Monday, December 26, 2022




FEB. 2

By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Last month, former felons were allowed to vote in the November 2022 elections by the then Democrat-led NC Supreme Court, until the full case of felon voting could be argued before the High Court.

Well, that time has come.

The new 5-2 Republican-led state Supreme Court has scheduled February 2, 2023 for arguments in the Community Success Initiative v. Moore felon voting case to be heard. 

The concern from those in the ex-felon community is that Republicans have already expressed their opposition to allowing those with felony records who are on probation, parole or  post- release supervision to cast ballots in elections, positing that it is a violation of state law.

A 1973 law, to be exact, originally passed by a Democrat-majority NC General Assembly that mandated that all felony offenders must finish all requirements of their former imprisonment before earning the right to retain full citizenship rights, including voting.

Democrats today argue that that 1973 law was based on racially discriminatory laws that prevented former slaves from voting over a hundred years earlier. Thus, because racial discrimination against blacks is illegal today, then any law based  accordingly must also be unconstitutional.

But Republicans countered that the rules mandating that former felons complete all requirements owed the state actually predate Blacks getting the right to vote, so thus have nothing to do with racial discrimination. The GOP maintains that the 1973 law is still validate and should be upheld.

“The North Carolina Constitution provides that ‘…no person adjudged guilty of a felony … shall be permitted to vote unless that person shall be first restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law,’” Republican legislative leaders maintained in their previous court arguments.

“Accepting Plaintiffs’….arguments …would require this Court to find that felons have a fundamental right to vote, that elections without them are not ‘free,’ and that insisting felons pay their debt to society before rejoining the electorate is the equivalent of a poll-tax or property qualification. No such findings are possible because the North Carolina Constitution itself disenfranchises felons, subject to any re-enfranchisement law the General Assembly may in its discretion enact,” Republican leaders say.

During the course of their majority term, NC Supreme Court Democratic justices sent signals that they believed that the 1973 law should be trashed, and the over 56,000 former felons across North Carolina deserved to have all of their citizenship rights returned to them immediately after completing their terms of punishment.

The 4-3 Democrat-led High Court was believed to be preparing the felon voting case by this month, assuming that it might retain its majority during the November 2022 midterm elections. In October, it rejected a fast track request from plaintiffs however.

But during the elections, Democrats lost two seats on the state Supreme Court, giving Republicans a 5-2 advantage starting January 31st.

That meant Democrats only had time to fast-track at least two other cases - voter I.D.  and restricting.

That left the felon voting case to be scheduled for the new term of the new Republican-led state Supreme Court.

Given what Republican legislative leaders have said about the case already accounts for why most observers believe that the 1973 law should prevail, and former felons be denied their voting rights until after they’ve completed all of their post-release requirements.

The felon voting case is among the first to be argued before the new state Supreme Court, starting February 2nd.




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

More schools across North Carolina are racially segregating, or becoming “racially isolated.

According to a new report titled “Still Stymied: Why Integration Has Not Transformed North Carolina’s Schools” by Kris Nordstrom, Senior Policy Analyst with the Education and Law Project of the NC Justice Center, there has been very little progress since it’s first report, “Stymied by Segregation (March 2018).

That 2018 report had four important findings - 

1 - The number of racially and economically isolated schools has increased

2 - Large school districts could be doing much more to integrate their schools

3 - School districts still use boundaries to maintain segregated school systems

4 - Charter schools tend to exacerbate segregation

The new 2022 report, now with five years of additional data, shows that “…there has been little progress in integrating North Carolina schools…” since 2018.. This is troubling in the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd, the January 6th white supremacist uprising at the U.S. Capital, and the targeting of socially-conscious history studies, otherwise known to right-wing dissenters as “Critical Race Theory,” in public schools.

The report states, “In our increasingly multiracial society, thriving adults must be able to communicate and work collaboratively with people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Integrated schools provide students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds the opportunity for meaningful contact and interactions that foster cross-cultural understanding an reduce bias and prejudice. Integrated schools can be a powerful counteractive to divisive times, promoting civic participation nd increasing the likelihood of students living in integrated neighborhoods as adults.”

According to the report, “…a school is considered racially or economically isolated if more than 75 percent of its students are students of color or are considered academically disadvantaged. It is important to identify isolated schools because such schools often require additional resources for their students to overcome outside-of-school barriers to academic success, yet often lack the political pull to secure an adequate or equitable share of resources.”

In the 2021-22 school year in North Carolina, 676, or 27 percent of all schools throughout the state, were considered racially - isolated.

Again, according to the report, “…the rise in racially-isolated schools in the traditional public school sector appears to be driven mainly by statewide demographic trends. Students of color now comprise the majority of students in traditional public schools. Students of color comprised 49 percent of traditional school students in 2017, rising to 55 percent in 2022. Over the past five years, the student of color share rose 14 percent, while the racially-isolated school share rose 15 percent. 

The report adds that several counties have school districts that have varying degrees of racial dissimilarity, meaning that some have improved their index of dissimilarity while others have not.

Among those school districts that have not are:

Mecklenburg at 0.538

Guilford at 0.455

Forsyth at 0.417

Alamance-Burlington at 0.409

Halifax at 0.397

“It remains true that North Carolina’s largest districts tend to have a more unequal distribution of students across schools, as districts with fewer schools have fewer opportunities to racially or economically isolate students,” the report adds.




Monday, December 19, 2022


                                                        BISHOP BARBER



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The pastor of Goldboro’s Greenleaf Christian Church DOC is leaving to lead the new Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn.

Normally this wouldn’t be headline news, except the pastor is Bishop William J. Barber II, the acknowledged leader of the Moral Monday movement, founder - president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-convener of the Poor People’s Campaign - A National Call for a Moral Revival.

Bishop Barber will relinquish his role as pastor of Greenleaf Christian, a church in the Disciples of Christ faith,  after 30 years, by the middle of next year.

In his new position as “professor in the practice of public theology and public policy,” Barber told Religion News Service (RNS) that he will formally begin teaching classes at Yale Divinity School in January. His goal is to produce the next generation of faith-inspired social justice religious leaders to impact the body politic for critical social change.

In its announcement Monday about the new Divinity School center, Yale News reported that it will “…pursue teaching, practice, research, and collaboration at the intersection of theology and advocacy,” all rooted in the philosophy of moral movements.”

“If we’re serious when we say the first goal of the society is to establish justice, or if we’re serious when we say the first premise of religion is love and justice and truth — that’s what we hope to bring, seed and propagate in the public square for this new Center for Public Theology and Public Policy,” he said.

“I want to share what I have learned,” he told RNS. “I believe one of the critical keys in this society is for pastors to understand how to be engaged in pastoral care, the priestly function of the pastorate, but also to be engaged in prophetic and public policy. All three of those things must go together.”

Planning to fully transition to Yale Divinity in June, Barber said “I love pastoring. I love the people. I love what it’s taught me. But I will not be selfish and not share (what I’ve learned) to generations coming.”

As director of the new center, Bishop Barber said there will be a liaison with HBCUs primarily in the South, to help connect students there connect with the new center’s programs.

“I extend congratulations to my friend, Bishop William Barber, on his selection to lead the Yale Divinity School’s new Center for Public Theology and Public Policy. I cannot think of anyone more suited for this role than him.” said Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) in a statement Monday.

“The movement that he spearheaded through his many years of grassroots advocacy to fight systemic racism, poverty, and other injustices is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the work he has done at the intersection of faith and advocacy.”

“His dedication and proven ability to build coalitions aimed at improving the lives of poor and low-income people around the world makes him deserving of this position,” Butterfield continued.  “I applaud Yale Divinity School for making this momentous appointment.”

Bishop Barber is a highly recognized, highly respected social justice leader across the nation. He once led the NC NAACP as president from 2005 to 2017.

Last Thursday, Bishop Barber, by invitation, opened the legislative session of the U.S. House of Representatives with prayer.

-30 - 

                                                      STEPHEN "tWitch" BOSS



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

To the outside world, it seemed like Stephen Laurel “tWitch” Boss had it all.

The handsome, 40 year-old entertainer had been the disc jockey, freestyle hiphop dancer, co-executive producer and co-host on the popular nationally syndicated “Ellen Degeneres Show” for several years. The Montgomery, Alabama native was discovered in 2008 on a dance game show, and subsequently proceeded to build a name for himself on various entertainment programs, including Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings.

But last Tuesday, December 13th, tWitch’s wife, Allison Holker, called Los Angeles Police, alerting them that her husband was missing and she couldn’t reach him. LAPD had also received a report of a gunshot at a local motel. Upon investigation, tWitch’s body was found in a motel room, apparently of suicide.

According to published reports, the popular dancer wrote in a suicide note that he was still dealing with “past challenges” in his life, even though he was successful, married with three children, and lived in a mansion.

And he wasn’t the only Black celebrity in 2022 to commit suicide. Ian King jr., son of Academy Award winning actress Regina King, and here in North Carolina, attorney and former Miss USA Cheslie Krsyst, also ended their lives in frustration.

Beyond the obvious tragedy of these three high-profiled Black suicides, is that it reminds us that the suicide rate across the country is alarmingly high, especially here in North Carolina, which has the fourth highest suicide rate for black teens in the country.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “…over 68,000 Black male, and nearly 95,000 Black female teens made a suicide attempt serious enough to require medical attention in 2017 alone.” More than 300 succeeded.

In 2019, the National Library of Medicine reported that among Black teenagers nationally, from 2001 to 2017, the rate of suicides increased 60% for males, and 182% for females.

The trend since the mid-1990s has been disturbing, most researchers agree, with suicide becoming the third leading cause of death for Black teenagers ages 15 to 19. In 2017, the News & Observer reported that Black high school students in North Carolina “…attempted suicide at more than twice the rate of white high school students (11.1% vs 5.1%), according to the NC Child Health Report Card.

During the pandemic, there were key concerns that there was a “grave toll on the mental health of young people across North Carolina” reported NC Health News, especially on those unable to go to school. In March 2021, while there are no complete numbers per youth deaths, “…children in North Carolina were hospitalized for self-harm injuries, including suicide attempts, slightly less [in 2020] than in 2019,” according to the NC Dept of Health and Human Services.

If the above isn’t depressing enough, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center reports that while Blacks “…commit suicide at a much lower rate than the overall average U.S. suicide rate,” A West Virginia University researcher believes “…Black American deaths are 2.3 times more likely than white deaths to be classified as “undetermined” at the time they occur,” reported NewsOne in June 2022. 

Researchers say the reason for the  problem is the Black community’s overall ignorance of mental health issues, and how to access the critical resources needed to address them.

Patrice Harris, MD,  with the online health guide Everyday Health,  offers five reasons for an uptick in suicides among African-Americans, especially Black youth.

First, the pressure from an increasingly pervasive social media. “Although there is no one causal factor for this, it is important to remember that we live in an age where most people are connected to social media, which comes with the pressure to create an image like we’re living perfect lives. This is especially true for our young people who might feel extreme pressure to live a certain kind of life or compete with their peers' appearance,” Dr. Harris says.

Secondly, mental health stigma impedes Black People from seeking help.

"There's a stigma [in the Black community] that if you have a mental disorder, it's a sign of a character flaw or weakness instead of what it truly is: a diagnosis that can be treated and managed.”

Third - treatment is often less accessible to African-Americans.

Dr. Harris cites lack of access to quality medial insurance and education about how to locate a quality, culturally conscious medical provider.

Fourth - Black people continually face racism and discrimination in their lives, resulting in emotional trauma from those experiences.

And Fifth - Black people being consistently exposed to violence in their communities. Compared to whites, African-Americans see a disproportionate about of real violence in their neighborhoods, which could contribute to a helpless sense of worthlessness.

If you or someone you know needs help, "The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Call 988, or Text GO to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor through Crisis Text Line, a global not-for-profit organization. Free, 24/7, confidential.





An Analysis

By Cash Michaels

As if they were leaving a final word before going out the door, the Democratic majority of the NC Supreme Court last Friday handed down two highly  anticipated decisions that voting rights advocates had been waiting for.

In two 4-3 decisions, the Democratic High Court both struck down a state Senate redistricting map that it ruled was a “…stark partisan asymmetry in violation of the fundamental right to vote on equal terms.” That map was allowed to be used for the 2022 midterm elections that saw the Republicans in the state Senate win a supermajority, thus now being able to counter any veto Gov. Roy Cooper threatens over legislation he doesn’t like.

The Democratic justices ordered a lower court to change the Senate map to meet “constitutional compliance” for future elections.

Those same four Democratic justices - two of whom will be officially leaving the court at the stroke of 12 on January 1st, 2023, also voted in the majority to throw out North Carolina’s 2018 voter photo identification law.

Led by Democrat Associate Justice Anita Earls, the Democrat majority found that the 2018 voter ID law discriminated against Black voters.

“…the experiences of plaintiffs and other witnesses at trial showed that for themselves and others like them, the risk of disenfranchisement is very real,” Associate Justice Earls wrote in the majority decision. “But the guarantee of equal protection of the laws means that a law enacted with the intent to discriminate on the basis of race is unconstitutional even if no voter ultimately is disenfranchised because ‘…racial classifications of any sort pose the risk of lasting harm to our society.”

As was no surprise, the three Republican associate justices on the state High Court not only dissented mightily, but accused their Democratic colleagues of legislating from the bench, making it clear that it was not their place.

But make no mistake, the Republican majority in the state legislature will not allow these two Democratic rulings to last for long.

GOP NC Senate Majority leader Phil Berger has already indicated that his new supermajority will vote on new redistricting maps, and a new voter ID law when they get back into session next month.

And if either the Democrats or progressive groups want to challenge new maps or new voting identification requirements in court, Berger is assured that there will be Republican majorities at the state appellate court and state Supreme Court starting in January , and for the foreseeable future to rule in a more favorable fashion.

Keep in mind that Republicans will constitute a 5-2 majority on the state Supreme Court come January 1st. And the GOP is hoping that the 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court will agree with them that only the legislature constitutionally  has the final word when it comes to federal election decisions, not the state Supreme Court.

So going into the New Year 2023, North Carolina Democrats find themselves with limited options for countering the virtual state government takeover by Republicans at every level.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has two more years left in office, and his power can be countered by a Republican supermajority in the state Senate, and a Republican near supermajority in the state House.

With both the NC Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court also dominated by Republicans, there is no telling what other Democratic legislative priorities will be turned on their heads, starting January 1st.


Saturday, December 10, 2022


                                                                      O'LINDA WATKINS



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working in concert with Moore County authorities, are reportedly in the process of closing in on whoever was responsible for the December 3rd gunshot terrorism that disabled a Duke Energy substation, cutting power to tens of thousands of customers throughout the mostly rural county for several days, making national and international headlines.

As far as law enforcement is concerned, whoever caused the outage knew exactly what they were doing.

After several days in the dark, power was restored December 8th, but by the time it was, it was too late for many of the poor and Black families living there. Their refrigerated food had gone bad. They had no heat to ward off the cold temperatures. Young children, the elderly and afflicted suffered tremendously. 

While many of the businesses in towns like Carthage and Southern Pines were able to pool their resources to help as many as they could, a group of community-based organizations that call themselves “the Moore County CRISIS Coalition,” have been working since the day after the  blackout began to supply free food, diapers and generators to rural Black churches throughout Moore County.

Working with relief organizations from across the state including West Southern Pines Civic Organization, Moore County NAACP leaders, More for Moore, Helping Hands, Trinity AME Zion Church and many county churches, Moore County CRISIS Coalition collected and distributed food, batteries, blankets, generators, gas cards, diapers and other human necessities for poor families who were suddenly put in dire circumstances because of the unforeseen circumstances.

At least one Black church, Trinity AME Zion, pastored by Rev. Paul Murphy, set up a distribution center for the needy that plans to remain open through the holidays.

Our response to this crisis ought to be governed by organizations familiar with and committed to the well-being of our Black and Brown sisters and brothers, and other poor people,” a CRISIS leader, O’Linda Watkins, the Moore County NAACP president for twenty-five years, said. 

“While law enforcement does its duty, we will work on fulfilling the human needs revealed by the power outage emergency. Anyone wishing to support grassroots, community-led relief efforts can help us collect and distribute donations for those most impacted at the distribution center at Trinity AME Zion Church.”

“We know when the lights and refrigerators get power, tens of thousands of poor and working people will still be without food and other basic needs. Electricity is wonderful, but it doesn’t feed the babies. The attack hit the poor, disabled, elderly and sick in our communities the hardest, particularly our sisters and brothers in the small Black communities that are often centered around a Black church.”

Watkins continued, “We call on people of good will to support us by donating to: Moore County CRISIS Coalition. Checks can be sent to Moore County NAACP “Donation” website, Moore Please add “CRISIS” on the memo line of the check.


                                                           Floyd McKissick, Jr.





BY Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The first vice chairman of the North Carolina Democrat Party, former 

state Senator Floyd McKissick Jr., says Moore v. Harper, the pivotal North Carolina case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last week, “…poses an existential threat to our democracy.”

The question at hand - does the NC Supreme Court have the legal 

authority to strike down the NC legislature’s “illegally gerrymandered congressional map for violating the North Carolina Constitution?”

North Carolina’s Republican legislative leadership says no, that when it comes to federal elections, neither the state constitution nor the state Supreme Court should have any power over the state legislature.

This is called the “independent state legislature theory” some Republicans and conservatives argue can be found in the U.S. Constitution. Many legal experts - both conservative and liberal - have called the “theory” a bad misinterpretation of a passage in the U.S. Constitution, that if allowed by the U.S. High Court, could empower state lawmakers across the nation to actually rig elections, illegally draw unconstitutional voting districts, and effectively stay in power without accountability.

And voters would have no legal recourse to stop them.

        Republicans are the majority in over 54 percent of the nation’s state legislatures. Democrats in over 44%.

The NC case - in 2021, the GOP-led legislature passed an extremely partisan congressional voting map that gave the state ten Republican-leaning Congressional districts, and only four Democrat-leaning districts. Voters sued the NC legislature in state court, contending that its gerrymandered map violated North Carolina’s “free elections clause.”

Last February, the Democrat-led state Supreme Court agreed that the Republican-led legislature created an illegal extremely partisan congressional map, and struck it down.

Undeterred, Republican lawmakers drew up a second partisan congressional map, forcing the state High Court to order a special master to come in and draw a more constitutional map for the 2022 midterm elections.

That’s when Republican House Speaker Tim Moore petitioned the 

conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court to step in and counter the state Supreme Court, reinstating their voting map. At first, the Moore petition was rejected, but four of the conservative justices urged Speaker Moore to petition again, and in June, the case was accepted.

And that’s how North Carolina’s “independent state legislature theory” came before the U.S. High Court last week.

In his op-ed to the News & Observer, former Sen. McKissick recalled his days in the legislature, sitting on the Redistricting Committee, where Republicans would draw partisan maps that “…split communities and neighborhoods down the middle to dilute the democratic process and disenfranchise voters — disproportionately impacting communities of color.”

With Moore v. Harper, they are taking matters to the brink by appealing to a Republican-dominated Supreme Court in hopes it will put partisanship before people and support their fringe independent legislature doctrine,” McKissick opined.

Republicans willingness to cast aside decades of precedent and our very Constitution for partisan gain is alarming and North Carolinians should pay attention. Our democracy is fragile. We must fight to protect it.”

McKissick added, “Republicans are merely interpreting the Constitution to fit their needs.”

For more than three hours Dec. 7th, the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides of the issue. According to observers, even some of the High Court’s conservative justices - Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Comes Barrett - realized how extreme the independent state legislature theory was, and how it could negatively impact future federal elections, starting in 2024. 

Arch-conservative justices Clarence Thomas, Neal Gorsuch and Samuel Alito had no problem with the “theory,” and seemed pre-disposed to rule for it.

The High Court’s newest associate justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, seemed to indicate that she will join her liberal colleagues Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor in her line of questioning, noting that the nation’s founders  “…sought to constrain the power of state legislatures.”

          A decision is Moore v. Harper is expected in July 2023.


Monday, December 5, 2022


                                          REV, DR. CARDES H. BROWN, JR.


                                       NAACP PRES./CEO DERRICK JOHNSON




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Just as local branch elections were scheduled to commence last weekend, the National NAACP suspended two prominent North Carolina branch presidents because of their association with Justice Coalition USA.

O’Linda Watkins McSurely of Moore County and Rev. C. Bradley Hunt of Guilford County were suspended after receiving cease and desist letters, and not allowed to run for re-election of their respective county NAACP branches because they have been critical of the national leadership of NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson.

In Rev. Hunt’s case, he was replaced during a branch election on Saturday where at least 80 members did not receive electronic ballots because the national NAACP instituted its controversial “Election Buddy” system.

Mrs. Watkins-McSurely has been the Moore County president for 25 years, has served as a State Assistant Secretary and a State Conference Chair, in addition to being a Gold life member.

The change in conducting branch elections was just one of the issues addressed during a fiery press conference November 30th by Justice Coalition USA, ““…a coalition of NAACP members seeking redress of the issues of the NAACP National Organization illegally taking over Branches and state organizations and to address the apparent corruption existing under the current national leadership.”

        Concerns were raised about the NAACP splitting off into the NAACP Empowerment Programs, Inc. without general notice to membership.

Calling National Pres/CEO Johnson a “dictatorship,”  Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown Jr., servant leader of the Justice Coalition USA and also a suspended NAACP member, further accused Johnson during the presser of forcing the electronic election process on NAACP units (chapters/branches) deliberately in order to limit voting to the local NAACP leaders that he wants in office.

Rev. Brown further alleged that there are no accountability measures in place to ensure that the election results are correct. So whatever the initial results are, there is no confirmation. The Justice Coalition USA calls this “voter suppression…in full display under the autocratic system of Derrick Johnson…. His cover-up leaves branches across the nation disenfranchised.”

For instance, a November 19th email from NC NAACP Pres. Deborah Maxwell to the Greensboro branch members confirmed that their Dec. 3rd election would be conducted only by Election Buddy.

“There will be no in-person voting,” Pres. Maxwell’s email declared. “There will be no in-person elections.”

Veteran NAACP members point out that constitutionally, electronic elections have not been the accepted process for electing branch or state conference officers. The NAACP Constitution/Bylaws spell out a complete nominating and vote tabulation process that is locally controlled.

That constitutional process was discarded during the October 23, 2021 North Carolina NAACP conference executive committee elections that saw then incumbent NC NACCP Pres. Rev. T. Anthony Spearman replaced with New Hanover County branch Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell.

Rev. Spearman was later suspended for protesting what happened, and a group to NC NAACP supporters who eventually called themselves Justice Coalition USA was born.

At their presser, Rev. Brown and Justice Coalition USA presented testimonies from across the nation documenting election controversies as a result of the national NAACP’s electronic election process.

In Hillsborough County, Florida for instance, the November 15th election for Hillsborough County NAACP officers “…took an ugly turn…when police were called to disperse upset members over not being able to vote, despite being lifetime members,” the Florida Sentinel Bulletin reported. 

Of the 890 members eligible, only 250 were allowed to cast votes, according to Joe Robinson of the Tampa NAACP, who joined the Justice Coalition USA presser by Zoom audio. Robinson attributed the problem to the branch secretary failing to send out timely email notices to all of the membership to vote per Election Buddy.

Robinson said he and two other members were suspended for protesting. Robinson contends that he was suspended and taken off his branches’ ballot for 2nd Vice President because he spoke out. He says he awaits his NAACP hearing over the matter.

Robinson added that he plans to file a federal lawsuit against the “NAACP administrators” for violating his constitutional rights.

In Georgia, Barbara Pierce, the immediate past president of the NAACP in Columbus, charges that her name was taken off the Election Buddy ballot without her knowledge. Pierce said she called Derrick Johnson and told him to stop the election, and that she didn’t want what happened in North Carolina to happen to her. Johnson allegedly threatened her to stay quiet. Pierce says the person who ultimately won is the person Johnson allegedly handpicked.

Pierce said they “cheated” to keep her out.

There were similar stories from California, Texas and Louisiana.

Rev. Brown and Justice Coalition USA demanded that “…all NAACP elections across the country [implement] more than one voting method…” They hold not just Johnson, but NAACP Board Chairman Leon Russell, and national administrator Gloria Sweet-Love responsible for the mayhem.

For his part, National NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson, has accused Rev. Brown and the Justice Coalition USA  of “…disparaging” the NAACP. He further accused the Justice Coalition USA of “…undermining and discrediting” the National NAACP and the NC NAACP.


                                                                 PROF. IRVING JOYNER



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Now that the November 2022 midterm elections are certified official and in the history books, we now know more for certain - despite a what looked like a promising early vote total, the Black vote performed poorly.

Previous analysis depended on a look at several key counties, especially those with high Black voter populations.What was known prior to the certification was that total turnout was down 51% from 53% in the 2018 midterms.

But now we know the following with certainty:

- more than 3.7 million North Carolinians voted in the 2022 midterms

        - Whites had a higher turnout (58.3%) than in 2018 (56.2%)

- Blacks had a lower turnout (41.9%) than in 2018 (48.4%)

         - Durham, Wake, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Cumberland, Forsyth and Pitt counties had           

           the highest number of registered Black voters, but all also saw dramatically poor      

           black voter turnouts

- Youth turnout was lower in 2022 than in 2018

- Republican turnout was higher percentage-wise than Democrat in 2022.

So what does this all mean? 

Irving Joyner, law professor and Charles Hamilton Houston Endowed Chair at North Carolina Central University School of Law, took a look at the numbers for the 2022 midterm election turnout, and saw the following:

The past election cycle presented distressing outcomes for African Americans in North Carolina,” Prof. Joyner said. “Based on the numbers, it appears that in many traditional African American communities, voter participation decreased and this inaction negatively impacted the races of Cheri Beasley and other African American candidates.”

“The numbers are not definitive in that for over 640,000 voters, their race identities have not been determined, “ Joyner continued. “Nevertheless for the most part, votes from the traditional African American communities were down and disappointing. These disappointing results certainly impacted those African American statewide candidates who sought election to the US Senate and the Court of Appeals, but were not responsible for their losses. These statewide losses resulted from the failure to create an urgency on the part of other voters who did not participate in this election cycle.”

Prof. Joyner did see a handful of positive Black voting outcomes.

“There were bright points in the voter participation where African American voters in several urban areas met or exceeded their expectations and resulted in the historic election of three African Americans in congressional races. In these races, the African American voter turnout was robust, but in most Down-East communities, the voter participation was truly disappointing.”

Those races were Black Democrat Don Davis in the First Congressional District, succeeding the outgoing Black veteran Congressman G. K. Butterfield; Black Democrat Valerie Foushee in the Fourth Congressional District succeeding outgoing Rep. David Price; and Wiley Nickel in the Thirteenth Congressional District, defeating Trump-backed Republican Bo Hines.

Still, Prof. Joyner says, reasons for why the Black vote was depressed during the midterms are still a mystery.

“Clearly, African Americans were not highly motivated to turnout for the statewide races,” Joyner continued.  “It is not clear why there was this result given the massive televised attention that was given to the candidates and issues which were presented to the public.” 

“Moving forward,” Prof. Joyner concluded, “… we are still studying the turnout data in order to be more specific as to “why” we had these results and what is needed to reverse what we pray is not a trend.”


Monday, November 28, 2022


                                               STATE SENATOR MILTON "TOBY" FITCH, JR. 




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

It’s a question that Democrats had better find the answer to prior to the 2024 presidential/NC gubernatorial elections.

What happened to the North Carolina Black vote during the November 2022 midterm elections?

By all accounts, turnout overall in North Carolina was lower in the 2022 midterms than in the 2018 midterm elections, despite predictions to the contrary initially. Fifty-three percent of the electorate voted in 2018, compared to just 51% in 2022, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections.

Part of the reason was a “depressed” voter turnout by the Democratic base, according to political analyst Thomas Mills.

“…African American voters had the lowest turnout since before Barack Obama won the state in 2008,” Mills stated in his Politics NC newsletter last week. “Overall, turnout was below 2018 by more than two percent despite a Senate race this year and a Blue Moon election four years ago.”

What is striking is that this low midterm election turnout contrast to the 75% of eligible voters casting ballots  in the 2020 presidential election, which saw more than 5 million North Carolinians go to the polls.

The results of the 2022 midterms were made official on November 29th, so absolute final statewide numbers will take some time to be made available, but a few things are clear just based on the unofficial county-by-county tallies. Republicans were able to win a supermajority in the state Senate, fall one vote shy of a supermajority in the state House, take the majority on the state Supreme Court, maintain a majority on the state Court of Appeals, and essentially wipe out Black representation in Eastern North Carolina, because white, older Republican voters in the state’s rural voting districts “showed up, and showed out.”

But what was most surprising to many observers was that even rural counties that logged more African-American voters than white, went Republican, even though there was a moderate Black female Democrat running at the top of the ticket.

“While Cheri Beasley ran a competent [U.S Senate] campaign, raising the money to be competitive and keeping the race close until the fall, she failed to engage and motivate the base,” stated political analyst Thomas Mills. “She ran a cautious campaign in a year when she needed to take risks, either coming out more forcefully for some of her more controversial positions like legalizing marijuana or taking much harder jabs at Budd down the stretch.”

“Mills continued, “According to exit polls, her sensible policy positions won over independent voters by six points, but she still lost because Republican turnout substantially beat Democratic turnout.”

In short, Cheri Beasley failed to energize Black voters, especially young Black voters. True she did very well in urban counties. However, only Wake and Durham had above average turnout. Guilford and Forsyth had average, while Mecklenburg, Cumberland and Pitt were lackluster.

In rural Anson County for example, where President Barack Obama won in his 2012 reelection campaign, Democrat Beasley fell short.

And as noted before, Republicans were able to flip a number of Eastern North Carolina Black Democrat seats in Wilson, Nash, Pasquotank and Vance counties, sending veterans like state Sen. Milton “Toby” Fitch home.

Part of the reason was a redrawing of the voting district lines. But another reason is the fact that many of North Carolina’s historically African-American counties are losing Black population and getting older, while younger whites and Hispanics are moving in.

Looking at the county numbers, observers say the 2022 midterms skewed older and whiter than average.

So why was the 2020 election so large, and the 2022 election so small? Most observers say the Trump factor played a role. A majority of voters cast ballots because the former Republican president gave them a reason to - pro and con.

Many observers hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial ruling against Roe v. Wade would be the same motivator. But while it may have been elsewhere in the country, it had little effect in North Carolina.

With polarizing Black Republican Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson all but announced for governor in 2024, in addition to what is assured to be a hot national contest for president, perhaps involving Vice President Kamila Harris, North Carolina Democrats have to find more reasons to energize African-American and youth voters.

With Republicans in charge of almost the entire state governmental apparatus of North Carolina, observers say that will be a tough challenge indeed.


                                        SHAW UNIVERSITY  PRES. PAULETTE DILLARD




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

         Did the Spartanburg County, S.C. Sheriff’s Dept. violate the civil rights of a busload of Shaw University students during an Oct. 5th traffic stop search for drugs? University President Paulette Dillard says “yes,” while the authorities in South Carolina say absolutely not.

The question is in the hands of the U.S. Justice Dept. now as the historically-black institution announced just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday that it had filed a complaint with federal authorities to review the matter.

It was October 5th when a contract bus that the university hired to transport 18 Shaw students and two advisers, all Black,  from Raleigh to an economic conference in Atlanta, Ga., was stopped and searched for illegal drugs by two Spartanburg Sheriff’s Dept. deputies with a canine.

Pres. Dillard, flanked by outside General Counsel Atty Dan Blue III and other Shaw Administration officials, told reporters during a November 21st press conference, that she doesn’t see the justification for a drug search to emanate from a simple traffic stop without probable cause.

S.C. authorities have claimed that the bus was stopped because the driver was weaving on the highway. They said deputies had concerns that the driver was falling asleep, and they couldn’t see inside the bus because it had tinted windows. So any accusation, authorities said,  that the bus was stopped because it was carrying Black students is wrong.

But Pres. Dillard countered that every vehicle stopped for a traffic infraction on that S.C. highway isn’t searched for illegal drugs. So why was the Shaw bus searched, if racial profiling was not involved?

Spartanburg Sheriff Chuck Wright has said that of the 39 vehicles stopped by his deputies on that highway recently , at least one contained $500,000 in contraband, thus the value of the random selection otherwise known as “Operation Rolling Thunder.”

“If anything we’re ever doing is racist, I want to know it, I want to fix it and I want to never let it happen again,” Wright said during his own presser Nov. 1st. “But this case right here has absolutely nothing to do with racism.”

Wright, along with Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller, and the two deputies involved in the search, screened body cam video of the Shaw bus incident, pointing out how courteous and cooperative the driver, Shaw advisers and students were when their bus was boarded.

The bodycam also showed the police dog sniffing through the luggage in the bus under carriage. Only one bag reportedly caused the dog to react, and it contained some prescription medicine, and a donut.

The deputies made no arrests, and the bus was allowed to proceed  on to Atlanta.  The same bus returned without incident days later.

In her Nov. 21 remarks, Pres. Dillard praised the traveling Shaw students for maintaining their composure during the incident.

Shaw Student Body President Mariah Williams also expressed pride in the manner which those students comported themselves, but then added that “now is the time for accountability.”

“The fight for civil rights is an ongoing necessity,” Ms. Williams added, lamenting how unfair it was for S.C. deputies to assume the worst of the traveling Shaw students just because they were Black.

Williams also reminded all that Shaw University is the birthplace of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, so seeking justice where there is none is an integral part of its history.

Atty Blue III told reporters that the university submitted a formal request for a federal investigation on November 14th to the U.S. Justice Dept. Blue maintains that the highway search was a violation of Title Six and other civil rights statues.

Blue said that based on the bodycam footage and narrative of the traffic stop, the complaint maintains that there is no evidence of a lane violation by the bus driver on the interstate highway. Secondly, the students never provided consent for their bags in the bus under carriage to be physically searched, which the video shows also happened with at least three student bags. In fact, students did not know their bags were also being physically searched until they saw the law enforcement video weeks later.

And third, probably most importantly as Dr Dillard alluded to,  this traffic stop, as we learned,  was part of Operation Rolling Thunder, which is an operation that South Carolina conducts periodically each year and has done so for the last many years where they police the interstates, particularly using lane violations and traffic stops to seize illegal weapons and drugs, Atty Blue continued.

“More importantly, they seized currency last year. During this operation, they seized over $968,000. This operation is something that they continue to do and it's something that's alarming. It gives them every motivation to turn every traffic stop, every lane violation, every faulty turn signal, every busted tail light into an illegal search and seizure for which they're compensated and rewarded while people are traumatized and stopped during their travels. “

Blue said Shaw officials have submitted a complaint to the U.S. Justice Dept. for review, which should then forward it to the appropriate team or agency within for resolution. He added that whatever the Justice Dept.’s final decision, Shaw University has done its part by standing up for justice.