Monday, August 28, 2023








By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Associate Justice Anita Earls, the only African American woman on the NC Supreme Court, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday, alleging that she is being "improperly investigated” by the NC Judicial Standards Commission (JSC) because she told a legal magazine that the state’s High Court had a problem with diversity on its staff.

Justice Earls, also one of two Black Democrats on the court until her colleague, Associate Justice Mike Morgan steps down next week, alleges that the JSC is trying to silence her with the investigation.

She calls it “clearly unconstitutional.”

"The First Amendment provides me and every American the right to free speech and to bring to light imperfections and unfairness in our political and judicial systems," Earls said in a statement through her attorney, Pressly Millen of Womble, Bond, Dickerson LLP.

"I believe that public confidence in the judiciary is best promoted by honestly looking at the facts, not by sweeping the truth under the rug or silencing dissenters.”

It’s no secret that Justice Earls has been a political target of even some of her Republican colleagues on the court, especially given her previous record as an outspoken civil rights attorney.

According to published reports, Justice Earls was notified on August 15th that she faced an investigation about her remarks in an article appearing in the legal online publication Law360 on June 20th titled “North Carolina Justice Anita Earls Opens up About Diversity.”

The very first sentence of the article states, “in an interview with Law360, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls discusses what’s behind a glaring lack of diversity on the state’s appellate bench and among advocates who argue before her court…”

Ironically, the JSC apparently doesn’t read North Carolina’s Black Press, because Black newspapers in Greensboro, Charlotte and other markets across the state published a story about remarks Justice Earls made to those attending the MLK Weekend Celebration Breakfast on January 14th at St. Mary’s FWB Church in Apex.

As the Black Press reported, Earls told the gathering “…that currently, when it comes to recruiting and hiring court clerks of color, there are no African-American law clerks, “ and that was with “…anywhere from 15-18 clerks working for the state Supreme Court presently.

“Being a clerk, Earls said, can be a gateway to higher positions of service in the legal community,” the story continued. “But if people of color are not properly represented, “that has real implications for our profession.”

She also shared how an internal diversity committee that she participated in last year was disbanded recently. When she asked why, Earls says she was told there was no need for it, and what purpose did it serve. 

Then she said she was told it was more important to “hire the most qualified people” for the state judiciary.



                                       JUSTICE MIKE MORGAN WITH PRES. BARACK OBAMA




 By Cash Michaels

An analysis

Will soon-to-be-retired Associate NC Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan run for governor in 2024? Only he, and those in his tight inner circle know for sure, but one tantalizing clue is the New Bern Democrat’s recent announcement that he is stepping down from the North Carolina High Court next week.

That in and of itself doesn’t confirm Morgan’s intention. But it does give Gov. Cooper, who legally cannot run for a third term, ample time to appoint another capable Democrat to fill out the remainder of Justice Morgan’s eight-year term, and possibly then run for election at the end of it.

Right now, Justice Morgan is only one of two Democrats serving on the seven-member State Supreme Court, along with Associate Justice Anita Earls. Both are African Americans.

So make no mistake that Morgan will not be saying anything about a possible gubernatorial run until he is ready. And until he officially steps down from the high bench, because he believes in maintaining the dignity and integrity of the state Supreme Court, Morgan won’t be saying much beyond what he has.

But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t positively tipped his hat.

In telling interviewers when he plans to step down, Morgan has added that he “…still has a desire to make a difference in the state of North Carolina.” He’s already spent 34 years serving the state in a variety of judicial capacities, with serving as a state Supreme Court justice the highest rung on that ladder, so that leaves politics.

With the 2024 elections literally just around the corner, there are a number of high profile state offices Mike Morgan could run for and win.

He could serve in the NC General Assembly, as other retired judges have, either as a state senator or representative. Morgan certainly has the experience and discipline to help make laws after a career of judging laws.

Neither office would be a step down for the accomplished lifelong Democrat.

But it’s apparent, at the age of 67, that Morgan wants more. An office that would put the cherry on the top of his family’s impressive history of political accomplishments in New Bern. His father was elected mayor there three times, and his mother was elected to the county school board.

Morgan has the intellect to lead, so the question becomes does he have the stomach for the back-and-forth and give-and-take of today’s sometimes vicious politics? If he feels that he does, and is willing to subject himself to the kind of unfortunate culture war slings and arrows that anticipated Republican gubernatorial standard-bearer Mark Robinson would throw at him, then there is only one office that Mike Morgan is preparing himself for - governor of the state of North Carolina.

Why governor? Why not lieutenant governor?

Given the low-level behavior Robinson has exhibited while holding that office, calling people “filth” and publicly demeaning even his own community, why come behind that?

And what about state attorney general? Certainly, with his wealth of legal experience, Mike Morgan would be beyond qualified to be the state’s top law enforcement officer.

True, but there is a higher brass ring to reach for if you’re going to run for a statewide office anyway.

Morgan has the experience, depth and professional polish necessary to be North Carolina’s next governor. The only thing he’s short on is the in-the-trenches political experience necessary given that he has not served in the General Assembly, but that can be overcome.

So the only question left beyond does Mike Morgan want it, is will he have the money to go get it? He’ll need significant bundles of campaign cash on two fronts to make it happen.

First, Morgan would have to get past fellow Democrat Josh Stein, which would be tough to do because Stein has strong backing within the party, has paid his dues, and is highly touted by the pro choice movement.

In recent elections across the country, Democrats have been winning where Republicans have tightened the screws on pro choice restrictions. Stein can easily ride that wave. 

But strangely enough, beyond that, there’s little pronounced excitement about a Stein candidacy, except that he could beat Robinson, who has vowed to make all abortions illegal in the state if elected.

Morgan, if he can get past Stein in next March’s Democratic primary, could create that needed excitement not just with female pro choice voters, but rural and urban black voters, and suburban voters who value accomplishment and education.

In running against Mark Robinson, money for a Morgan for Governor campaign would flow like water from all corners, even beyond North Carolina, for such a high profile race. That would not be a problem.

So the only thing left to answer is, after Mike Morgan officially steps down next week, considers all of his political options, and what it will take to make the most obvious one a reality, will he announce at some point thereafter, that he is, in fact, running for governor?

Circle December 15th on your calendar. That is the deadline for all candidates for office in 2024 to file.Yes, Morgan is expected to make it known long beforehand, but that is the drop dead date with which we can be sure.






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

With public schools across the state resuming classes this week, does that signal more parent protests against racial history being taught in the classroom, or African American literature being made available to students in libraries?

The New Hanover County Board of Education has scheduled a 9 a.m. hearing for Friday, Sept. 1st on the book, “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You,” written by children’s author Jason Reynolds. This is a children’s version of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi.

A high school student’s parent objected to the book being part of the A.P. Language and Composition course, and wants it removed from both the curriculum and school libraries in the NHC school system. The New Hanover County School Board must decide whether “Stamped” is appropriate, and whether it should be restricted, or removed altogether.

Legally, the board cannot remove or restrict the book for purely political reasons.

The outcome of the “Stamped” case could signal other challenges to racial history books and teaching across the state. Currently, the only NC county whose board of education has banned  the teaching of racial history, otherwise called “critical race theory, (CRT)” is Johnston County in October of 2021.

And that was by threat from its board of commissioners. But that political threat was nowhere near as concerning as what the black superintendent of Guilford County schools faced in June 2021.

The Guilford County School Board had to increase security to protect Supt. Sharon Contreras after it reportedly received  “a slew of hate-filled emails, voicemails and other social media posts,” reported WFMY News 2.

The hateful communications were believed to have been coordinated from around the country, not just from local citizens.

The basis for the outrage - alleged critical race theory. Protestors accused Dr. Contreras of shutting down pubic access to school board meetings under the guise of COVID-19 restrictions, so that angry parents could not be heard.

Contreras and school board members vigorously denied the charges.

On the state level, Republicans have slowed their anti-CRT cause.

In the NC General Assembly, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a ratified bill outlawing the teaching of racial history in 2021 when state lawmakers did not have the numbers to override.

Now, in 2023, according to Sam Chan, Gov. Cooper’s press secretary,  while the North Carolina House has passed another anti-racial history bill (HB 187), the measure has stalled in Senate committee, where it’s been since March.

“…these bills present a false, calculated and conspiracy-laden narrative used only or political purposes that harms our children’s education and weakens our schools,” Chan stated by email.

Still, with summer over and schools reopened, in addition to the political season about to kick back into full “after-Labor Day” gear, observers say expect to see more parent challenges to racial history lessons and literature, and more protests at school board meetings

demanding that any semblance of racial history be removed from school curriculums and libraries.


Monday, August 21, 2023


                                            SAMPLE OF NEW EX-INMATE PHOTO ID CARD





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Now, thanks to the NC Dept. of Adult Correction and the NC Dept. of Motor Vehicles, certain former prison inmates who are 17 years of age or older, have satisfactorily served their sentences and are getting out of prison, can obtain a new photo ID card that can be used for, among other things, voting.

The cards can be used starting with this fall’s local municipal elections. They are part of a new effort by the NC Dept. of Adult Corrections to help ex-inmates  better transition back into society to a normal life. The cards can help them get employment, a place to live, and even social services benefits.

“As a correctional agency, we aspire to correct the behaviors and the mindset that brought someone to prison. We want to provide all the tools needed for offenders to be successful after release,” says George Pettigrew, DAC deputy secretary for rehabilitation and re-entry. “An official state ID will be a useful and valuable tool.”

And, as long as the former inmate is registered to vote in North Carolina, he or she can use the card as photo ID when voting.

Even though officially issued by the NC Dept. of Motor Vehicles, the new photo ID cards cannot be used for operating a vehicle. They also cannot be used for federal identification. 

But the good news is as long as the former inmate has served less than eight years behind bars, the DMV can use a previous photograph of them on the new card, and have it ready for them as they’re about to walk out the prison gates.

They do not have to visit a local DMV office.

In order to qualify, the former inmates must have a NC driver license or other type of state-issued photo identification prior to entering prison. A driver’s license or state ID from another state will not qualify.

Approximately 20,000 inmates a year are formally released from NC prisons, and many of them serve sentences of less than eight years. So they should  qualify for the new state-issued photo ID cards. If qualified, they must obtain the new state-issued ID cards within 120 days of their release, and have been a legal resident of North Carolina at least 12 months prior to their incarceration.


[new information added]




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but the risk of catching many of the new COVID variants still ever-present in the state, and across the nation , is not.

Thanks to the proliferation of COVID vaccine shots and boosters, many of us have been able to go about our daily lives as before the pandemic that crippled the nation, and forced all of us to take stringent precautions against contracting the deadly virus we never believed would be necessary.

But there was one thing many researchers always warned us about, and that is while the original COVID-19 virus may fade away, there would always be a new COVID variant to take its place that we would all have to collectively guard against.

That new dominant COVID variant is now here - EG.5,  or “Eris” as it is more commonly known.

First discovered in China last February, Eris finally crossed the ocean to America shores in April, published reports say, and has grown to account for over 21% of U.S. cases of COVID-19, the most of any variant.

Yes, Eris is here infecting people in North Carolina. Health researchers with the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) know this by the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits that have gone up noticably , as well as checking the wastewater for viral particles.

There are no reports of any deaths associated with Eris. In fact, NCDHHS no longer keeps track of deaths by COVID-19 since the pandemic ended months go.

But with summer virtually over, and the cooler months of fall and winter just around the corner, people should at least be made aware of the risks that Eris poses to their health, especially if they’re in their later years and suffering from diseases and afflictions that already compromise their immune systems.


Fortunately, NCDHHS researchers do not consider Eris to be more dangerous than the original COVID-19 virus. Thus, the symptoms are virtually the same in many cases - fever, persistent cough, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, a loss of taste or smell.

Of course, see your doctor if any of these become prevalent, particularly in combination.


Fortunately, the pandemic taught us all lessons we can reapply to ensure our protection at Eris.

First, there are N95 masks, which are very effective in filtering out infectious air particles.

Then, making sure that you thoroughly wash your hands before touching your face. Also, liberally use hand sanitizers the are primarily alcohol-based. Also use hand sanitizer wipes.

If  the last COVID-19 vaccine booster you received was before September of 2022, then you are due for another booster to help protect your body against the virus. Note that getting the vaccine does not mean you’ll never contract COVID, but that if you do, your body is better protected and better able to fight off infection.That also means you’re less likely to need hospitalization, or less likely to die.

Finally, most drug stores now carry COVID-19 home test kits that are able to determine whether you have the COVID virus within at least 15 minutes.


According to the NCDHHS, if you feel that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or Eris, watch for symptoms, get a test five full days after exposure as soon a you feel sick ( ) and 

wear a mask around others until 10 full days since exposure have passed.


You need to isolate. Stay home and stay away from others at home and in the community for at least five full days from the day your symptoms started or from your test date if you do not have symptoms.

But if you do, remain in isolation for the five days and until you have been five-free for 24 hours (without medicine) and your symptoms are getting better. Wear a mask around others until 10 full days have passed since your symptoms began (or since your test date if you do not have symptoms).

Masks can be removed earlier than day 10, following two negative antigen tests conducted after the five day isolation period and 48 hours apart. 

Like influenza, COVID has become the virus that all of us have to now live with in our daily lives. Thus, like the flu, we need to get seasonal shots to better protect ourselves. 

But researchers caution us that Eris is just the latest dominant COVID-19 virus we must protect against. CBS News on Monday reported on two other new COVID-19 variants that researchers are tracking - FL.151, otherwise known as “Fornax,” accounting for 13.35 of U.S. infections; and  BA.2.86, more commonly known as “Pirola,” which, for now, is too small in prevalence to show up in CDC estimates.

As COVID variants evolve, we may one day find ourselves again dealing with a deadly virus we have little protection against.

Questions about Eris/COVID-19 treatment? Call 1-800-232-0233 or visit

Need food support while in quarantine or isolation? Call or text 2-1-1 for food resources or visit for a list of resources. 


Monday, August 14, 2023





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

One of the major casualties of the current state budget impasse between Republicans in the NC House, and Republicans in the NC Senate, is of course, the delay in expanding Medicaid to over 600,000 North Carolinians in poverty. Another major casualty is the across the board pay raises for state employees and teachers that is supposedly contained in pending budget proposals.

But there is yet another major casualty of the GOP failure to pass a new state budget that was due on July 1st, and that’s the North Carolina monument honoring African American history. The project awaits funding for its theme and design.

In fact, when the smoke clears after negotiations, there’s no guarantee that the long planned $3 million project will be in the final state budget at all. Approved by the state Historical Commission and the N.C. African American Heritage Commission in 2016, and then included in  Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed budget and the state Senate’s recent budget plan, it could be zeroed out by House conferees in any final compromise.

According to an editorial in last Sunday’s Raleigh News and Observer newspaper titled, “Stop stalling an African American monument at the NC Capitol, Republicans,” State Senate leader Phil Berger, who has supported the building of the monument on the grounds of the State Capitol in the past,  “…told reporters last week that the funding for the project may be left out when Republican lawmakers agree on a state budget that is now six weeks overdue.”

Could cost-cutting be the problem? The N&O editorial thought not.

“House Speaker Tim Moore hinted at why. He noted that the North Carolina Freedom Park, a private and state-funded project that commemorates the struggles and achievements of African Americans, is about to open across from the Legislative Building (on August 23rd). The implication is that GOP House lawmakers may think one public acknowledgment of African American history is enough.”

The N&O editorial went on to note that Freedom Park was conceived before the GOP took over the state legislature in 2011, and was paid for by both private and public funding.

Funding for the African American monument was left out of the 2021 two-year state budget that was passed.

Noting that there is now a state budget surplus with “billions in reserve,” the N&O opined editorially that “Republicans now have an opportunity to commemorate the struggles and achievements of African Americans at a time when their party too often panders to white grievance.”

The editorial added that unlike the Confederate monuments that once stood proudly for generations on state property before being pulled down and removed by protestors, the African American monument “would do more than acknowledge the history of African Americans, but draw the GOP closer to its own history as the party of Lincoln.”

The N&O editorial ended by citing, “Now is the time. No more delays. No substitutes elsewhere. Put the monument to African Americans 

at the heart of North Carolina’s history.”

Ironically, at the same time a major white newspaper in the state is advocating for a monument to North Carolina’s Black history to be finally erected, the NC Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources announced that on August 26th, an historical highway marker honoring the life of North Carolina civil rights leader Robert Franklin Williams will be unveiled in his hometown of Monroe in Union County.

Williams, who served as the Union County NAACP leader in the late 1950s, is best known for fearlessly vowing to defend against white supremacists with arms if necessary, and standing up for two young Black boys in 1958 who were arrested, tried and convicted for kissing a young white girl on the cheek while playing a game. The boys were later pardoned by Gov. Luther Hodges.


                                       CHANCELLOR HAROLD MARTIN SR.




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

NC A&T University Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. has a lot to be proud of.

If a recent report documenting how NC A&T University now has an estimated statewide economic impact of more than $2.4 billion is any indication, Chancellor Martin has turned the nation’s largest historically Black university (HBCU) around from a sad tale of near failure, to one of the greatest educational and economic success stories in history.

“With a documented economic footprint across our state now of more than $2.4 billion and thousands of our graduates contributing to the North Carolina job market each year, our university is fulfilling its land-grant mission in profound, diverse ways,” Chancellor Martin says.

“The outcomes measured in this significant new study provide compelling evidence that investments in North Carolina A&T provide outstanding returns for the people of this state.”

“NC A&T is one of the most powerful drivers of economic prosperity in the region.”

Martin is referring to a recent report released by two associate economics professors at the school’s Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics, Cephas Naanwaab, Ph.D., and Alfredo Romero, Ph.D.

“While North Carolina A&T’s value to the economy of North Carolina is larger than simply its economic impact, understanding the dollars-and-cents value is an important asset to understanding the university’s value as a whole,” the two economists say.

The numbers are impressive.

In 2022-23, NC A&T University had an enrollment of 13,487 students - an increase of 1600 - the largest student body ever enrolled at an historically Black college or university in history, the school says, making it the nation’s largest HBCU for the past nine years.

Chancellor Martin says the institution plans to add 2,000 more students over the next seven years, and continuing to expand its research programs.

Next, NC A&T’s economic footprint has grown an amazing 63% in the past five years, up from $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2018. The researchers also determined that the home of “Aggie Pride” generated $1.42 billion in added income to North Carolina, an impact equivalent to supporting over 17,300 jobs.

The key ingredients for NC A&T’s sauce of success?

Six areas - alumni impact, university operations spending ($744 million), research expenditures ($157 million), construction spending, visitor expenditures and student spending.

In fiscal year 2022, alumni accounted for $702 million in added income for the state, translating into $1.2 billion for North Carolina. According to Prof. Naanwaab, 42-45%  of NC A&T grads reside in North Carolina.

“NC A&T’s greatest economic impact comes from its alumni and the knowledge, creativity, imagination and entrepreneurship they bring to positions around the state,” Chancellor Martin wrote in a recent edition of EdNC.

U.S. News & World Report agrees,” Martin continued. “In its last three issues of Best Colleges – its well-known annual ranking of America’s higher education campuses – the magazine has ranked new A&T alumni the second-best compensated in the UNC System, earning a median starting salary of nearly $55,000 and trailing only North Carolina State graduates.”

With a documented economic footprint across our state now of more than $2.4 billion and thousands of our graduates contributing to the North Carolina job market each year, our university is fulfilling its land-grant mission in profound, diverse ways,” Chancellor Martin concludes. “The outcomes measured in this significant new study provide compelling evidence that investments in North Carolina A&T provide outstanding returns for the people of this state.”

The story was very different fourteen years ago.

Harold Martin, Sr. was an engineer and former NC A&T professor who returned to the school in 2009 as chancellor, and faced a multitude of serious challenges.

Enrollment was poor, at least 25% of students were on academic probation, and the campus infrastructure was falling apart.

Martin raised standards for admissions and academic performance.

Today,  entering student grade point averages at NC A&T hover at 3.8.

According to Todd Simmons, associate vice chancellor for University Relations, NC A&T now recruits a better quality of students from across the country.

“In terms of the quality of the students we graduate year over year, it continues to grow and develop a real national reputation for our university both in the HBCU lane and in the doctoral research university lane as well,” Simmons told NC Newsline.


Monday, August 7, 2023


                                                           BISHOP  WILLIAM BARBER




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Citing “…attacks on the poor, low-wage workers, health care, voting rights, the LGBTQ+ community, women and on democracy itself,” Bishop William Barber’s Repairer of the Breach, along with the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, and several other grassroots social justice organizations on Monday, accused the Republican-led NC General Assembly of  “deceptive and deadly culture wars and political lies which they continue to use to pass death-dealing public policies that hurt us all, especially poor and low-income North Carolinians.”

During a “Moral Monday press conference” outside the NC General Assembly building on Jones Street, both organizations declared that North Carolina is in a “State of Emergency” and that the NC legislature deserves a “moral indictment” for it’s alleged actions.

To dramatize the point, a symbolic Cease and Desist letter was delivered to the legislative building Monday afternoon.

It’s time for North Carolinians to once again stand on our long tradition of truth, love and justice,” said the statement by Bishop Barber. “The corrupt leadership of the NC General Assembly is utilizing a White Nationalist agenda to give the wealthy and corporations tax breaks, to pay for millionaires to send their kids to private, discriminatory schools, to make it harder to vote and get healthcare, and to make it easier to destroy the environment and get a gun.”

Barber noted that his organization was joining “together with seventy-five leaders of organizations, faith leaders and impacted leaders who represent tens of thousands of constituents,” and that this was a “…first step toward escalating nonviolent action and holding our legislators accountable.”

Bishop Barber also noted that August 6th was the 58th anniversary of passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), “…a somber reminder that we have less voting rights today than we did 58 years ago.”

Even though voter ID will be in force throughout the state as of this fall with municipal elections, there is still ongoing litigation as to its legality.

The State Board of Elections announced last week that local county boards of election are now offering free voter photo IDs for registered voters who do not already have some kind of state-sanctioned photo ID. Voters should bring proof of their name, date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security number. Their pictures will be taken, and they can get their free photo ID right away, or have it sent to their home.



The Haywood County Schools Supt. removed "Dear Martin" from the approved reading list after only one parent complained. The school official never read the book himself.

                                                AUTHOR TA-NEHISI COATES



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

School bells are weeks away from ringing across North Carolina, and  beyond the normal drudgery of getting students properly prepared, many parents are bracing themselves for something they thought they’d never see in their lifetimes - the banning of books at their local schools and public libraries.

Spurred by the conservative political movement, school systems and libraries across the nation, and in North Carolina, have had to deal with demands primarily from white Republican parents that certain books be taken off the shelfs of local libraries, or be removed from local school curriculums because they are deemed “not appropriate” for their children.

According to the American Library Association, during 2021, at least 729 attempts to ban library books were made. And in a report from PEN America, 2,532 book bans were issued in 18 school districts  in 32 states during the 2021-22 school year.

Forty percent of the challenged titles “prominently featured people of color.”

By “not appropriate,” these book banning parents, like Moms for Liberty, claim they don’t mean books geared towards African American or LBGTQ subjects, but rather books that contain what they consider to be sexually explicit content.

In some cases, these parents have actually filed criminal complaints in their local counties and school districts to have what they consider to be books with offensive materials removed.

Many of the titles are by African American authors who write about the Black experience, and dealing with racism in America. Toni Morrison, Nikole Hannah Jones, Nic Stone and Ta-Nehisi Coates, are just some of the popular Black authors being targeted by conservative parents groups.

Nikole Hannah Jones has had her award-winning The 1619 Project targeted by no less that conservative congressmen and even former President Donald Trump while he was still in office. Conservative Republicans objected to the book documenting how America was built on the institution of slavery.

Nic Stone’s acclaimed book, Dear Martin, a New York Times bestseller about a fictional Black student in a white school who writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was yanked from an approved high school reading list in Haywood County, N.C., after just one parent’s complaint.

The school district superintendent made the decision to pull the book on his own. He admittedly did not read the book beforehand.

Ta-Nehisi Coates actually attended a South Carolina school board meeting where a high school teacher was under fire for using his 2015 book, Between the World and Me, to help teach students about what it is like to grow up Black in America. The book became an issue when some of her students complained to a school board member, claiming that it made them feel “uncomfortable” and “ashamed to be Caucasian.”

Ironically, the North Carolina House has now twice passed a bill outlawing teaching any lesson that makes students feel “ashamed” or “uncomfortable” because of what history may show their race allegedly did to another race in history. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, the leading Republican candidate for governor, has spoken out against books and school curriculums that teach that America has a history of systemic racism.

For the past several years, school systems in Wake, Alamance-Burlington, New Hanover County and other areas have reported book challenges by conservative parental groups, forcing some to take various titles off school or public library shelves for review.

Wake County has instituted a new process for reviewing challenged books, but take the books down until that process is completed.

According to WUNC-FM, over the past two years there have been over 189 book challenges across North Carolina’s 115 school districts. Most of the books are written for middle school students, and are about race and racism.

To opponents of book banning, there is little doubt that the movement is purely about politics, especially now during the run-up to the 2024 elections.

Janice Robinson, the North Carolina program director for Red, Wine and Blue, an Ohio-based progressive group, told NC Newsline, “We believe that this is just a smokescreen for the anti-CRT (critical race theory, the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric that’s been going around the country. It’s the right wing really pushing their political agenda at the expense of our kids.”

“When you look at the books being banned, they’re books on African American history, about race or LGBTQ issues,” Robinson continued. “Parents have a right to be concerned, but there is a process that schools and school libraries have in place to address those concerns. The problem is that people are going around the process and pulling books off the shelf because one parent has an issue with it.”