Tag Archives: North Carolina

The Wilmington Ten: A Struggle In History

By Guest Contributor Lamont Lilly

The Wilmington Ten. Standing (l-r): Wayne Moore, Anne Shepard, James McKoy, Willie Vereen, Marvin Patrick, Reginald Epps. Seated (l-r): Rev. Ben Chavis, Joe Wright, Connie Tindall, Jerry Jacobs

On Dec. 31, outgoing North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue pardoned the Wilmington 10, ending the prolonged national struggle for the 10 activists–nine black, one white–initially convicted in 1972. Perdue was forced to publicly admit that their sentences were “tainted by naked racism,” ending 2012 with justice finally being served for Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Connie Tindall, Marvin Patrick, Wayne Moore, Reginald Epps, Jerry Jacobs, James McKoy, Willie Earl Vereen, William Wright, Jr., and Ann Shepard.

“We are tremendously grateful to Gov. Perdue for her courage,” said Chavis, the group’s leader. “This is a historic day for North Carolina and the United States. People should be innocent until proven guilty, not persecuted for standing up for equal rights and justice.”

Background 
In 1971, racial outbursts in the city of Wilmington shocked the world. The political and social undercurrent of racism and bigotry were still festering in the aftermath of the signing of historic Civil Rights bills in 1964 and 1965. Police had murdered a black teenager, while two white security guards had been killed.

The National Guard was called to patrol the city, to protect its downtown and commercial district from a potential race war. All of the key players were in attendance: the Ku Klux Klan and their local support organization, The Rights of White People, while frustrated Black residents, including youth, towed the progressive side. Anyone who pressed for change and racial solidarity became a threat to social order and the complete reign of white supremacy. Though skin color was the major dividing line, Blacks weren’t the only targets. White allies who were seen as “trying to make integration work” were also targeted by the Klan. White southerner and superintendent of schools Hayward Bellamy was almost lynched to death in front of his family.

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Grad Student’s Story Leads To Protest Against North Carolina Bar

By Arturo R. García

Over the past couple of days, it’s become clear that Jonathan Wall is not alone.

Wall’s experience at Downtown Sports Bar and Grill in Raleigh, N.C., has garnered attention from the likes of MSNBC after being posted by a former instructor, leading to a protest against the restaurant this Saturday.

The story is something out of the Jim Crow era: last week, Wall, a Raleigh native due to start grad school at Harvard this fall, and two friends went to the bar and were told by a bouncer that they needed “memberships” to be allowed in. The people in front of them, Wall says, were let in without a hitch. The bouncer ultimately relented after being approached by two police officers. Two members of Wall’s party – Wall and one of his friends – are black.

“This was the first interesting ordeal of the night,” Wall says, “but not the last.”
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Race + Politics: Amendment One And Race-Baiting

By Arturo R. García

Today, voters in North Carolina will go to the polls to decide whether Amendment One–which would define marriage in the state constitution as being only between a cis man and a cis woman, and  outlaw same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships–will become law. But the wife of a state senator has already been reportedly caught trying to use racial anxieties as a call to arms to support the bill.

The story started to unfold last week, when freelance journalist Chad Nance recorded the wife of state Sen. Peter Brunstetter talking to poll workers in Winston-Salem, as Pam Spaulding noted:

Nance said he recorded a conversation with the woman, whose name is Jodie Brunstetter, on video, and that she confirmed that she used the term “Caucasian” in a discussion about the marriage amendment, but insisted that otherwise her comments had been taken out of context by other poll workers.

… Nance paraphrased the remarks, as told to him by those who were present: “During the conversation, Ms. Brunstetter said her husband was the architect of Amendment 1, and one of the reasons he wrote it was to protect the Caucasian race. She said Caucasians or whites created this country. We wrote the Constitution. This is about protecting the Constitution. There already is a law on the books against same-sex marriage, but this protects the Constitution from activist judges.”

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