Sunday, January 30, 2022


                                                                CHESLIE KRYST




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Why would a young, successful African-American woman who had achieved so much, and was positioned to accomplish even more, reportedly throw herself off from a New York City high-rise apartment building to end her life so soon?

That is the question being asked in the wake of the tragic, and yes, shocking death by suicide of Charlotte attorney Cheslie Kryst last Sunday. Published reports say that Kryst, who was crowned Miss North Carolina and Miss USA in 2019, was found dead on the sidewalk in front of the Orion Building in Manhattan where she lived, Sunday morning.

Saying that she jumped from the ninth floor, NYC police have ruled her death a suicide.

Cheslie Kryst was just 30 years old.

On the heels of the unfortunate suicide of actress/director Regina King’s 26 year old son, Ian Alexander, Jr., Cheslie Kryst’s tragic death was mourned by many on social media.

“Heartbreaking loss,” posted Renee from Charlotte on Facebook, one of many. “Prayers for GOD’s comfort to family and friends.”

Hours before her death, Ms. Kryst posted a sullen photo of herself with the words, “May this day bring you rest and peace.”

At first blush, Cheslie Kryst seemed to have it all, and was on track to  have even more. But there were deep tears underneath all of her successes.

In March 2021, she authored an essay in Allure magazine titled, ‘ A Pageant Queen Reflects on Turning 30,” where, in the very first line she wrote, “Each time I say “I’m turning 30,” I cringe a little. Sometimes I can successfully mask this uncomfortable response with excitement; other times, my enthusiasm feels hollow, like bad acting. Society has never been kind to those growing old, especially women. (Occasional exceptions are made for some of the rich and a few of the famous.) When I was crowned Miss USA 2019 at 28 years old, I was the oldest woman in history to win the title…A grinning, crinkly-eyed glance at my achievements thus far makes me giddy about laying the groundwork for more, but turning 30 feels like a cold reminder that I’m running out of time to matter in society’s eyes — and it’s infuriating.

Beyond being a Charlotte attorney, former Miss North Carolina and Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst was also a social activist, and an Emmy Award nominated correspondent for the television magazine show Extra.

Kryst was born in 1991 in Jackson, Michigan, attended high school in South Carolina and graduated cum laude from the University of Carolina.

According to a NC Bar Association blog entry in 2019 titled,  Members in Focus: Cheslie Kryst Knows the Beauty of Persistence, Kryst actually lost at her first attempt to win Miss North Carolina with the Miss America organization in 2014.

She fell short again in 2015.

By that time, she had aged out of competition for Miss America, so she decided to go for Miss USA. In 2016, Kryst was crowned fourth runner -up  for Miss North Carolina.

Came back in 2017 and nothing…not even a swimsuit award which she nailed three times before.

2017 was also the year that she graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law, earning a law degree, an MBA and winning a national student trial advocacy competition. Kryst had also passed the North Carolina Bar, and was hired as an associate at Poyner Spruill in Charlotte.

She had also started a fashion blog, White Collar Glam, in her spare time.

But winning a top crown was still Kryst’s dream…something her mother, April Simpkins, a former Mrs. North Carolina, accomplished in 2002.

With one year to go before she aged out of the Miss USA Organization, Cheslie Kryst went out for the 2019 Miss North Carolina crown, and then Miss USA, both of which she won.

Kryst used her reign to focus on a plethora of social problems and community projects.

Still, two years after the fact, Cheslie Kryst was in pursuit of a personal happiness that seemed to allude her, until her untimely death Sunday.

I discovered that the world’s most important question, especially when asked repeatedly and answered frankly, is: why?,” Cheslie Kryst wrote in her March 2021 Allure  essay.Why earn more achievements just to collect another win? Why pursue another plaque or medal or line item on my resume if it’s for vanity’s sake, rather than out of passion? Why work so hard to capture the dreams I’ve been taught by society to want when I continue to only find emptiness?

Some saw the underlying warning in Ms. Kryst’s death - that there are those among us who are suffering mentally and emotionally more than others, despite their outward appearance, who need help.

“Check in on your friends, family and neighbors,” wrote Yvonne Lewis Holley, former NC House member on Facebook. “Your call, smile and love today could save a life.”

Editor’s note - if you or a loved one are struggling with mental health issues, call (888)331-3881 to learn more about best treatment options.



                                                         DEBORAH DICKS-MAXWELL




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

“This state has lost a champion for the people. She left her imprint for justice on this state and country,” NC NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell said last week upon news of the death of Ms. Carolyn Q. Coleman - First Vice President NC NAACP, National NAACP Board of Directors, Guilford County Commissioner and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

“On her shoulders I ascended to my current position, and while she is not here, I remain committed to the task at hand.”

Ms. Dicks-Maxwell, the first female ever to lead the NC NAACP, concluded her tribute to  Ms Coleman with, “She was my shero and mentor.”

Indeed, many a female member of the NC NAACP are saying likewise about Carolyn Quilloin Coleman of Greensboro, who died January 26 at age 79.

“The NAACP feels the loss of one of it’s most dedicated activists and advocates,” the veteran civil rights organization said in a statement on it’s website last week. “ she is missed dearly by the communities she served. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and loved ones during this time.”

A life steeped in standing up for human and civil rights, the Savannah, Georgia native was one of the first of three black students arrested while protesting racial segregation there. That led to a personal and professional commitment to public service via the NAACP for over 28 years where Coleman rose through the ranks to become a regional youth director, field director, Alabama state director, and later a member of the Board of Directors.

“You can depend on Carolyn Coleman,” her friend, Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) of Charlotte, once said in an NC NAACP video tribute to Ms. Coleman. Rep. Adams went on to recall when both women were arrested by Greensboro police many years ago during a public protest, were handcuffed, and taken to jail.

“Carolyn was the most sincere human rights person I’ve ever met,”  the late Andrea Harris, cofounder of the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development, once said. “It’s just who she is. She doesn’t know she’s fighting when she’s fighting.”

Coleman also served as a special assistant to N.C. Governor James B. Hunt on Minority Affairs, and later as a Guilford County commissioner where she served for twenty years since 2002, ultimately becoming that body’s first Black female chairwoman in it’s history.

“I’ve learned over my career as a public servant that government is only as good as the people who run it,” Ms. Coleman once said during a Guilford County commissioners meeting.

“We need leaders with the values and courage to do what it takes to make government work for the people it’s supposed to serve.”

Not once in her remarkable life, did she slow down in her advocacy and commitment to supporting equity, inclusion and tolerance,” current Chairman Melvin “Skip” Alston said in a Guilford County press release about his longtime friend and colleague.

Gov. Hunt once called Carolyn Coleman “a wonderful leader” with ‘the qualities you want see in a good person.”

Ms. Coleman is survived by her son, Carlton.


                                NC ASSOCIATE JUSTICR ANITA EARLS



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

NC Associate Justice Anita Earls, who will turn 62 later this month, finds herself the center of political attention and drama this week both here in North Carolina, and in the nation’s Capitol. 

Justice Earls is reportedly on a touted “short list” to become Pres. Joe Biden’s first Black female nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, taking the seat of the retiring U.S. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer.

The White House has not formally confirmed that Earls is being considered.

Beyond that speculation, Earls is also one of the four Democrats who lead the 4-3 NC. Supreme Court majority, and finds herself under partisan Republican attack because she is considering the legality of a new GOP redistricting map that critics charge is “extreme partisan gerrymandering” that dilutes Black voting strength, costing several incumbent African-American lawmakers their seats if ratified.

       The NC NAACP, a plaintiff in one of the consolidated lawsuits against the voting map, filed an amicus brief Monday stating, "The Congressional and Legislative maps enacted in 2021 by the North Carolina General Assembly  on their face rise to the level of depriving Black voters in North Carolina of the constitutionally protected right to vote on equal terms as non-Black voters – a right the North Carolina NAACP has fought for valiantly for more than 80 years"

A three-judge lower Superior Court panel approved the map several weeks ago. The state’s High Court began hearing oral arguments Wednesday. Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a Republican attempt to extend the date for primary elections from May 17 to June 7 in case Justice Earls and the other three Democrats on the High Court rule against the map.

Republican state senators and the conservative press began pouncing on Earls weeks ago in hopes that she would recuse herself from hearing the case because as a civil rights attorney prior to being elected to the bench, Earls successfully fought against previous GOP racial and partisan gerrymandering maps. The GOP has even filed court motions to get her off now.

Earls legally took a $250,000 donation for her 2018 campaign for the NC Supreme Court from the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is led by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder.

“Buying judgeships so partisan activists can use the power of the court to get desired political outcomes destroys the legitimacy of the judiciary,” wrote Sen. Amy Galey (R- Alamance) in a recent scurrilous press release.

In a subsequent release, Galey wrote. “Justice Earls’ conflicts are obvious and egregious. Imagine the outcry if, say, an oil company gave six figures to elect a judge and then brought a suit to overturn environmental regulations before that same judge.

Sen. Galey neglected, however, to note the alleged conflict of interest of Republican NC Associate Justice Phil Berger Jr. who is the son of Republican NC Senate Majority leader Phil Berger, who led passage of the redistricting map under review. 

If Justice Earls felt the pressure and took herself off from considering the case, that would reduce the voting justices to 3-3, thus allowing the lower Superior Court panel ruling to stand in case of a party line tie vote.

If Justice Berger Jr. recused, the number would drop to 3-2, maintaining a Democratic court majority, and dooming the map.

Needless to say, neither Earls nor Berger Jr. has given any indication that they’re going anywhere.

To add insult to injury, Republican legislative leaders have floated a veiled threat to  impeach Justice Earls in the conservative press. 

A Raleigh News and Observer editorial stated, “That Republican lawmakers want to unfairly skew elections isn’t a surprise. But their campaign to bully a justice before a verdict or even a hearing is unexpected and disgraceful.”

For her part, Justice Earls has ignored the Republican threats, but did say she was ’honored’ to be on a recognized short list to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.

Observers say that given Justice Earls' competition, she  is a long shot, at best.




[WILMINGTON] Every Friday night in February at 5:30 p.m., the Wilmington Parks and Recreation Dept will host a free family movie night in the MLK Center at 401 South Eight Street, with free popcorn. Kids under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, and everyone must pre-register online at the Wilmington Parks and Rec. website.

This Friday, February 4th is Black Panther (PG-13)

Friday, Feb. 11 is Radio (PG)

Friday , Feb. 18 is Corrina, Corrina (PG)

And Friday, Feb. 25 is Ruby Bridges (PG)


[RALEIGH] Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson reportedly has raised $1.5 million for his 2024 camping for governor, published reports say. The black conservative firebrand, known for his advocacy for gun rights, and opposition to gay people and the teaching of Black History in public schools, has done everything but formally announce that he’s running for governor. In a message to his supporters, Robinson promised to “…keep kicking them in the teeth,” referring to his critics. Robinson professes to be a good Christian.


[WILMINGTON] During his recent visit to the Port City, state Attorney General Josh Stein took time out to honor NC NAACP President Deborah Dicks-Maxwell with the Dogwood Award for 2021. “My life has been spent working for the people of North Carolina, or wherever I reside,” said Maxwell. “So it’s always gratifying, it doesn’t have to be, to be recognized. Because whether I’m recognized or not, I’m going to continue working for the people,” the former NHC NAACP president said. The Dogwood Award recognizes those in communities across North Carolina who have done exceptional work to keep those communities strong.


                                NC NAACP PRES. DEBORAH DICKS-MAXWELL RECEIVING THE  


Saturday, January 22, 2022





By Cash Michaels

Will the race-based admissions policy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a public institution, survive examination of the 6-3 conservative majority U.S. Supreme Court ? The High Court agreed to take up the case Monday, in addition to looking at the same policy maintained by prestigious Harvard University, a private institution. The justices could hear arguments this fall.

If a majority of justices agree with plaintiffs Students for Fair Admissions’ lawsuits that the policies discriminate against whites and Asian Americans, thus creating racial quotas, there could be less Black and Hispanic students on the nation’s college campuses if they got there by affirmative action.

In short, less diversity on majority white college campuses.

Most observers agree that the conservative Supreme Court majority is  likely to do away with race-based admissions, especially since three of the six conservatives on the court now - Chief Justice John Roberts, and associate justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas - were in the minority when the court last took up a similar case in 2016.

At that time, by a 4-3 margin, the court ruled in a case involving a white woman suing the University of Texas that colleges and universities could use race only as a narrow factor in admissions.

Since that ruling, Pres. Donald Trump appointed three more conservatives to the High Court after associate justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia died, and Anthony Kennedy left in 2018.

It was 1978 when the Supreme Court decided it’s first landmark affirmative action college admissions case, siding with the Regents of the University of California against a white student named Allan Bakke in ruling that race can be a factor in admissions.

UNC and Harvard are technically two separate lawsuits that have been joined together for the convenience of the court.

“We look forward to defending the University’s holistic admissions process before the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Beth Keith, Associate Vice Chancellor for University Communications, in a statement. “As the trial court held, our process is consistent with long-standing Supreme Court precedent and allows for an evaluation of each student in a deliberate and thoughtful way.”

UNC’s admissions policy had won approval last October when a Black federal judge in North Carolina ruled that its diversity policy “…stands strict scrutiny…is therefore constitutionally permissible,” and was beneficial to students.



                                                      BISHOP WILLIAM J. BARBER II



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Bishop William Barber doesn’t see the U.S. Senate’s filibuster just as a mechanism to thwart the passage of important voting rights legislation, as happened last week when two moderate Democratic senators joined with 50 Republicans to vote against changing the rules. He sees it as a tool against helping poor people of all colors achieve the economic and civil rights justice they have long been historically denied.

“We should’ve never had a separation of  [Pres. Biden’s] infrastructure bill, Build Back Better and voting rights,” Bishop Barber told reporters recently while promoting the national Poor People’s Campaign’s Mass Poor People and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls on June 18th. “We should’ve recognized that the infrastructure of our democracy [is also vital].”

As many present-day observers agree, Bishop Barber is often compared to 1960s’ civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because of his outspoken opposition to civil injustice. So it is no surprise that King, whose birthday and holiday the nation commemorated last week, also once criticized the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule of requiring 60 votes when, in the opinion of many,  a simple majority of 100 senators should be all that’s needed.

“I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress, with a Senate, that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting,” Dr. King is seen saying during video of a 1963 press conference.

Almost 60 years later, it was Dr. King’s eldest son, Martin III, who blasted Senate Republicans plus moderate Democrats Joe Manchin (D-WVa) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az) for not voting to change the filibuster rules to allow passage of voting rights legislation.

“History will not remember them kindly,” King III told marchers in the nation’s capitol last week.

The repeated failure of  the Democrat-led Senate  to pass meaningful voting rights legislation this session of Congress (the Democratic majority in the House has passed it) means that for North Carolina, unless the 4-3 Democrat majority on the NC Supreme Court rules otherwise, the voting districts redrawn by NC Republican legislative leaders for NC congressional and legislative races will not only maintain a lopsided GOP majority in the state for the nest ten years, but will do so at the cost of current Black elected representation.

According to an analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, the new redistricting by Republicans in the state legislature does African-American voters in North Carolina no favors.

       The new [congressional] district configuration eliminates one of the state’s two majority-minority districts and packs nonwhite population into the other one. A third district that was close to being majority nonwhite now has fewer of people of color. The other districts largely see major population centers divided up in ways that do not follow community lines or natural geographic boundaries. Wake, Mecklenburg, and Guilford Counties, all home to sizeable communities of color, are each split across three separate districts under the new plan. And Forsyth and Guilford Counties are broken apart, suggesting an effort to diminish the influence of Black voters in and around the city of Greensboro, echoing maps from last decade that were found to violate the state constitution.

How his First Congressional District has been redrawn, for instance,  is the same reason why Congressman G. K. Butterfield, a veteran African-American Democrat, has announced that he is stepping down after nine terms in office.

Per the legislative maps, at least two Black incumbent Democrat state senators in eastern North Carolina -  Ernestine Bazemore from Bertie County, and veteran state Sen. Milton “Toby” Fitch of Wilson - have no chance of winning reelection in their newly drawn districts, according to an analysis by UCLA political scientist Jeffrey B. Lewis in recent court testimony 

        It wasn’t always this way. 

Section 5 of the VRA prevented states with a history of voting rights discrimination, like North Carolina, from implementing any changes to its elections or redrawing of its voting districts without “pre-clearance” from the U.S. Justice Dept. first.

But in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Section 5, freeing North Carolina and other southern states from that requirement, thus opening a virtual Pandora's Box of questionable redistricting and voting changes that now threaten fair elections in North Carolina and elsewhere, critics say.

The voting rights legislation that today’s U.S. Senate has failed to pass would have restored the Section 5 VRA requirements, and protected communities of color. Senate Democrats’ failure means North Carolina  Democrats and progressive groups have to fight Republican efforts step by step.

In anticipation of a state High Court ruling that the new maps are illegal gerrymanders, the Republican-led NC General Assembly last week voted to further postpone this year’s political primaries from May 17 - the date primaries were originally moved to by the three-judge panel  when they were postponed from March 8 - to a much-later June 7, in order to give themselves enough time to re-redraw the maps if so ordered by the NC Supreme Court.

Republicans do not want the NC Supreme Court redrawing the maps once the Court takes the case on Feb. 2nd, or having them redrawn without GOP input. If that happens, those maps will govern the 2022 elections, and beyond.

But that’s exactly what Democrats want, which is why they opposed the June 7th measure. Dems have already gotten signals that Gov. Roy Cooper may veto the measure.

On Jan. 21st, Gov. Cooper had joined with state Attorney Gen. Josh Stein in filing an amicus brief  “…urging the Court to ensure that state elections are conducted under fair maps that are free from partisan gerrymandering.”

“The trial court recognized what has been obvious all along, that the legislative and congressional maps were intentionally gerrymandered.” said Governor Cooper. “That’s wrong and unconstitutional because it strips voters of their voice and power in our democracy.”



IN NC FOR 2021

By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Which city in North Carolina had the Blackest population for 2021? And where did your city rank in the Top Ten? The Top Twenty? Even the Top One Hundred?

RoadSnacks is a subsidiary of the Raleigh-based real estate research group, HomeSnacks, which has been developing national and North Carolina lists of the cheapest places, best places to live, best small towns, fastest growing cities, most expensive cities, and other quality of life rankings for many years.

Based on the the latest U.S. Census data available (specifically the 2015 - 2019 American Community Survey Data), there are 42 million people in the United States who identify as either Black or African-American, comprising 12% of the total population.

Per North Carolina, 21.1% of it’s total population is Black or African-American.

Based on it’s research, RoadSnacks reports that Wadesboro - population 5, 305- had the highest percentage of citizens identifying as African-American in the state of North Carolina for 2021, at 72.05%.

Henderson - population 14, 948 - had the second largest percentage of Black citizens at 66.66%.

Kinston - population 20,398 - came in third with 65.86% Black or African-American.

Fourth for 2021 was Rocky Mount, which had a total population of 54,548 residents, 63.5% of whom were African-American

Oxford was fifth, with a population of just 8,721, 62.23% of whom were Black in 2021.

Sixth for 2021 was Williamston, which had 56.33% of it’s total population as Black.

Tarboro was seventh on the list of most Black populated cities in North Carolina with 54.74% of 10,915 total population.

Goldsboro came in eighth on the Blackest city in North Carolina list with 52.26% of a total population of 34,647.

Elizabeth City ranks ninth with 50.12% of a total population of 17,629 that are Black.

And rounding out the top ten Blackest cities in North Carolina for 2021, Laurinburg at 48.92% of 15,119.

For the record, based on this research by RoadSnack, Oak Island had the least number of African-American citizens in North Carolina, followed by Carolina Beach, and Kill Devil Hills.

Following the same rankings, from number 11 through twenty, Wilson had 48.2%; Nashville (47.12); Hamlet (46.0%); Selma (44.86%); Roxboro (44.48%); Knightdale (43.97%); Fayetteville (41.01%); Greensboro (41.01%); Dunn (40.83%); and Whiteville 40.7%).

Interesting Black populations of note across the state - Durham (38.02%); Statesville (35.43%); High Point (35.29%); Salisbury (35.03%); Charlotte (34.62%); Raleigh (28.23%); Wilmington (17.99%); Asheville (11.23%).

North Carolina comes in eighth of the top ten states in the nation with the largest Black population (Mississippi was the first).

The Blackest city in the nation -  Jackson, Mississippi.


Monday, January 17, 2022






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Does Fayetteville now have it’s own Ahmaud Arbery case in the killing of Jason Walker?

That is the question troubling many in the African-American community as investigators look into the January 8th fatal shooting of the 37-year-old black man and single father by an off-duty Cumberland County deputy just yards away from Walker’s home.

The deputy, Lt. Jeffrey Hash, claims he was driving on Bingham Drive in Fayetteville when an unknown, unarmed Black man jumped on the hood of his pickup truck, grabbed the windshield wipers, and began breaking the windshield glass with them.

Hash told police afterwards that out of “ fear for my family,” he drew his weapon and fatally shot the Black man, later identified as Walker.

One witness to the incident, Elizabeth Ricks, a trauma nurse, says she thinks she saw Hash strike Walker with his vehicle as the Black man was crossing the street. She rushed from her car to try to save Walker’s life while Hash reportedly stood in place just identifying himself as a sheriff’s deputy.

But another witness was Anthony Walker, Jason’s father. In police bodycam video, he’s seen telling police that he saw his son jump up onto Hash’s pickup hood.

"He came out the yard and I was trying to get him to come back over here and I called him, I said, 'Come back, Jason.'” Anthony Walker said. "He was out here in the daggone street when that fella drove up and he jumped up on the guy’s hood, the guy jumped out and …. shooting."

The State Bureau of Investigation is probing the incident, and will turn it’s findings over to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys upon completion for prosecution is any..

The story is both confusing and confounding.

How did Jason Walker end up on the hood of Lt. Hash’s car, if he was ever there at all?

What was the nature of Lt. Hash’s interaction with Walker before he was shot, if any?

Why didn’t Hash, a trained law enforcement officer, administer aid to Walker after the shooting?

According to the Fayetteville Police Dept., there was no record of Lt. Hash’s pickup truck hitting anyone per a contained “black box,” similar to what are in airplanes to record causes of crashes. Hash reportedly told police that Walker just jumped on top of the hood of his pickup for no reason grabbing for the windshield wiper. 

The only reported wounds to Walker were four gunshots to his body.

Fayetteville city officials have asked federal authorities to investigate the case, in addition to the SBI.

In the meantime, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who many call “America’s Black attorney general” for his successful work representing the families of Black shooting victims, is speaking out on behalf of Jason Walker’s family.

During a January 13th press conference at a local Fayetteville church, Crump, who has represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, called for accountability for Jason Walker’s death.

“It is the right thing to do to speak up for the truth of what happened to Jason Walker,” Crump said, noting that Deputy Hash is using the same ‘self-defense” argument that three white men used in the 2020 racial killing of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.They were eventually convicted.

Lt. Hash is on paid administrative leave  pending the outcome of an internal investigation. He was not charged nor arrested.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The seven justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments in the recently appealed redistricting case that a three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously ruled in favor of Republican legislative leaders, despite claims of racial and partisan unconstitutionality.

The four Democrat, three Republican-member High Court will hear virtual arguments on February 2nd.  The plaintiffs - North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, Inc.  and Common Cause -  appealed the January 11th decision, and are expected to have their briefs, and corresponding responses, submitted to the court by January 31st.

In their January 11th decision, the three-judge panel, consisting of two Republicans and one Democrat, ruled that despite how unfairly the legislative and Congressional voting districts were redrawn to give Republicans a decidedly overwhelming advantage in upcoming elections over the next ten years, they were nonetheless legal.

“This court neither condones the enacted maps nor their anticipated potential results,” the three-judge Superior Court panel wrote in its 260-page decision. “Despite our disdain for having to deal with issues that potentially lead to results incompatible with democratic principles and subject our state to ridicule, this court must remind itself that these maps are the result of a democratic process.”

Veterans of the NC redistricting process, like NC Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake), were not pleased with the ruling.

“To have an unleveled playing field…with this extreme partisan gerrymandering, is against the concepts of democracy and those clauses in the state Constitution that ensure that we are a government of the people, by the people and for the people - not one for politicians,” Sen. Blue said.

Other Democrats have also charged that the maps diluted Black voting strength. 

During the course of the recent Superior Court trial the Republican map maker admitted to using outside maps to assist in drawing the final House version, which was contrary to the GOP promise to make the map drawing process transparent.

“…Republicans lied to their colleagues when they promised a fair and transparent redistricting process,” said NC Democratic Party Chairwoman Bobbie Richardson. “They cheated by using secret maps and closed door strategy sessions, then destroyed the maps they used. They are trying to steal seats through illegal partisan gerrymandering and are choosing to proceed with costly litigation that hardworking taxpayers will pay for.”

Republicans countered that they did nothing wrong, followed guidance not to use racial data, and were as open as possible in what they produced.

Three pending lawsuits challenging the Republican-drawn redistricting maps were consolidated into one in order for NC High Court review.

Candidate filing for the March 2022 primaries had been delayed by the NC High Court to May 17, in order to expedite judicial review of the new maps and allow for time to redraw them if necessary. The January 11th decision also mandated that candidate filing resume on Feb. 24th, through noon March 4th.

Published reports say the primaries could be delayed until June.

Various Democratic leaders, including Gov. Roy Cooper, complained that if approved, the new GOP maps would produce eleven Republican congresspeople out of fourteen congressional districts., as well as very few competitive legislative voting districts in the state House and Senate.

First District Congressman G. K. Butterfield, a Democrat, has already announced that he will not run for re-election because his congressional district was redrawn to the extent where he could not win.

Voting districts are redrawn every ten years in order to account for how much a state’s population expands or shrinks in order to produce proportional representation in the NC General Assembly and Congress.


Thursday, January 13, 2022


Dear Publishers/Editors:

I hope that you are doing well, and that GOD is blessing you and your staffs in this new year.

As you well know, 2022 is expected to be yet another pivotal year in the ongoing struggles of the African - American community, and our state/nation as well. And as Black newspapers, we have a unique position in covering it all - from an African-American perspective. 

After many successful years writing for The Carolinian in Raleigh; The Wilmington Journal; The Carolina Peacemaker in Greensboro; The Winston-Salem Chronicle; The Carolina Times in Durham; Greater Diversity News in Wilmington; The County News in Mecklenburg County; and The Urban News in Asheville, I can honestly say that there is no Black reporter in the past 36 years who has covered North Carolina as I have.

       Add to that stories for The North Carolina Black Publishers Association, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, The Fayetteville Press, and New York’s Amsterdam News; in addition to awards from the NC NAACP and others for my coverage of special issues, I’d say no one writing for the Black Press today has the experience that I have.

Thanks to my special coverage in The Wilmington Journal and The Carolinian, for example, the Black Press of North Carolina was able to uncover critical evidence that led to the long awaited pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten in 2012.

Currently, I am covering statewide stories of interest to North Carolina’s African-American community for The Carolina Peacemaker, The County News and The Urban News. I write anywhere from two to three stories a week, and I meet deadlines starting at midnight Monday night.

I’d like to add YOUR Black newspaper that list.

My service is unique. Unlike a national wire service which may or may not do a story of statewide interest  to African-Americans, that’s ALL I do, my singular focus.This way, I compliment whatever local coverage you’re doing of your community.

In addition, if there is a special story I can do just for your market, I can and will, just say the word.

My service is designed to augment your local coverage to give your readers the statewide perspective on issues involving criminal and civil justice, voting rights, health care policy, civil rights, racial injustice, education, African-American achievement, government, etc.

Most of my stories will have headshots of the subjects written about, and be anywhere from 500 words or more. Of course, you can cut story length to fit your available space.

So what does my service cost? Depends on the package you get (there are no contracts). I charge $75.00 per story I farm out ( monthly papers get different pricing). You can choose to run two stories a week, or one story per week (or three if I write that many). Bottomline is at the end of the month, count how many stories you chose to run, times $75.00, and that’s your monthly fee for my service (unless you ask for a special story for your market, in which case it is $100.00 for that story).

I protect markets, so if there’s another Black newspaper publishing in yours, and you publish my stories, I WILL NOT do business with the other  Black newspaper! PERIOD! You just have to let me know who is in your market since I’m not there.

I send my stories out via email per your deadline. However, as a backup, I also post my stories for that week on my blog site that you can always go to in case you haven’t received  my stories via regular email. Just copy and paste the story(s) and drag the headshots.

My stories are always written in simple Word 97.

So that’s my pitch for 2022. I believe I have the track record and the reputation in our industry and beyond to assure you that I deliver. That’s what I’ve been doing for 36 years, and now I want to do it for YOU!

So seriously consider this offer. All I require is an email address to forward the weekly North Carolina-based African-American stories of current interest I write, to you or your editor, or the link to my blog containing those stories. Payment for the previous month’s stories is due by the first full week of the following month. If you need monthly invoices, that’s fine. Just let me know what stories you ran so you can be invoiced accurately.

And that’s it! Why shouldn’t African-Americans in North Carolina have their own up-to-date Black news service that gives them a statewide perspective on issues and events they should know about that could certainly affect them and their families?

Think about it, and let’s get started, TOGETHER, in February  2022!

        GOD BLESS!