Monday, September 10, 2012


By Cash Michaels

            Republican former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory confirms that if he’s elected North Carolina’s next governor, and the GOP-led NC General Assembly finally passes a voter photo identification law, it will get his signature.
            “Absolutely,” McCrory, who is leading Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton by double digits in the most recent polling, told The Carolinian Newspaper Wednesday during a phone interview.
            “To get into the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte [last week] you needed an ID. To buy Sudafed in North Carolina you need an ID. To get into the Governor’s Mansion you need an ID,” McCrory said, seemingly dismissing concerns made across the country in other voter ID states about voter suppression.
            Two weeks ago during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., NC House Speaker Thom Tillis was quoted as telling the NC delegation that if the Republicans hold on to their majorities in both state houses, and McCrory is elected governor, that lawmakers would pass voter ID law, and that he would sign it.
            Noting how Gov. Beverly Perdue has successfully vetoed  GOP efforts, thus far, to make voter ID law, McCrory left no doubt that he would do what Tillis said, and more.
            “I’d also draft a bill where …you could show your utility bill to prove that you live in the residence [from] which you’re voting,” he continued. “There are gaps in the voting records right now that are just wide open for abuse and corruption, just like there are gaps in campaign finance laws which our current governor [Perdue] broke when she ran against me in ’08.”
            McCrory went on to justify voter ID because Gov. Perdue, he said, was “hiding illegal flights.”
            In fact, members of Perdue’s 2008 campaign were indicted for not disclosing a number of campaign flights, but the governor herself was never accused, charged or proven to be aware of what was going on.
            If a “Governor” McCrory were to sign a voter ID measure, it would not be until 2013 at the earliest. North Carolina would then join over 30 other states that have passed laws requiring photo identification at the polls, and lessened the opportunity for early voting.
            Critics, including US Attorney General Eric Holder, have charged that because voter ID laws have been passed primarily in states with Republican governors or Republican-led legislatures, that they really are just mechanisms for voter suppression among majority Democrat populations like African-Americans, Latinos and young people.
            Last month, a federal district court in Washington D.C struck down the voter ID law in the state of Texas, while a state judge in Pennsylvania upheld what is said to be the toughest voter ID law in the nation. Both cases are being appealed.
            McCrory says voter ID needs to be the law of the land.
            “There is so much money in politics right now [that] if you close your eyes to the potential of corruption, you’re being naïve, and voter ID is one way to do that. It’s got to be a fair and reasonable voter ID bill, and I would definitely approve it, and I think it’s needed. I think over 85 percent of the people in North Carolina agree with that.”
            When told that, thus far, the evidence of widespread voter fraud in North Carolina and across the nation is virtually nonexistent, McCrory replied, “ If you don’t look for it, you won’t find it. But there is so much money on the ground right now being paid by both political parties, on the ground, if you don’t think there’s corruption in voting, you’re naïve.”
            McCrory then brought up Chicago as being “well known for corruption in voting,” as well as “other cities and areas in the United States that are well known for corruption because of the big money.”
            “We better protect ourselves here in North Carolina.”
            Schorr Johnson, communications director for the Walter Dalton campaign, reacted to McCrory’s remarks.
            "Pat McCrory and his allies in the legislature want to disenfranchise people and take away our most sacred right, the right to vote.  Walter Dalton will stand up for this right and veto any attempt at requiring a photo ID to vote,” Johnson wrote in a statement.


            [NEW YORK, NY] On Wednesday in New York, Detroit and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., the newly formed National Council of Elders - a group of civil rights veterans of the 1960’s and 70’s founded in Greensboro in August - released its “Greensboro Declaration.” The statement calls on Americans to get involved in the type of citizenship that, beyond voting, transforms their community involvement. Signers of the Declaration include entertainers Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover; reverends Phillip and James Lawson; and NC activists Rev. Nelson Johnson and his wife, Joyce.

            [CHAPEL HILL]  A UNC vice chancellor has been forced to step down after an internal audit raised questions about his travel expenses, and the fact that the mother of former Tar Heel basketball player Tyler Hansbrough accompanied him. Former UNC Vice Chancellor Matt Kupec resigned Monday, saying only in a statement that he will “always be part of the Carolina family.” Published reports allege that Kupec and Hansbrough took “personal trips” together at the university’s expense.

            [HENDERSON] A mental health provider has been arrested and charged with fraud after state authorities determined he was allegedly trying to cheat the Medicaid system. Bobby Faison, 41, and a counselor at Prodigious Health Services, was charged with 16 counts of fraud. Authorities say Faison was able to bribe Medicaid recipients with cash, payment of utility bills and toys for their children, in return for information he would use to bill taxpayers for services never rendered. Faison is the twentieth person arrested in a statewide crackdown on Medicaid fraud. At least 20 have been convicted.


            Raleigh Police say a woman who was running away from her allegedly abusive ex-husband was fatally shot Monday in Raleigh’s Cameron Village Shopping Center. The killer, later identified as Christopher John Bertrand of Alabama, 42, was found hours after dead behind a Wade Avenue business from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The woman, Kathleen Bertrand, 41, had divorced her husband last December. She had a domestic violence protective order against him. The couple had three children.

            In April 2008, Derek E. Hodge, a junior at NC A&T University in Greensboro, was fatally shot during a robbery in his off-campus apartment. Four years, his parents, Derek and Eva Hodge, have created the Derek E. Hodge II Memorial Scholarship Foundation to assist aspiring students to attend college. On Saturday, Sept. 29th, the Inaugural Black Tie Sponsorship Banquet will be held at the Crabtree Valley Marriott in Raleigh. NFL great Lin Dawson will be the keynote speaker. Starting in 2013, the foundation will also award a scholarship to a Southeast Raleigh High School graduate accepted to North Carolina A&T State University. For more information go to

            When Maryland’s powerhouse DeMatha High School football played Hillside High in Durham last weekend, they demolished them 52-14. But five members of the DeMatha team have now been dismissed for what they allegedly did afterwards - hire prostitutes. Reportedly, the five called a local service from the hotel where they were staying, and engaged with the women early Saturday. There were 65 players and 18 adult chaperones on the trip. The players waited until the chaperones were asleep.

NNPA ANALYSIS -–-they-built-it-by-george-e-curry/

By Cash Michaels

            [WILMINGTON, NC] In an extraordinary historical discovery, the forty-year-old case files of the prosecuting attorney in the two 1972 Wilmington Ten criminal trials not only document how he sought to impanel, according to his own written jury selection notes, mostly white “KKK” juries to guarantee convictions, but also to keep black men from serving on both juries, the lead defense attorney during the trials reveals.
            Instead the prosecutor chose, in his own words, “Uncle Tom” types.
            The files of Assistant New Hanover County District Attorney James “Jay” Stroud Jr. also document how he incredibly plotted to cause a mistrial in the first June 1972 Wilmington Ten trial because there were ten blacks and two whites on the jury, his star false witness against the Ten was not cooperating, and it looked very unlikely that he could win the case given the lack of evidence.
            History shows that prosecutor Stroud told the presiding judge that he had become “ill,” as that first trial began, and a mistrial was indeed declared.
            It was during the second trial, forty years ago this week, that Stroud got a jury more to his liking - this time ten whites and two black domestic workers - and a different judge who was arguably biased against the defense.
            The result? In October 1972, the ten young civil rights activists, led by the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, were falsely convicted of conspiracy charges in connection with racial violence in the small North Carolina port city a year earlier.
            The nine black males and one white female were collectively sentenced to 282 years in prison, some of which they all served before the three state’s witnesses recanted their false testimonies in 1977, admitting to being paid by prosecutors.
 A federal appeals court, citing prosecutorial misconduct among other findings of fact, overturned all ten convictions in December 1980.
            However, in the thirty-two years since, the state of North Carolina has refused to follow suit, not allowing the Wilmington Ten - four of whom have since deceased - to clear their names.
            The explosive “Stroud files,” as they’re being referred to, were discovered several months ago by a Duke University professor who was researching the Wilmington Ten case for a book he was writing.
            When the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, a special outreach effort of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) to seek pardons of innocence for the Ten from North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, announced its formation earlier this year, the professor allowed the Wilmington Journal and Carolinian newspapers, both NNPA members, access to the materials.
            Some of the contents of the Stroud files are being revealed only now because attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, NC; and attorney James Ferguson of Charlotte, the original lead defense lawyer for the Wilmington Ten, spent the summer researching the materials against the official case record to confirm their authenticity.
            On Sept. 5 during a forum at the law school on the Wilmington Ten case hosted by Prof. Joyner; Dr. Chavis; Rev. Kojo Nantambu, a colleague who worked with Rev. Chavis in Wilmington in 1971 as they led a black student boycott of the local racially divisive public school system; and Ms. Judy Mack, the daughter of now-deceased Wilmington ten member Anne Shepard, attorney Ferguson confirmed what he discovered in the Stroud files.
            “There was a fair amount of confirmation of things we suspected at the time that race was the central strategy of the prosecution,” attorney Ferguson maintained, singling out a legal pad that prosecutor Stroud used during jury selection of the first trial to track Ferguson’s questioning of potential jurors in Pender County, a neighboring county the case had been moved to in June 1972.
            Pender had a larger African-American population than New Hanover, where the Wilmington Ten had been charged, thus, more black candidates for jury service.
            Ferguson details how Stroud wrote on the top of one page of his jury selection legal pad,” Stay away from black men.” Next to that on the top of that same sheet, Stroud wrote, “Leave off Rocky [Point], Maple Hill. Put on Burgaw, Long Creek Atkinson Blacks.”
            In Stroud’s mind, blacks from the more rural towns of Burgaw, Long Creek and Atkinson, would probably be less likely to identify with “radical” civil rights leaders like Ben Chavis than African-Americans from the more urbane towns of Rocky Point and Maple Hill.
            Indeed, the 29th prospective juror on that same page named “Randolph” has a capital “B” in front of his name in the margin, and in parentheses the word “no,” and written afterwards, “on basis Maple Hill.”
            In contrast, another possible juror, number 9 with a “B” named “Murphy,” Stroud has written in parentheses, “Worth chance because from Atkinson.”
            There are several prospective jurors listed by name, and if not, certainly by number, who have the capital letter “B” written in the margin. If there was any doubt about the “B” indicating “black” - which was attached to many names the words “leave off” were written next too, that is dispelled by what Stroud writes in addition to some of them.
            On prospective “B” juror number eleven named “Graham,” Stroud writes, “knows; sensible; Uncle Tom type.”
            On Number 27 named “Stringfield,” Stroud writes, “no named black on jury.”
            On Number 19 named “James” Stroud writes, “stay away from,” apparently indicating that the potential juror is a black male he doesn’t want.
            And prosecutor Stroud had unmistakable codes for white jurors he felt he had to have.
            On that same legal pad sheet tracking juror interviews, when Stroud was impressed with a white interviewee’s answers, he’d write down the three letters of the alphabet most commonly associated with the most fear white supremacist group in the South at the time - the Ku Klux Klan.
            “KKK?...good” is what Stroud wrote for juror Number 1 known as “Pridgen.” For Number 6 named “Heath,” the reverse, “O.K.” then “KKK?”. Number 75 on a subsequent page was “Fine - probably KKK!!” and on Number 99 Stroud writes, “does not have a record - KKK!!”
            There are other potential white jurors Stroud has also written “KKK” next to, but he then crosses them out, possibly indicating that they were no longer eligible.
            In some cases, Stroud apparently had trouble telling the difference between whites and fair-skinned blacks. For Number 38, the prosecutor writes, “good name and location - KKK if white.” On Number 59, Stroud writes, “take off on basis of name if black.”
            “Race infused the jury selection strategy in that June trial,” attorney Ferguson said of Stroud’s jury selection notes.
            As indicated earlier, the sheer number of prospective black jurors for the first Wilmington Ten trial resulted in a panel of ten African-Americans, and two whites.
            “We were able to position ourselves in a way that we were headed towards getting what appeared to be a jury that might be fair,” defense attorney Ferguson said.
            “But at that time, as they say, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.”
            Ferguson and Prof. Irving Joyner note that on the cardboard back of that jury selection legal pad Stroud used, the prosecutor literally drew a line down the middle.
            On the left he titled it, “Disadvantages of Mistrial.”
            On the right, “Advantages of Mistrial.”
            “Most people don’t list the pros and cons of getting sick,” quipped Ferguson.
            Stroud then proceeded to list reasons for both, seemingly to devise some sort of strategy as to what his next move should be.
            For disadvantages, the prosecutor wrote, “1 - waste of a week; 2- could affect Hall’s attitude and other witnesses (referring to star state’s witness Allen Hall, who was being paid by the prosecution to deliver false testimony) 3 - possibly waste of 2 weeks unless Allen can set up quick docket; 4 - inconvenience to all concerned; 5 - possibly get Judges Chess, Godwin or Copeland on new trial; and 6 - delaying getting cases over with.”
            On the other side of Stroud’s list for “Advantages of Mistrial’ in the first Wilmington Ten trial, the prosecutor listed, “1 - different judge; 2 - better prepared to select jury and to handle motions/more organized; 3 - avoid longer jury selection and hung jury in Pender because of their concern about retaliation; 4- fresh start [with] new jury from another county; 5- avoid reversible error [and] new trial on lack of [defense] witness interviews; 6 - can enlist Dan Johnson’s help; 7 - opportunity to separate [white Wilmington Ten member Ann] Shephard (sic) from others to keep out [Allen] Hall’s letter; and 8 - time to have case well prepared and organized.”
            Stroud apparently decided to cause the mistrial as a result of his deliberations.
            “The main prosecutor in the case (Stroud) suddenly became ill,” Ferguson recalls. “For what reason I do not know. [Perhaps] sitting there looking at that many black folks serving on the jury. But he became ill, sort of speak, and decided that he could not proceed with the trial. So that trial was aborted.”
            Ferguson recalls how during the second trial in September 1972, not only did the new judge allow white jurors with apparent biases against the Wilmington Ten to be seated, but allowed state’s witness Allen Hall to jump off the stand to attack him without punishment, and disallowed any defense challenges to the prosecution’s case before the convictions.
            The two blacks who were seated on the second trial’s jury was a maid who worked in a white home, and a janitor, two “easy targets of economic reprisal,” said Ferguson.
            “We complained throughout about the prosecution’s use of challenges to remove blacks from that second jury,” Ferguson said.
            To no avail. In the end, the Wilmington Ten were convicted, and remains felons in the state of North Carolina until this day.
            When told of the Stroud file documents earlier this spring, Dr. Ben Chavis and other members of the Wilmington Ten said it didn’t surprise them. They knew the state was doing everything it could to find them guilty of charges they were innocent of.
            Former prosecutor James Stroud Jr. could not be reached for comment on this story. Published reports say Stroud, 69, lives in Gastonia, NC, and is homeless. The Gaston Gazette, a local newspaper, reported in December 2011 that Stroud, who went on to have a successful private law practice after prosecuting the Wilmington Ten, fell on hard times.
            His adult son, Kirk, is quoted as telling the paper that Stroud suffers from manic polar disorder, a diagnosis that reportedly goes back to when Stroud as starting law school over 50 years ago. As a result, the once powerful attorney has lost everything.
            The Gazette reports that criminal records show former prosecutor Stroud has been arrested at least 14 times in the past five years, with some of the charges ranging from assault with a deadly weapon, to several domestic violence protection orders, to a charge of hit and run, among others.
Stroud’s son told The Gazette last December that his father, “…has yet to be involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.” He lost his license to practice law in North Carolina in 2008, according to the NC State Bar.
            Editor’s note - the Stroud file documents noted in this story, along with attorney James Ferguson’s presentation can be see in the video, “The Wilmington Ten - the Stroud Files” on YouTube now.


By Cash Michaels

            PRAYERS TO ROBIN - “Good Morning America” hostess Robin Roberts entered the hospital this week for her bone marrow transplant operation. She published a picture on her Facebook page of her sitting in a chair, holding a picture of her “two guardian angels,” her late mother, Lucimarian, who recently passed, and her late father. Roberts, who clearly shares the credit for the ABC-TV morning program being Number One in the ratings beating NBC’s “Today Show,” has been diagnosed with MDS, a rare blood and bone marrow disorder. She will be receiving the bone marrow transplant from her sister, Sally, who also works in television.
            The native Mississippian will be in treatment for several months.
            We wish Robin Roberts all the best, and a speedy recovery.
            SAY WHAT? - Without mentioning names, we understand that there is a local black pastor in Raleigh who has been purchasing airtime on black radio stations, advising black voters not to support President Barack Obama in the upcoming election because of his stance in favor of same-sex marriage.
            Apparently “God” told him to say this.
            Makes you wonder why “God” hasn’t inspired said preacher to buy radio time before to encourage the community to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, regardless of race, color, gender or sexual orientation.
            Oh, and one more thing…while I certainly have my religious concerns about homosexuality, the president made it clear that “legally” same-sex couples should have the same rights as everybody else.
            So folks either agree or disagree. But clearly there is more to Obama that same sex marriage, especially, with the national economy against the ropes, and terrorists still looking to kill as many of us as they can.
            Still, that doesn’t stop Pastor “Don’t Vote” from telling us that “God” told him to stop the black vote this November.
            Needless to say, there are folks outraged by this, and have let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that in such an important election, that is not the message that anyone in the community should be sending. Especially given how precious the vote is to our people.
            And yet, there is a fact that we also must consider.
            The pastor, like every other citizen, has freedom of speech.
            He has the right to spend his money (if it is “his” money), and say whatever he wants to say, to anybody he wants to say it too.
            But here’s the best part - the rest of us have the right to tell him, or anybody else whose judgment we don’t trust, to take a walk. And we can say it as loudly and clearly as we’d like.
            I suspect that many of you are, and will.
            Folks, it’s time we grew up politically. No elected official operates purely on the kindness of his or her heart. And no politician does everything we like. It’s time we learned this. Our job, as citizens, is to evaluate candidates based on the sum total of where they stand on the issues.
            So if a candidate is for same-sex marriage, but also for feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, as opposed to the other candidate who is against all three, then does it make sense to say, “I’m not voting at all?”
            We’re smarter than that.
            Remember that the next time you hear someone tell you not to vote.
            You ARE smarter that that.
            THE DNC - The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last week was one for the history books. I’m glad it came to North Carolina, and I’m thrilled it as such a success.
            I went down, by Amtrak, for the opening day, and then came right back the following day. The purpose was to get as much of the story was possible from the NC delegation for both The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal, and plus my daily special “Make It Happen” reports for Power 750 WAUG-AM in Raleigh, where I do my weekly radio show every Thursday at 4 p.m. (folks outside of Raleigh can listen at
            Since I was traveling light (one bag filled with my computer, video and audio equipment) and had no car, I was at the mercy of whatever transportation I could drum up. My first ride was a Charlotte city bus, and what struck me immediately was that while some of the most powerful people in the nation were convening in the heart of the Queen City’s uptown, nothing had changed for the poor people living in the predominately black areas surrounding it.
            The faces of those riding the bus going into the central city were sad, depressed and uninspired. That’s not a criticism. It looked very much like an everyday reality, and the DNC being in town wasn’t about to change it.
            When I got off the bus, I began walking towards where all of the action was - the Time Warner Cable Arena. Key streets had been shut down in and around the area, so unless you were a cop or Secret Service, you were walking through security checkpoints almost every other block.
            Before I found the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the NC delegation was headquartered, I walked over to where all of the major cable news outlets had setup.
            I stood on the corner of the “CNN Grill” watching notables like activist Vann Jones and Gov. Deval Patrick enter the invitation-only spot. After standing there taking it all in, I walked further down the block to where C-SPAN and MSNBC were situated.
            I was impressed with MSNBC, which had carved out a large staging area to broadcast live from, inviting large crowds to come and cheer.
            Finally I decided to find the Crowne Plaza, which was several long, congested blocks away. I definitely got my exercise for the week walking there.
            And that’s where I stayed for several hours, as many of North Carolina’s top Democrats gathered in the hotel lobby, or would come down from their rooms.  The lobby was the perfect office, complete with soft furniture, lively conversations, and free refreshments.
            Getting interviews was like shooting fish in a barrel. I had already gotten former NC Congresswoman Eva Clayton when we got off the Amtrak Train together. So getting more notables, like state Sen. Dan Blue, former Congressman Bobby Etheridge and NC Democratic Party Chairman David Parker, among others, only sweetened the pot.
            But beyond the top dogs, talking to the delegates - regular folks from all across North Carolina, there to proudly talk part in the historic re-nomination of the first black president - was inspirational.
            All of them were happy, and wanted to send a message to the nation, and especially to the Republicans, that they will not be stop, and that everything that can be done, will be done, to re-elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
            By 4:30 p.m. I was on the NC delegate bus headed to the convention proceedings at Time Warner Cable Arena. A ride that should have taken ten minutes, took over 45, primarily because of the security maze that entrapped the central city, and the heavy downpour of rain that slowed everything to a halt.
            But the spirit on the bus was still high.
            After walking from the bus, through the Secret Service security checkpoint, and finally inside the arena, I was floored by the size and scope of it all. In the lobby was “Radio Row” where nationally syndicated radio hosts did their shows.
            I took a moment to go over and say “Hi” to Michael Baisden, telling him about the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project.
            I saw other celebrities and members of Congress walking around as well. Someone said there was a feeling of “family” to the place.
            I agree.
            After getting settled in the press room (which actually was a practice gym for Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats, who play at Time Warner Cable Arena), it was a matter of starting to edit and produce the many interviews I did for radio.
            On occasion, I went to the arena to shoot some video, hoping to capture how huge all of it was in-person.
            After First Lady Michelle Obama delivered her extraordinary speech, and I got reaction from folks in the hall, I left, feeling that I had put in a good days work, indeed.
            While walking outside, I ran into State Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County, and his son, Dan III. All of us were looking to catch taxies (me to the Amtrak Station for the ride back home).
            As the three of us approached a busy Charlotte street corner, a slender man standing outside of an SUV pointed at me and said, “I saw you on TV today.”
            Not only did the guy look familiar, but I didn’t know what in the world he was talking about. Then it hit me.
            This was comedian D. L. Hughley.
            “I’ve seen you on TV too,” I said.
            “I know. But really, I saw you on TV today, Hughley shot back with a smile on his face. He wasn’t kidding.
            “Where?” I challenged.
            “On CNN,” Hughley said, as Sen. Blue and Dan III looked on in amazement.
            I wear I had no idea what homeboy was talking about, until it dawned on me that I stood on that corner outside of the CNN Grill earlier in the day, and one of their cameras must have captured me.
            “You see, I told you you were on CNN today,” Hughley said in that comedic wry tone.
            “So you did, “ I said, laughing. “Want my autograph?”
            For the next few minutes, the four of us just stood there, on a dark Charlotte street corner, talking. It was weird, but it was also the perfect way to end my trip to Charlotte, for a day in the life of an historic political convention I’ll never forget.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.

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