Saturday, November 25, 2023



                                                      ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ANITA EARLS





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Associate State Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls’ efforts to stop a NC Judicial Standards Commission investigation into her conduct while serving on the NC High Court were dashed, meaning that she must still walk on egg shells when it comes to freely expressing her opinions, especially as the only African-American on the State Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Republican legislative leaders want Earls to recuse herself from an upcoming state Supreme Court hearing on the 29-year-old Leandro educational funding case. In a motion in mid-November, the GOP wanted Earls to step aside because she was originally a plaintiff’s attorney in the case. 

Justice Earls has refused to recuse herself, and state Supreme Court rules allow her to ultimately make the final decision. She can also allow the rest of the court to make the decision for her, which is unlikely.

The state Supreme Court agreed to rehear the Leandro funding case on Oct. 20th. Republican leaders appealed to the GOP -led High Court after a Superior Court Court judge last April ordered the legislature to spend an additional $677 million in education funding  to help public schools in poorer counties be better funded.

No date has been set for the rehearing.

As Justice Earls deals with being targeted for recusal in the Leandro case, she is also recovering from a first round loss in her federal court battle with the NC Judicial Standards Commission (NCJSC).

Earls asked federal Judge William Osteen Jr. for a preliminary injunction against NCJSC to stop it from continuing to investigate her speeches, interviews and opinions while she sues it in federal court. But Judge Osteen refused Justice Earls’ motion, saying that she failed to show a likelihood of winning her case on the merits.

Earls, through her attorney, is appealing his decision.

Justice Earls, in her lawsuit against the NCJSC, alleges that its investigation of a complaint against her and remarks that she reportedly made during a published interview with a legal magazine, effectively threaten her First Amendment rights to free speech.

NCJSC counters that all it is doing is its job to investigate members of the judiciary who may make remarks that cast aspersions on the institution.

Earls’ federal lawsuit is still viable despite her failure to win an injunction to stop the NCJSC.

The only African-American associate justice, as well as one of only two female Democrats on the seven-member state Supreme Court, had been vocal about alleged racial and partisan bias on the part of her Republican colleagues.

It has not been made public as to who filed the compliant against Justice Earls, but it is no secret that she is not well regarded by her Republican colleagues.







By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

During the last week of October, when Republican lawmakers approved their new redistricting voting maps, known as Senate Bill 758, did they try to hide the fact that some of them were in fact racial gerrymanders?

When Democrats pressed them on their maps, Republicans insisted that they used partisan lines, not racial lines, to determine the voting districts.

But at least two African American voters - Rodney Pierce and Moses Matthews - didn’t agree, and filed a federal lawsuit on November 21st, claiming that Republican lawmakers drew a Senate redistricting map that disregarded “…ample evidence of racially polarized voting and a history of discrimination in the “Black Belt counties” of northeastern North Carolina, and an obligation under the Voting Rights Act to analyze that evidence before drawing districts…” 

The federal lawsuit continued, “… the North Carolina General Assembly adopted a Senate plan that unlawfully deprives Black voters of the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.”

“The Black population in North Carolina’s Black Belt counties is sufficiently numerous and geographically compact to form a majority-minority district. Voting in the region is also highly polarized along racial lines—Black voters there are politically cohesive, but white voters vote sufficiently as a bloc to usually defeat minority candidates of choice. Nonetheless, SB 758 “cracks” Black voters in the region across multiple districts, including Senate District 2, which stretches more than 160 miles from the Virginia border to Carteret County on the Atlantic Ocean. When considered against the totality of the circumstances, SB 758’s cracking of Black voters in this region dilutes their voting strength in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

“Accordingly, Plaintiffs seek an order (1) declaring that SB 758 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; (2) enjoining Defendants from conducting future elections under SB 758; (3) ordering a remedial plan that includes a minority opportunity district in the Black Belt counties; and (4) providing any such additional relief as is appropriate,” the federal lawsuit stated.

“Black Belt” counties are northeastern North Carolina counties that are part of the historic Black Belt in the Southeast where slaves and their descendants worked the fields. Those counties in North Carolina are majority Black, but the federal lawsuit alleges that the Senate voting map ignores that fact.

The new GOP redistricting maps were also drawn in secret, which doesn’t help their case with Democrats.

“The plan enacted by the General Assembly in late October splits, cracks, and packs Black voters to dilute their votes and blunt their ability to fully participate in the democratic process,” charged Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue in a statement.

“For example, there are eight counties in North Carolina that are majority Black in population, and they are all in eastern North Carolina (Bertie, Hertford, Edgecombe, Northampton, Halifax, Vance, Warren and Washington). The map enacted by the General Assembly divides these eight counties among four separate districts,” Sen. Blue continued. “This is ‘cracking’ on steroids.”

At a hearing about the Senate maps in late September, citizens gave Republicans an earful.

“In my opinion, it’s immoral and it’s pretty wicked that you’d go to this level to stop people from progressing,” Brunswick County resident Mahlaynee Cooper, co-founder of the social action group Speak Ya Peace, pointedly told GOP lawmakers. “I’m disappointed but not surprised.”

On Oct. 22nd, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice reportedly sent Republican legislative leaders a letter requesting a “full analysis” of the new voting maps, but also added that it saw problems with Senate Districts 1 and 2 in how their African-American populations were broken up.

Senate Redistricting Committee Chairman Sen. Paul Newton responded, however, that  "the redistricting maps are fair and legal and comply with the law.”

In an emergency motion, both plaintiffs Pierce and Matthews, who are also suing the State Board of Elections, asked for a resolution of their request for a preliminary injunction by Dec. 1st, several days before the start of candidate filing.



Sunday, November 19, 2023


 With the Rev. William Barber and other members of the NCNAACP surrounding her for support. Jazmyne Childs tearfully told reporters in Sept. 2019 about allegedly being sexually harassed by Curtis Gatewood. After amor seven years, Ms. Childs settled her $20 million lawsuit against Gatewood, the NAACP, and NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson.




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The woman who filed a $20 million sexual harassment lawsuit in February 2020 against Rev. Curtis Gatewood, the national NAACP, and national NAACP Pres, Derrick Johnson, has settled her legal action for a “substantial” undisclosed amount, sources say.

For Jazmyne Childs, 31, the settlement ends almost seven years of trauma since she first accused Gatewood, once her supervisor at the NC NAACP, of sexually harassing her on the job. With the help of then NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber and other state NAACP officials, Ms. Childs' allegations were investigated by the state conference and to the national NAACP office, but nothing was reportedly done to address her concerns for two years.

She eventually sued Gatewood and the national NAACP in Durham Superior Court for $15 million, for several claims of battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

Ms. Childs later added $5 million more to her lawsuit, targeting national NAACP Pres. Derrick Johnson for disparaging comments he reportedly made about her at the 2019 NC NAACP Convention in Winston Salem.

Since 2020, the trial has been postponed several times, the last because one of Ms. Childs’ attorneys, Harvey Kennedy of the Winston Salem law firm of Kennedy, Kennedy & Kennedy LLC,  was seriously injured in a car accident. It was thought that the trial might commence in 2024, but last week, Ms. Childs decided that she'd waited long enough for resolution, and directed her attorneys to settle the case.

On Saturday, one of Ms. Childs’ attorneys, Geeta Kapur, issued the following statement of behalf of Jazmyne Childs:

THE SETTLEMENT OF Jazmyne Childs v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Curtis E. Gatewood, and Derrick Johnson  


Statement by: Jazmyne Childs

November 18, 2023

  Recently, my lawyers engaged in settlement discussions with the National NAACP only. After much thought, after seven long years, I have decided to close this awful chapter of my life and move forward toward my future. I accepted the settlement offer from the National NAACP. It is the right legal, moral, and spiritual decision. I am pleased with the settlement. 

         The Settlement Agreement that I reached with National NAACP included promises from both parties that we would not disclose the terms of our agreement.

         On November 17, 2023, I learned that the stalker/predator who was not involved in any settlement discussions nor the agreement itself has circulated an email and a post on Facebook misrepresenting the truth. Whenever parties to a case reach a settlement agreement, the case is dismissed as a part of the legal process.  

In closing, I wish to thank my former co-workers at the NAACP Tyler Swanson and Laurel Ashton for their support and friendship. I am also deeply grateful to the Elder Women Daphne Holmes-Johnson, O’Linda Watkins, Joyce Johnson, Ana Blackburn, and Janice Spearman for their wisdom and support. I also thank my lawyer Geeta Kapur. I am indebted to the Reverend Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. I will always remember the strong community that surrounded me.

           I now ask for privacy as I move forward with God and truth on my side. I am full of hope.

Of note, Ms. Childs states that her attorneys “only” entered into settlement discussions with the NAACP, suggesting that Rev. Gatewood was not part of those discussions.

Gatewood seemingly confirms this when he issued an email statement on November 16  stating , “the  politically timed  [character assassination] complaint and subsequent lawsuit alleging workplace harassment from Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood has been DISMISSED With Prejudice as part of a motion from Childs’ attorney dated 11/13/23.

I, Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood, received a communication from my attorney, Atty Keith Bishop, on today, November 16, 2023, informing me of the news and the closure of this legal matter which was harmfully dragged nearly 4 years.

“Dismissal with Prejudice” means the Plaintiff has failed to make her case; the judgement is final and the Plaintiff (or Prosecutor if applicable) is prohibited from re-filing the case ever again in any court. 

On social media, Gatewood further celebrated misleadingly by stating, “Dismissed with Prejudice” means we (Gatewood and the NAACP/Defendants) WON and the Plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit) understands the Judgement against her is FINAL; the Plaintiff’s case has been concluded to be invalid, and she can never attempt to re-file the case in another court.” 

On Sunday, after being sent a copy of Ms. Childs' settlement statement, Gatewood issued a new response:

Well all intelligent, righteous, and civilized humans should know that we do not put something behind us by running from every imaginable form of fair and impartial  protocol; by manipulating legal and civil right judgements and protocol; by avoiding law enforcement’s process for filing complaints and establishing probable cause; by avoiding the process of criminal court to make judgments over “criminal” matters;  by “Dismissing” civil court hearing “with prejudice,” and then coming out claiming you have made a “settlement” that you cannot discuss with all defendants in the same lawsuit.  

Dismissal with Prejudice means your case is complete. With that being the case, I am counting God’s blessings as this should be the last time  I hear from the former Plaintiff in this matter.  Since she is claiming the matter is settled and she did not settle it with me, yet it is settled just the same, then she has no business speaking to directly or indirectly to me, because I was not the one who made any deals - she did.

Legal observers say Gatewood is indeed being misleading. 

Given the amount Ms. Childs was suing for - $20 million - the only defendant in the case who could afford that kind of judgement was the NAACP, thus, the reason why her attorneys began discussions with the civil rights organization “only.”

Sources close to the case add that given the NAACP and Derrick Johnson’s documented behavior towards Ms. Childs. it made sense for them to “substantially” settle with Ms. Childs and her attorneys .

The only reason why Gatewood would even think that he “won” anything is because he doesn’t have to pay anything (he could not afford to), and there will be no public trial with testimony detailing his alleged behavior towards Ms. Childs, sources say.

Nor will there be testimony from another young woman , Courtney Sebring, who also alleges Gatewood sexually harassed her at the Moral Freedom Summer internship in 2014 when she was just 17 and fresh out of high school.

Curtis Gatewood has denied all accusations of sexual harassment.


                                        NC ATTORNEY GENERAL JOSH STEIN




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

With just over four months before the March 5th primaries, Democrat state Atty. General Josh Stein and Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson are leading in their respective races to face off in next November’s gubernatorial election.

On the Democratic side, Stein is facing opposition from a determined retired NC Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan, who is working hard seemingly every day to boost his numbers to overtake Stein in time for the primary.

If a recent Meredith College poll holds true, while Morgan trails Stein 11% to 38%, 42% of North Carolina Democrats surveyed say they’re undecided as to who they will vote for in the March primary.

That gives Morgan reason to continue making appearances across the state, shaking hands, giving speeches, and presenting himself as a fresh, experienced alternative to Democratic favorite son, Stein.

For his part, Stein is holding onto his growing campaign war chest for his probable face-off against culture warrior Republican gubernatorial candidate Robinson.

The lt. governor is dramatically leading his field of Republican hopefuls by 41% according to the Meredith College poll. His closest competition is attorney and former prosecutor Bill Graham at 5%, followed  by state Treasurer Dale Folwell at just 3 percent.

Two other GOP challengers have dropped out.

The Meredith poll also reflected some indecision on the part of Republican primary voters, with 42% of them remaining undecided for now.

Observers say once the holiday season has subsided, the respective races should tighten up a bit, though there is presently no indication of either Stein or Robinson losing their leading positions.

Candidate filing for the March 5th primary begins Dec. 5th and ends Dec. 15th.


Sunday, November 12, 2023


                   Bishop Barber closes out Saturday's 1898 symposium in Wilmington (Cash Michaels photo)

Professors Tim Tyson (left) and Irv. Joyner (center) listen to remarks during Saturday's 1898 symposium in Wilmington ( photo by Inez Campbell-Eason)





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

[WILMINGTON] Last week, the port city of Wilmington commemorated the 125th anniversary of the 1898 race massacre that dramatically crippled its African-American population economically, politically and socially for well over a century.

Among the many events presented last week that showcased the violent and racist episode that many historians call “the only successful coup d’tat in American history,” two stood out in importance to the African-American community.

On Friday, November 10th, the actual 125th anniversary of the race massacre, the Southeast region of the National Black Leadership Caucus (NBLC) paid tribute to the late Black publisher/editor Mary Alice Jervay Thatch of The Wilmington Journal, North Carolina’s oldest African-American newspaper.

Ms. Jervay Thatch, an award-winning journalist, died in December 2021.

With many community supporters of The Journal gathered at Wilmington’s Thalian Hall, the tribute program titled, “The Black Press  Rising from the Ashes of 1898” spotlighted Mrs. Jervay Thatch’s 25 years of leading the paper as it advocated for the community’s rights, and also led the campaign to gain pardons of innocence for The Wilmington Ten.

“After the atrocities of the 1898 massacre, we did not have a voice,” Sonya Patrick, regional director of the NBLC told WWAY-TV. “The Black press is our voice. And no one has the right to destroy that, or take that away from us.” 

The next day, Saturday, Nov. 11th, Ms. Patrick, along with fellow members of the Wilmington Journal Breakfast Club, a community service group dedicated to seeing the restoration of Wilmington’s African-American community, presented its second 1898 Symposium titled “Bringing the 1898 Assessment Alive!” at Williston Middle School.

Before the New Hanover Board of Education changed it’s status in 1968, Williston used to be a distinguished and much heralded all-Black senior high school during the early to mid-1900s. Alumni of the old school  still celebrate its legacy with great pride.

The symposium discussion, centered around the question of how Black Wilmington can heal and move forward from the crippling and racist blow of 1898, featured a dynamic mix of social activists, headed by Bishop William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach; local historian and author Dr. Bertha Todd; author and Duke University historian Prof. Timothy Tyson; Ms. Inez Campbell-Eason, a descendant of an 1898 black family; Rev. Robert Parrish, pastor of Gregory Congregational United Church of Christ; and law Prof. Irving Joyner, who served as vice chairman of the 2006 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission.

For approximately 90 minutes, the symposium panel discussed not only the need for the true history of 1898, which had been hidden for almost a century, to be revealed, but taught in schools.

Dr. Todd talked about the need for community reconciliation so that black Wilmington can rebuild.

Ms Campbell-Eason shared how black wealth was stolen from her Black family and others, and how many had to flee to other states for theirs lives when well-armed white supremacists drove African-Americans from their homes and properties.

Rev. Parrish talked about the vital need in Wilmington’s Black community for restoration to rebuild its economy, bring Black families back to live, and implement the critical repairers needed at both Gregory Church and the Wilmington Journal office on the Seventh Street corridor.

Dr. Tyson related how powerful white supremacists actually took over North Carolina state government first, before taking over the Black-white fusion Wilmington city government by force.

Atty. Joyner warned that the January 6th, 2021 violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol was a modern-day warning that 1898, the time on a national scale, could happen again.

Bishop Barber called for Blacks, whites and other communities of color to come together once again, disregarding race and class, to form a fusion party that can truly influence elections in favor of issues the are important to uplifting the conditions of the poor. 

In addition to the symposium panel. NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green delivered a special poem for the occasion commemorating how African-Americans were murdered during the 1898 race massacre.

And Emily Powell, 16, an 11th grader at Cape Fear Academy, was given her First Place Award for winning the WJBC’s Mary Alice Jervay Thatch Memorial 1898 Student Essay Competition.

Thirty minutes before the symposium program began at Williston, the  middle school was thrown into darkness for the entire afternoon when a stolen car slammed into a nearby utility pole, cutting electricity to the facility.

The program proceeded on schedule, however, with only emergency lights, but no microphones. Fortunately, the Williston auditorium’s acoustics allowed the audience of 350 to hear what was being said from the stage.

Editor’s note - reporter Cash Michaels, a member of the WJBC, was also the master of ceremonies for the 188 symposium, and produced a video on the life of Black publisher/editor Mary Alice Jervay Thatch for the tribute program at Thalian Hall.






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

[WILMINGTON] Bishop William Barber stood in the pulpit of St. Luke’s A.M.E. Zion Church last Sunday afternoon, and told those who had come out to hear him preach a brutal truth.

“My heart is hurting. My people told me that this program was all set…but there’s hardly anybody here!

That’s right. The legendary leader of the Moral Monday and Forward Together movements. The most prominent president the North Carolina  NAACP has ever had. The leader of Repairers of the Breach, and co-convener of the National Poor People’s campaign.

A man of God who has preached to, by his own estimate, approximately 60 million people over the years.

But on this rainy Sunday afternoon, and at this black church, less than a hundred were there to hear his message, and Bishop Barber was dumbfounded.

“If we can’t organize our own stuff,” Barber said flatly. “I can’t be satisfied with this turnout to commemorate the 125th anniversary of 1898, where people died.”

The pastor of the church and his staff were naturally red-faced. 

Bishop Barber then asked them openly what did they do to ensure that the entire Wilmington community knew he would preaching there for the 125th commemoration of the 1898 massacre.

Apparently not enough, Barber openly deduced, answering his own question.

“You all ain’t mad with me yet, are you?

But that’s when Bishop Barber, now also a professor in the Practice of Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale University Divinity School, in New Haven, Conn. turned what would have normally been an  embarrassing situation, into a prime opportunity to teach, and inspire.

“If you can’t organize right for a program, and get a thousand folk out…we’re never going to organize right for political involvement,” Barber stated.

Before going further, the nationally recognized civil rights leader made clear his open criticisms of the church turnout were not about him or his ego, but rather a warning that failure to plan, organize and vote when low income communities are facing a dangerous future in this country, is effectively giving up before the battle begins.

“Will we just sit here and die?” Bishop Barber rhetorically asked, referencing the biblical parable of the four lepers. He noted that as in 1898, when white supremacists violently attacked Wilmington’s Black community 125 years ago, they killed, and robbed African-Americans of their homes, properties and businesses.  Poor people face the same threat from right-wing forces seeking to take away their rights, he said. 

Barber made clear that all of the violence towards African-Americans in 1898 was not spontaneous, but rather a well planned attack to violently take back economic and political power from them, and establish white supremacy as the law of the land.

”The coup was a result of a group of [white supremacists] conspiring and leading a mob to overthrow the legitimately elected bi-racial local fusionist government in Wilmington. They said if we can do it in Wilmington, the city with the most racial balance, the city here you have African-Americans leading with power, political power working with whites, if we can do it there, we can do it across the state….”, Bishop Barber explained. “What they were trying to stop was black folks and white folks working together. They were winning all over the state, and North Carolina remained a beacon of hope in the South [until 1898]”

Bishop Barber revealed that white supramacist leaders in 1898 organized, and had 12 committees to plan their overthrow. They ultimately were able to organize 2 thousand people to execute their coup.

“The supremacists were organized,” he declared.

“Let me tell you all, the folks who are racist, the folks who are anti-labor union, the folks who are anti-health care, the folks who are anti-voting rights, the folks who are anti-Jewish, the folk who are anti Muslim, and the folk who are anti Black, they are smart enough to be together. If they are cynical to be together, we need to be smart enough to come together.”

“Are we going to act on history,” Barber rhetorically asked, “… or let history act on us?”

The former pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro made clear that in order for low wealth communities to take political power, they have to organize. They have to plan, strategize and vote their interests, because there are political powers today who are certainly organized and not afraid of plotting and planning their takeover, just like in 1898.

“All these states in the South, they are not red states,” Barber noted. “They are unorganized states.”

If the poor people in those states dropped their differences, found common ground and issues, and then voted, they could literally decide who leads this country,” Bishop Barber said. And they would do that by organizing.

“It’s not about what the enemy is going to do”, he added. “It’s about what you’re going to do!” 

Having used the failure of the moment to teach and preach unity, Bishop Barber then concluded.

“When we all get together, what a day of voting, what a day of rejoicing, what a day of power, what a day of change when we all get together. And if we’re going to honor those folk who have died, at least we can get together. At least we can fight together. At least we can stand together. At least …..we can organize together!




Monday, November 6, 2023



                                                   BISHOP WILLIAM J. BARBER II

                                                      MARY ALICE JERVAY THATCH

             White supremacists burn down the Daily Record Black newspaper in Wilmington in 1898




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Editor’s note: our reporter, Cash Michaels, will be the moderator for this Saturday’s 125th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1898 Wilmington Race Massacre at Williston Middle School in Wilmington.

The event is from 1 to 4 p.m., free and open to the public.

This Saturday, Nov. 11th, is the culmination of many, many months of hard work and sacrifice by members of the Wilmington Journal Breakfast Club, a group of committed citizens from across the state and in Wilmington, who have come together to affect positive change in Wilmington’s African -American community.

The WJBC’s second symposium on the 1898 Wilmington Massacre this Saturday will feature a powerful panel, headed up by renowned national civil rights activist Bishop William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-convener of the national Poor People’s campaign; local historian and author Dr. Bertha Todd; Duke University History Prof. Dr. Timothy Tyson; NCCU Law Professor Irving Joyner: Rev. Robert Parrish, pastor of Gregory Congregational Church in Wilmington; and Ms. Inez Campbell-Eason, whose family are descendants of the 1898 tragedy.

The panel will discuss how, after 125 years this week,  Wilmington’s Black community can begin the process to reclaim, rebuild and repair the economic, cultural and human rights status it once had.

The next day, Sunday, Nov. 12th at 2 p.m., Bishop Barber will preach a special sermon of racial unity at St. Luke’s A.M.E. Zion Church, 709 Church Street in Wilmington.

Regarding the WJBC, it is no accident that this community service group associates with, but is not officially or legally a part of the Wilmington Journal, North Carolina’s oldest African - American newspaper. The Journal, under the leadership of founder R.S. Jervay, his son, publisher-editor Thomas C. Jervay, Sr.,  and his daughter, publisher-editor Mary Alice Jervay Thatch, have always advocated for Wilmington’s African-American community since it began in 1927 as the Cape Fear Journal.

Mrs. Thatch passed away in December, 2021 after a long illness. But before her death, she was also a staunch advocate for the Black Press, having won a “Publisher of the Year” Award from the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and serve as president of the NC Black Publishers Association.

She also was a strong advocate for the true history of the 1898 Wilmington Race Massacre to be taught statewide in schools across North Carolina, so that all students could learn how, on November 10th, 1898, powerful white businessmen and politicians, in conspiracy with the so-called white supremacist “Red Shirts” and others, violently overthrew the black-white “fusion” run government of Wilmington.

It was the only successful coup d’etat in United States history.

White racists, jealous of the tremendous progress African-Americans had made in Wilmington after the Civil War, murdered many by Gatling gun, stealing homes, properties and businesses at gunpoint, and burned down the Daily Record, the local daily Black newspaper, forcing its Black publisher, Alexander Manley, to flee for his life.

Ms. Thatch wanted all North Carolina students to learn the truth about 1898, so that hopefully, Wilmington could one day be reborn for its African-American community, which has suffered mightily since the massacre.

According to Attorney Irving Joyner, who was also vice chairman of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission, Ms. Thatch was a “strong proponent” of the Commission’s efforts to uncover the truth, lending assistance to its work, which came out in a 2006 report.

One of the Commission’s recommendations, “ Attorney Joyner recalls, “… was that the 1898 history and report be made a part of the North Carolina standard curriculums in all schools.”

That did not happen. Instead, school systems statewide, to this day, allow teachers to instruct about 1898 if they want to, but they are not required.

In Wilmington/New Hanover County, third, fourth and eighth graders receive some 1898 instruction. 

Three professors at UNC at Wilmington are preparing a course to actually instruct teachers on how to teach about 1898 to their students. 

Lynn Mollenhauer, UNC-W History Dept. Chair, told the Wilmington Star News newspaper, “I think awareness of 1898 and the emphasis put on it in schools does wax and wane according to the political moment, especially within the white community in Wilmington.”

        She's referring to a current movement by conservative politicians to prohibit so-called "critical race theory" curriculum from public education.

Through the Mary Alice Jervay Thatch Memorial 1898 Student Essay Competition, where all New Hanover County students in grades 8 through 12 were challenged in September by the WJBC to submit a 500-word essay about the 1898 Wilmington Race Massacre, the community group hopes it has started the process of fulfilling the recommendation of the 1898 race riot commission, and the dream of Mary Alice Jervay Thatch for all school students to learn the truth about 1898.

The winner of the 1898 Student Essay Competition, 11th grader Emily Powell, 16,  of Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, may have said it best in her prize-winning writing:

“…[T]hose who explore the true facts of events like the 1898 Wilmington Race Riots are also heroes - of this event and of our future. By simply acknowledging these narratives, understanding them, and most importantly, learning from them, everyone can become protagonists of this story, promoting future progress and preventing history from repeating itself.”


                                                    LT. GOV. MARK ROBINSON

                                             RETIRED JUSTICE MIKE MORGAN





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

As the calendar inches closer to the start of the December 5th candidate filing date in North Carolina, there’s movement in the race for governor, arguably the most important 2024 election campaign in the state.

Two comparably weak Republican gubernatorial candidates have seen the light, and have decided to drop out of the GOP primary to run for other offices, rather than face the juggernaut that is the frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.

Meanwhile, a new, well self-financed Republican candidate has not only jumped in while others are scurrying out, but he’s already put a campaign commercial on the air.

And the Republican frontrunner, Robinson, is staying in the thick of controversy, criticizing a large demonstration last week against the Israel - Hamas Middle East conflict that blocked traffic on the Durham Highway 147, by posting on social media “lawless disturbances are unacceptable."

An angry Robinson was upset that Durham Police did not forcefully try to remove the demonstrators.

“When I am governor, we will not tolerate protestors interfering with law-abiding citizens going about their daily lives," Robinson said. "The days of coddling lawlessness will be over. I'll move swiftly to order Highway Patrol to use any and all resources at their disposal to quickly clear roadways of these extremist displays."

In the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, retired NC Justice Mike Morgan was busy traveling the state, appearing at public events, shaking hands and making speeches wherever, and whenever he could, especially in the African-American community.

Morgan also unveiled a well-produced made-for-social media first campaign commercial in the race against Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner state Attorney General Josh Stein.

Titled “Hard Steps,” the three-minute and sixteen second video, Morgan said in a press release, “ ... is about my past and my vision for North Carolina’s future. I want people to know who I am, what I have been able to accomplish, and what I still want to do to make North Carolina a better place for all our people. My history, my integrity, and my values drive this campaign.” 

The video has a child actor portraying Morgan as an eight-year-old black student in 1964 who first integrated Trent Park Elementary School in New Bern. Years later, it shows a sixteen-year old Mike Morgan becoming the first black drum major in a New Bern high school.

The video also notes that for the last 34 years, Morgan has served the state on the bench in various judicial capacities. That experience is what prepares him, he says, to be North Carolina’s next governor through the hard times..

“I know we can fix this, we just have to take those hard steps forward,” he said. “Marching towards progress can make a lot of people uncomfortable but being uncomfortable is God making us stretch ourselves, making us grow. So, if you’re ready to take those hard steps towards a brighter future for every North Carolinian, I’m ready to lead the way,” Morgan says in his campaign video.

While Mike Morgan was tugging at heartstrings with a heartwarming campaign video, his Democratic rival, Josh Stein was attempting to reach voters through a strong campaign op-ed in the Raleigh News and Observer Monday. 

Titled, “What Republicans are doing to democracy in NC keeps me up at night,” Stein reminded readers that next year at this time, they will be going to the polls to select a new governor.  He also blasted the Republican majority-led NC General Assembly for its skewed partisan voter districts, and its new laws designed to restrict voting.

“My challenge to you today — one year out from the 2024 election — is to keep the faith,” Stein wrote. “Keep your hope. Keep demanding your elected representatives stand for democracy. Keep organizing. Keep voting. Because some things are worth fighting for, no matter how tough it is. And yes, things in North Carolina right now are tough. But the people of North Carolina are worth fighting for. Our democracy is worth fighting for.”

Back over in the Republican race for governor, former Sixth District Congressman Mark Walker dropped out of the gubernatorial primary, trailing Mark Robinson’s projected 49%, to run for the newly-drawn Sixth District, which now includes a part of Guilford County, portion of eastern Forsyth County, all of Davidson, Davie and Rowan counties, and a portion of Cabarrus County.

Political newcomer and former healthcare executive Jesse Thomas, his campaign for governor barely registering in the polls, has dropped out and decided to run to unseat  Democratic NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Marshall has served in office for the past 27 years.

And finally, former prosecutor Bill Graham, a former board member of the Jesse Helms Center, just recently entered the Republican race for governor as a staunch conservative. 

To back it up, his $5 million self-funded campaign launched its first :30 second statewide ad, promising that if he’s elected, he will push for the death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers.

Candidate filing begins December 5th, and ends December 15th.

Both the Democrat and Republican primaries are scheduled for March 5, 2024.