to be on the House floor at 1:15 p.m. during the joint session certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college votes, but upon going to the Capitol, was essentially turned away because the crowds from Trump’s “Saving America “ rally had already begun forcefully entering the building.

She and her staff returned to her office in the Rayburn Building a short distance away, where they were startled by computer alerts and sirens to “Stay in place” as the siege at the U.S. Capitol escalated.

The pro-Trump mob had penetrated the Capitol, and all Congress members not there yet were advised to stay in their offices, and lock their doors, until further instructions. 

Adams recalls getting emotional and upset, yet doing her best to remain stoic as not to upset her young staff. “I was frightened, I was scared,” she recalls as she watched the live television coverage, coupled with the growing commotion just a few blocks away.

“It was just chaos everywhere, I couldn’t believe it. It looked like a war zone….it was a war zone. They had declared war on the U.S. Congress,” she said, recalling how the Capitol Police had earlier assured the Democratic Caucus during several meetings that security would be adequate.

“There is no reason why this shouldn’t have been caught,” Rep. Adams says. “There was a failure in terms of our security…”

It wasn’t long before officers came to get Adams, and take her to a secure location in the Capitol via the secure connecting tunnel system, along with other Democrat and Republican House members. However, once there, some Republican members, ignoring the mandatory COVID-19 precautionary measures, refused to wear masks, forcing leadership to order that they do.

Adams, already rattled by events around her, now had to try to isolate herself from her “colleagues from across the aisle.” She was scheduled to receive her COVID-19 vaccine shot the next day, and wondered if she could avoid infection until then.

On Monday, the day after this interview, Adams’ fear was realized when a 75-year-old House colleague announced that she had coronavirus, most likely contracting it from an infected Republican House member during the siege. By Tuesday, two more House members also indicated they were infected.

During their sequestration together, House members agreed they must complete confirming the electoral votes that night, “…otherwise [the pro-Trump mob]  would have been the winners,” Adams said, noting that her family was not pleased when she informed them.

And that’s what both chambers of Congress did. Despite the now well-documented attempts by Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and the pro-Trump mob of thousands - who had been cleared out 8 p.m. when Congress reconvened, the certification process continued through the night, and Joe Biden was officially declared the winner of the November 2020 presidential election by  4 a.m. the next morning. 

American democracy was delayed, but not denied.

Looking back, Rep. Adams is indeed chilled now by what she didn’t know at the time. Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer. A truck with guns and bombs was found nearby. 

And a fast-thinking Black Capitol Police officer lured an angry group of White Trump rioters away from the Senate chamber, thus saving lives there.

“It was an incredibly frightening situation,” Adams now says.

She agrees with Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina that planning by the pro-Trump mob resulted in sensitive areas of House Democratic leadership being invaded that are not generally known to the public, proving that it was, according to Clyburn, “An inside job.”

Indeed two Capitol police officers were suspended Monday for allegedly aiding and abetting the mob, while Democrat members expressed concern about a Republican freshman who reportedly was texting the whereabouts of Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the siege.

Pelosi was reportedly a target of the mob, along with Vice Pres. Pence, who had refused to do Trump’s bidding of stopping the certification  process he constitutionally presided over. As video shows, the fever-pitched mob wanted his blood too.

Rep. Adams dismisses the statement by Wake County Republican Chairwoman Donna Williams, who, after coming back from Washington, D.C., wrote in a letter she doesn’t believe “patriotic Republicans started the riots.”

“I personally observed who appeared to be professional agitators inciting violence from the crowd,” Williams said.

Even if the GOP chair was talking about the violent Proud Boys group, who have been confirmed as being part of the mob who “started the riots,” there is little question, Rep. Adams said, that Donald Trump “gave permission” at his rally for his followers to use any means necessary to stop Congress from validating Biden’s victory, likening it to a battle.

“ I do not believe these were professional agitators.” “…this was a riot,” she says, adding that Republicans have to take responsibility for the fact that they tolerated Trump and his antics for four years.

“Republicans] should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t know how you live with yourself knowing you were part of this conspiracy.”

Adams also had choice words for the kid gloves with which Capitol Police treated the pro-Trump mob, versus the reinforced, fortified paramilitary presence that greeted peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors last summer after the killing of George Floyd.

It is not lost on Rep. Adams that the country is at such bitter loggerheads as it is about to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend. If the civil rights leader were still here, and witnessed all that has gone on, what would he say?

“Knowing Dr. King’s work and works as I do, clearly he would not be happy at all,” Rep. Adams said upon reflection. “This is a dark day…a dark time in our country. He would encourage us, plead with us, to take the road of community…a peaceful community.” 

Editor’s note - Afrique Kilamanjaro of the Carolina Peacemaker newspaper in Greensboro contributed to this report.-30-