Monday, February 22, 2021






By Cash Michaels

Staff writer

Thanks to the generosity of the Wilmington community, and the selflessness of those willing to give of their time and effort, the “Save The Wilmington Journal” campaign exceeded its $95,000 goal Saturday, February 20th, to the delight of the paper’s publisher/editor, Mrs. Mary Alice Jervay Thatch.

“Your support is humbling and greatly appreciated in such a time of need,” Mrs. Thatch said in a posted Facebook message Saturday. “Words cannot express our gratitude. Thank you again and again and because of your love we will continue to deliver the news “Without Fear or Favor” and with love and gratitude.”

The funds will be used to begin vital restoration to the Seventh Street building that houses the Journal’s offices.

Mrs. Thatch’s message came close to the end of an impressive nine-hour FaceBook Live Telethon, that saw various local community leaders host various segments of the extravaganza doing interviews, sharing historic local perspectives about The Journal, and updating online viewers on the latest donations and total tally coming in.

“It is the footprint for our people in our community,” local NAACP activist Rev. Kojo Nantambu said, also noting how The Journal led the over 40-year fight to have the Wilmington Ten declared innocent.

Many of those appearing on the telethon were guests, like NC Gov. Roy Cooper. Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-convener of the Poor People’s Campaign, and Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and leader of the Wilmington Ten, used their celebrity status to appeal to businesses and churches to make generous contributions.

There were also former Wilmington residents who made appeals in memory of their parents, or affiliation with historic Williston Senior High School. 

Appeals were also made by local elected officials like Councilman Kevin Spears and County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, Jr., and activists like Sonya Patrick of the NC Black Leadership caucus.

Freedom’s Way Church served as the telethon’s headquarters for viewers to also drop contributions off.

The Wilmington Journal would like to thank everyone who was gracious enough to expend their time and resources to contribute to the fundraising effort to save the newspaper and the building in which it has been housed since 1927,” the paper said in a statement afterwards. “The outpouring of love and support has been deeply overwhelming and humbling.” 

“To the organizers of the telethon that was broadcast earlier, we are truly in awe of your demonstration of selfless service. To the donors, we are forever grateful for your generous financial contributions. With your support, we were able to reach our goal of 95,000.”

The statement continued, “And finally, to our staff, contributing writers, subscribers, advertisers and readers, our debt to you could never be repaid. Because of your dedication and unwavering support, we have been able to be a resounding voice for the African American community for 94 years. With that said, The Wilmington Journal will continue to report the news without fear or favor while carrying out the lasting legacy of our founders, Robert S. Jervay and Thomas C. Jervay, Sr..

“May God bless you and keep you.”





[GREENSBORO] A Senate bill that allowed guns on school campuses attached to houses of worship is closer to becoming law. Senate Bill 43 allows concealed gun owners to bring handguns into church buildings with school affiliations. Guns are already allowed in churches, but not on school campuses. If the bill passes, it would allow guns on the school campuses during off hours only.


[RALEIGH] NC Board of Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell says all municipal elections, and all March 2022 primaries should be postponed across the state because numbers from the recent U.S. Census are going to be delayed several months. Those new numbers are essential for redistricting voting lines, which now have to be delayed before any new elections can take place. She says the March 2022 primaries need to be pushed back to May 2022.


[CHARLOTTE] The next U.S. Attorney for North Carolina Western District could be a Black woman, according to published reports. If so, it would be the first time in 150 years. Dena J. King is currently an assistant to outgoing Trump-appointee U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray of Charlotte, who is being replaced by the Biden Administration as of next Monday. If chosen by Pres. Biden and approved by the U.S. Senate, prosecutor King would become the fourth woman to hold the post, but the first African-American to ever do so.



                                  Ed- THANK YOU, COMMUNITY!

Oh, if only Thomas C. Jervay, Sr. were here last weekend to see it for himself.

First of all we’d of had to explain what, CashApp and Facebook Live was to him, since they did not exist during his heyday. But once the founding publisher of The Wilmington Journal understood what these fancy technological modern-day advances were that allowed you both fundraise and communicate literally with the world from your personal computer screen, it would have touched him as deeply as it touched us.

Our community used these advances, and more, to unabashedly love us, and support us, the we needed them the most.

On February 20th, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. - nine solid hours - concerned and gracious members of the Wilmington community came together to raise over $95,000 to “Save the Wilmington Journal,” specifically start restoration of the Wilmington Journal building which is literally coming apart because of years of punishing wind and rain that have made our offices simply unsafe for us to to do what we do best…to do what T.C. Jervay, Sr always inspired us to do….and that’s namely serve our community with the best local news, information and  opinion from the Black perspective that we can muster.

Because we learned a long time ago that it makes a difference in the lives of our readers, and the history of our community.

And there was no greater example of that than the enthusiastic and generous outpouring of love and support witnessed on the Facebook Live Telethon Saturday. Viewers not only heard heartfelt appeals fo support, but   learned important things about how the  T.C. Jervay, Sr. and  The Wilmington Journal played invaluable roles in port city and North Carolina history.

Several participants in Saturday’s telethon made it clear that there could be no accurately recounting of the saga of the Wilmington Ten without also noting how, for over 40 years, the Wilmington Journal carried the torch for their innocence, leading the fight for Gov. Beverly Perdue to eventually grant them historic pardons of innocence.

That’s what a devoted Black newspaper does - speak truth to power, and never waiver from that truth.

That’s who we are!

And that’s why YOU, our community, made us, and the memory of our founder, Thomas C. Jervay, Sr., proud with your tremendous support last weekend.

You’ve told us that this institution still has a valuable place in your lives, that you trust us when you can’t find anyone else to trust when it comes to your news and information.

That means a lot, and serves to reenergize us to work even harder, and better than ever before…for YOU!

Thank you, community! 

We will continue to strive to make you proud.

Our founder wouldn’t have it any other way!




                                                DR. CHRISTINE JOHNSON MCPHAIL

Saint Augustine’s University Announces the Appointment of Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail as the University’s 13th President 

RALEIGH, N.C. – February 22, 2021 – The Board of Trustees at Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) today announced the appointment of Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail as the University’s 13th President effective February 24th. The announcement comes after an extensive national search to fill the vacancy left after the untimely passing of her husband, Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, in October 2020.

“We are excited and fortunate to have an innovative, proven credential leader of Dr. Christine McPhail’s stature to lead St. Augustine’s University to the next level of excellence as we reimagine a new model of the HBCU of the future,” said Retired Honorable Justice James E. Perry, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Currently serving as the President and CEO of the McPhail Group, LLC, Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail is a nationally recognized, well-respected thought leader in higher education in her own right. Dr. McPhail also currently serves as Professor of Practice at the John E. Roueche Center for Community College Leadership at Kansas State University. She is the Founding Professor and Director of the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Morgan State University. Under McPhail’s leadership, Morgan State University received R1 Carnegie classification, indicating that the program awarded at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees during the update year.

“I am both humbled and honored to have been selected by the Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees to serve as its next president,” said Dr. McPhail. “I am committed to the success of this University and each of its students. I also feel a responsibility to carry on my late husband’s work to establish the University as a 21st Century, learning-centered institution while at the same time leaning on several decades of experience in higher education leadership and strong partnerships with the SAU community to move us forward.”

Prior to her role at Morgan State University, she served as President of Cypress College in California. She is a Certified Associate for Emergenetics International, an organizational development company that uses psychometric research and behavioral studies to advise and consult with businesses and individuals on how to assess human capital.

                                                                 DARRELL ALLISON



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

A Change.Org petition, sponsored by Fayetteville State University Concerned Alumni, and sent to Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Gov. Roy Cooper and State Sen. Ben Clark (D-21), seeks “the removal of the newly appointed Fayetteville State University Chancellor” Darrell Allison.

The all-Republican UNC Board of Governors appointed Allison, a former member of UNC Board of Governors and a school choice advocate, as FSU’S 12th chancellor last Friday, February 19th, unanimously, amid controversy.

The FSU Board of Trustees - which has two of Allison’s relatives on it -  recommended Allison to the board.

Wilmington Attorney Peter Grear, an FSU alum, says he signed the petition because, in his judgement, “Unfortunately, Darrell Allison doesn’t have the credentials, qualifications or experience to serve as chancellor of Fayetteville State University.”

According to the petition, which exceeded it’s initial 1500 signature goal on Monday,”… Allison was not one of the six finalists for the position and was added to the list at the last minute.”

Press accounts say that Allison, an NCCU alum and “longtime education advocate,”  was nominated by UNC System President Peter Hans, and is set to takeover FSU leadership in mid-March.

“Darrell Allison is a creative leader who understands the value of Fayetteville State University to the community, the region, and the state,” Hans says.

UNC Board Chairman Randy Ramsey also speaks highly of Allison.

“I have worked alongside Darrell for many years now and he is not only a person of great ability but one of true character,” Ramsey said. “He is deeply committed to higher education and to the citizens of North Carolina. He brings to this position a broad understanding of Fayetteville State University’s strategic role and impact in the region.”

Allison, who is politically unaffiliated, indeed has a history of educational advocacy, including serving on the NCCU Board of Trustees ns UNC Board of Governors, but the Fayetteville State University Concerned Alumni apparently are not impressed.

The FSU Concerned Alumni allege that Allison “…resigned as [a member ] of the UNC Board of Governors in September 2020, knowing that he was assured and guaranteed to become the new chancellor of Fayetteville State University. Equally in question is the watering down of requirements of the position as well as the change in appointment procedure by the UNC Board of Governors.”

The petition goes on, “The selection process was fraudulent, dishonest, biased, flawed and cheated from the beginning. Unethical maneuvers allowed Darrell Allison the pathway to become a candidate in the first place. In addition, we believe tat it was also Allison’s ties to his mother-in-law and his god mother who both serve the FSU Board of Trustees that also proved favorable to his appointment….” 

The petition concludes alleging that Allison  is “without a day of teaching…” or serving in any other capacity building or training in Higher Education, and “…has a history of scandals involving financial mismanagement, tampering with leadership and steering venom contracts.”

He currently serves as the vice president of governmental affairs and state teams at the American Federation for Children, a national group that works to expand school choice programs, once headed by Trump Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.


                                                          DAMEON SHEPARD




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

A Pender County District Court judge dismissed all charges against a former New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy who - in uniform with holstered gun -  allegedly led a large “mob” of white people to try to gain entry to the Pender County home of a Black family looking for his sister, and a man who allegedly had an AR-15 assault rifle with him as he allegedly accompanied the deputy.

The group later left after realizing that she wasn’t there.

Even though that Black family - Monica and Dameon Shepard - said that they felt “terrorized” by the alleged actions of the group that came to their home late on a Sunday night last May, and specifically by the alleged actions of former Deputy Jordan Kita, who was charged with forcible trespass, breaking and entering, and willful failure to discharge duties; and Robert Austin Wood, who was charged with going armed to the terror of the community, Judge Chad Hogston dismissed all charges against the pair after Kita apologized to the Shepard family in court.

And now Kita and Wood’s attorneys are threatening to sue the Shepards unless they drop their pending lawsuit of “libelous and defamatory claims…they have made through their lawyers.”

As a result, none of the attorneys representing the Shepards have been available for comment since Judge Hodston’s February 18 verdict.

Rev. Dante Murphy, president of the Pender County NAACP,  was not pleased with the outcome.

That "all" charges against both defendants were dropped leaves a sick feeling in my stomach, Rev. Murphy wrote Atty. Woody White, attorney for defendant Robert Austin Wood, in an open letter. “Clear reckless and invasive behaviors by one class of people (Whites) can so easily be dismissed or explained away. Explaining away does not work for other classes (Blacks and minorities). Any view of history, recent or less recent, will demonstrate that bold fact.”

“You have indicated that the White search party did not intend to harm the Shepherd family,” Rev. Murphy continued. “But it did cause harm. Hit and run drivers wish to cause no harm, but that is no reason to declare them not guilty. Harm was caused to the Shepherds (a hit and run) and to every black family that now worries more than ever when Whites with guns  knock at their door, they are afraid that trespassing and endangerment laws have no teeth.”

“ There is no time in American history when Blacks did not face harm of this nature. And today, as if to add insult to injury, a family that was “hit” is being asked to apologize to those who “hit and ran.” Think about a Black person approaching a White person on the street. Picture the Black person with a gun. Now picture the response when the Black person asks the White person to apologize.”

Even though he did not respond to a request for comment, Atty James Lea made it clear in May 2020 that crimes were committed when then Deputy Kita allegedly tried to gain access to the Shepard home after banging on the door, an d then refused to leave by both Dameon, 18, and his mother, Monica, when told.

There’s no way there can be [no criminal intent]. The minute you step foot on somebody’s property, and you’ve not been invited to be there, you’re committing trespass. That’s a crime. As a police officer you’re bound to know that…everybody knows that. If you come up to the door, and you open the door, and they tell you to go away, and you don’t leave, you’re continuing that crime.

         “If you’re armed on their property, there’s another crime - that’s assault. If you re putting your foot in their door, you are breaking and entering, and they can’t close their door. So, I don’t know how you get around the criminal intent part of it, when you’re purposely walking on somebody’s property armed, refusing to leave the door when they tell you to leave, sticking your foot in the door. That’s just impossible to …those two things are completely inconsistent.”

The Shepard’s lawsuit against Kita, Wood, and the 13 or so “John. And Jane Does” with them that night, as filed in late January. It now remains the Shepards’ only avenue to justice.


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