DEADLINE LOOMS FOR GOV. PERDUE’S
WILMINGTON TEN PARDON DECISION
By Cash Michaels
Now that the 2012 presidential and gubernatorial elections are history, supporters for Gov. Beverly Perdue to grant individual pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten are focused to building more overwhelming public support for the cause before she leaves office on Dec. 31st.
Churches, fraternities, sororities, community and civic organizations are being asked to meaningfully support the cause of justice by sending letters to Gov. Perdue, or signing the online petition at https://www.change.org/petitions/nc-governor-bev-perdue-pardon-the-wilmington-ten.
This week, the Final Call, the national newspaper of the Nation of Islam, published a story about the Wilmington Ten pardons effort, as did the Associated Press in many major newspapers across the nation on Oct. 28th. At least one national television network has expressed interest in looking into the story as well.
Thousands of signatures in hard copy and online petitions have been collected, but organizers with the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project - an outreach effort by the National Newspaper Publishers Association - say that still many more are needed by December 1st.
The next two-and-a-half weeks are critical, they say, towards garnering more petition signatures and letters of support in order to document that there is widespread sentiment across the state and nation that the false prosecution of nine African-American males and one white female forty years ago, was wrong, and the state needs to correct.
Add to that the most recent and explosive revelation that James “Jay” Stroud, the state prosecutor who had the Wilmington Ten falsely convicted and sentenced to 282 years in prison collectively for crimes they did not commit, not only sought to gerrymander the jury of the first June 1972 trial to include “KKK” and “Uncle Tom” types, but also, documented evidence from his own handwritten notes show, succeeded in having that first trial aborted because it had a jury of ten blacks and two whites.
The second trial, in Sept. 1972, had a Pender County jury of ten whites and two blacks, in addition to a judge that history shows was more favorable to the prosecution.
“The prosecutor’s notes are clear and convincing evidence that race was not just a factor in his selection of the ten whites and two blacks on the Pender jury that convicted the Wilmington Ten,” veteran civil rights attorney Al McSurely says. “Race was the only factor. Forty years later, we know his real motives. I believe when the governor studies this evidence, she will do the right thing and sign the pardons.”
"I can barely contain my outrage at the blatant racism of an officer of the court,” attorney McSurely added.
UNC - Chapel Hill law Professor Gene Nichol agreed.
“This intense abuse of governmental authority, prosecutorial misconduct -- both professional and racial -- casts a long shadow over the North Carolina system of justice, Prof. Nichol says. “It also, of course, worked massive and unforgivable constitutional injury on the lives of ten North Carolinians.”
“The prosecutor made mockery of his high office by knowingly, intentionally, and purposefully placing perjured testimony at the heart of the trial. It is also clear now, in ways not demonstrated by documentary evidence before, that he tainted the trial initiation process and vital jury selection through patent, overt, and outcome-determinative racism.”
“It is crucial that North Carolina act to admit and concede such a potent and defining abuse of power,” Prof. Nichol maintains. “To allow public servants to behave in such a fashion, without remedy, is literally intolerable.”
Attorneys for the pardons effort met with Governor Perdue’s staff several weeks ago, presenting their case, based on the Dec. 1980 US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which overturned all ten of the convictions, based on prosecutorial misconduct, and the fact that not only was exculpatory evidence was hidden by prosecutor, but three witnesses for the state admitted they were enticed to lie.
Despite all, however, the state of North Carolina, in the 32 years since, has refused to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten, thus maintaining their false felony convictions.
In the six months since the pardons effort campaign publicly kicked off, support for Gov. Perdue to grant pardons of innocence to the Ten have come from North Carolina congressmen G. K. Butterfield, David Price and Brad Miller; the NC Legislative Black Caucus and Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh.
The 2012 NC Democratic Party platform also adopted a plank supporting the Wilmington Ten pardon effort last summer.
In terms of grassroots support, the NC NAACP has led the way, followed by a unanimous resolution last May by the national NAACP Board of Directors, and most recently, the NC chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In each case, supporters have said that Gov. Perdue, given her record of advocacy for the original 2009 NC Racial Justice Act; her push for reparations for the victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program; and the governor’s veto of the Republican legislature’s voter ID bill; is well positioned, before she leaves office, to add to her legacy pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten.
And unlike the legislature’s gutting to the Racial Justice Act, or their refusal to pay reparations to the eugenics victims, and the certainty that the Republicans will institute voter ID when they go into session, they can’t touch pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten.
COLEMAN HOPES FOR FAVORABLE VOTE COUNT
By Cash Michaels
There are 46,700 provisional ballots that could decide whether North Carolina’s next Lieutenant Governor is Democrat or Republican.
Those ballots are expected to be counted by 5 p.m. this afternoon, and certified by the NC Board of Elections Friday. Depending on what the final count is, a recount could be requested.
Democrat Linda Coleman, a former state personnel director and NC House member, is hoping that the final count not only wins the race outright for her, but also puts it beyond the recount threshold.
She’s asked her supporters to help her raise $10,000 by this afternoon so that her campaign can afford to call for a recount if warranted.
“Thousands of provisional voters in North Carolina need to bring identification to their local board of elections to make sure their vote is counted—which is the same time we need at least $10,000 in order to fund our provisional outreach program,” wrote Randy Johnston, senior advisor to the Coleman campaign legal team, to supporters this week.
“The campaign is working around the clock to make sure that every vote is counted and every citizen’s voice is heard but we need $10,000 by Thursday at 5pm in order to reach out to provisional voters.”
Coleman’s Republican opponent, businessman and Tea Party activist Dan Forest, has already claimed victory in the tight race. The unofficial results had Forest with a 50.13 percent win over Coleman’s 49.87 percent.
11,370 votes separate them out of 4.4 million cast statewide.
When Coleman refused to concede, especially since there were more outstanding ballots yet to be counted that could easily decide the race, Forest warned his supporters that the race could be taken from them.
If Coleman can overcome the vote deficit between she and Forrest, and be sworn in as the state’s next Lt. Governor, she would become the most visible Democrat in the state, and be tasked with influencing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to build bridges to the Democratic minority in the state Legislature, and also to be more moderate in his policymaking.
It is expected that McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who says he likes to take a “team approach” to governing, will be pushed to be on the same page with the NC General Assembly’s Republican leadership when it comes to issues as voter ID (which McCrory says he intends to implement), educational reform and cutting social service programs in order to cut taxes.
Coleman’s leverage on McCrory, if she becomes Lt. Governor? The apparent large number of Democrats who voted for the Charlotte Republican over Democrat Lt. Gov. Walton Dalton. Arguably McCrory wouldn’t have been elected without significant Democratic Party voter crossover, most observers note. That means governing without Democrats having a seat at the table would only bring about divisiveness.
Couple that with McCrory jockeying for power with State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and State Senate Speaker Pro tem Sen. Phil Berger to see whose agenda comes first, and some observers suggest the first few months of the McCrory Administration could prove difficult.
Last week, McCrory introduced his transition team, which included conservative businessman Art Pope, and Republican former Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner.
The 23-member transition team is headed by attorney Thomas Stith, a black Republican who once served on the Durham City Council, and worked in Republican Gov. Jim Martin’s administration.
McCrory has said he wants to take office directly on January 1, 2013.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
NC EDUCATION LOTTERY GROSSED $1.5 BILLION IN FISCAL 2012
[GREENSBORO] Despite all of the controversy surrounding it, the NC Education Lottery brought in $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2012, an audit of the lottery books reveals. In fact, the lottery actually sold over $135 million more lottery tickets than in fiscal year 2011, the State Auditor’s office says in a new report. The number of retailers was expanded by 2.7 percent, and over 45 new instant scratch-off games generated over $960 million in sales. Over the lottery’s history, the $1 million prize has been awarded 110 times.
AT LEAST 10,000 IN NC PETITON TO SECEDE FROM THE UNITED STATES
[CHARLOTTE] In the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s dramatic re-election last week, tens of thousands of disgruntled voters in at least 30 states are now petitioning the White House to have their states secede from the nation, and be independent. In North Carolina, an estimated 10,000 people have gone to the White House website to sign the “We the People” North Carolina petition started by a Pittsboro man. At press time, over 200,000 signatures had been registered, with Texas leading the way with over 80,000. Thus far, the White House has not responded to the petitions.
FBI RAIDS HOME OF FORMER CIA DIRECTOR’S MISTRESS
[CHARLOTTE] Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the home Monday of author Paula Broadwell, the married woman embroiled in the reported sex scandal that ultimately forced CIA Director David Petraeus to resign last week. Agents were seen taking computers, printers and other personal items from the Broadwell residence. Reportedly, beyond the affair, Broadwell is accused of having classified information that she may have gotten from Petraeus, though authorities say thus far, they’ve seen nothing that threatens national security.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
NEW ASSIGNMENT PLAN FOR WAKE SCHOOLS DRAW PRAISE
A new student assignment to replace the cumbersome and expensive school choice plan was unveiled Tuesday at the Wake Board of Education meeting. The new plan is considered temporary, and will affect 1,500 initially because of three new schools that are online to open next year. The majority of Wake’s 150,000 students will essentially stay where they are. A new base school assignment plan is still in the works. The board, which welcomed the temporary plan, will vote on it in mid-December. Meanwhile, Republican board member Chris Malone is expected to leave the school board soon in the aftermath of his election to the NC House. He will likely be replaced by a Democrat.
ATTORNEY WHO CAUSED JUDGE RUTH TO RESIGN, PLEADS GUILTY
The Raleigh attorney who embroiled former Wake District Court Judge Kristin Ruth in a DWI backdating scheme, ultimately forcing her to resign from the bench, pled guilty this week to breaking the law. Attorney James Crouch pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of altering documents, and one count of conspiracy with his legal aide. Crouch and his aide slipped backdated DWI cases in papers for Judge Ruth’s signature, thus altering the final judgments in those cases. Ruth testified that she didn’t realize that Crouch was using her because she never read the documents she signed.
DURHAM ACTION NC TASK FORCE MEETING FRIDAY
Action NC, an affordable housing advocacy group in Durham, will hold a task force meeting Friday, Nov. 16th to help the tenants of Lincoln Apartments who are being evicted Dec. 31st work on a plan. Then on Monday, Nov. 19th, those tenants will picket, and on Tuesday, Nov. 20th, attend a press conference about the conditions they were living under. Offices are located at John O’Daniel Exchange. 801 Gilbert St. Suite 102 in Durham. For more information call 919-794-8210
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
THE WILMINGTON TEN PARDON EFFORT - As you may know, besides being editor/chief reporter for The Carolinian Newspaper in Raleigh, and a staff writer at The Wilmington Journal in Wilmington, I am also coordinator for The Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project - sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (of which The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal are member newspapers) working to have Gov. Beverly Perdue grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten before she leaves office on Dec. 31st.
The Wilmington Ten, as you know, were nine black males and one white female who, forty years ago, were falsely convicted and sentenced to 282 years in prison - some of which they all served - for crimes they did not commit in connection to racial violence in Wilmington in 1971.
History shows that the three witnesses who testified against the Ten later admitted they committed perjury. In Dec. 1980, the US Fourth Circuit of Appeals overturned the Ten’s convictions based on prosecutorial misconduct. But the state of North Carolina never followed suit.
Since then, four of the Wilmington Ten have died, never seeing the day when their names could be cleared.
We have been working hard since January of this year to change that.
Dec. 1st is our deadline for getting in all of our petition signatures for the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, so we're trying to get as many signatures as possible before then.
Please, go to our Change.Org petition link at https://www.change.org/petitions/nc-governor-bev-perdue-pardon-the-wilmington-ten, sign it, and then send out the link via your own email tree, asking everyone you contact to also sign it, and then share the link with their contacts BEFORE Dec. 1st.
The governor will be making her decision in December, and we want to have at least 1,000 online signatures. Currently we have over 680, so you see we're hustling for the goal.
We are also asking, for those individuals, churches or institutions who wish to beyond just signing the petition, to send letters to Gov. Perdue asking her to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten by Dec. 1st.
Here is that address:
Hon. Beverly Eaves Perdue
Governor of North Carolina
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
If you want more information about the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, you can go to www.wilmingtonjournal.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheWilmingtonTenPardonOfInnocenceProject
Please, as we enter this holy season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, let us deliver peace and justice to those who have been forty years denied.
As a black journalist, and a proud member of the community, after forty long years, I’d like to see justice done for the Wilmington Ten.
I sincerely hope that you do too.
POST-ELECTION - Last week we had to write this column before the elections because of scheduling. So we couldn’t do any real analysis.
This week, a full week after the extraordinary election results, is much different.
Indeed, in many ways, much, MUCH different.
A bitterly divided nation made history last week by re-electing the first African-American president in our nation, and we were all alive to see it. And now, even the wayward Republican Party, embarrassed to the nth degree, is questioning whether it can ever win a national campaign based on racism, classism and sexism
But we saw something else in the 2012 elections that made us all very proud.
Millions of voters of all colors, from North Carolina to Florida to Ohio, stayed on their respective lines for hours, making the point that they will NOT allow anyone, especially the Republicans, to suppress their vote. No matter how long it took, or how arduous state officials made it, these bold Americans simply refused to be denied their franchise.
Damn near brought tears to many a dry eye, including my own. Dr. King would be proud of ALL of them!
As for here in North Carolina, it’s well known by now that President Obama lost the state. But make no mistake, the Obama campaign operation helped to register tens of thousands of voters in this state, and those voters went on to vote in other races that made a difference. So history will smile wide on the 2012 Obama campaign in this state.
So now we have a Republican governor and Republican-led NC General Assembly, and we will have both certainly for the next four years (if not eight), and the Legislature may remain GOP for the next ten years because of their redistricting maps (unless the courts rule against the maps).
We know that issues like voter ID and the elimination (if not limitation) of One Stop Early Voting will be on the agenda. We also know that the GOP philosophy of education is a lot different than many of ours. They’d rather destroy education, instead of improve it.
So the next couple of years are going to be dramatic, indeed.
The question is, how engaged are we going to be to make sure that our voices shape public policy?
We’ll find out, won’t we?
I’M TAKING MY STATE AND LEAVING! - Just because Pres. Barack Obama won re-election, apparently crushing the notion of supremacy that many Tea party right-wingers harbored, tens of thousands of these nuts in at least 30 states, including North Carolina, have petitioned the White House online to be granted secession from the United States.
In case you don’t know what that means…they don’t want to be in a country with a black president anymore. They can’t handle it. According to them, America was never meant to be run by one of “them.” Egged on by “carnival barkers” like Donald Trump, who has pushed the birther nonsense; and Fox News comedian Bill O’Reilly, who said after the election that the “traditional…white establishment” was now in the minority, there are people out there who feel America isn’t really America unless there is someone who looks and talks just like them in the White House.
This is the sickness that we’ve all had to deal with for the past four years. And it seems that it is about to get worse.
Even if the president and the Republicans in Congress come together and hash out a debt reduction plan to solve the fiscal cliff problem and get the nation’s economy back on its feet, there will always be haters and pure idiots out there, no question.
Just do your job, Mr. President. Pay these idiots no mind.
WHAT IN THE WORLD? - First the Secret Service is caught messing around with prostitutes in foreign countries ahead of presidential visits.
Then we hear of documented evidence of young Boy Scouts being molested for years all over the country, but the deeds are covered up to protect the “upstanding” citizens who allegedly did the molesting.
And now, this week, the sex scandal of them all - CIA Director David Petraeus having to step down because of an alleged affair with married Charlotte author Paula Broadwell.
Then we learn that Gen. John Allen, the head of US forces in Afghanistan, was allegedly sending “flirtatious” emails - some 20,000 of them, to a married woman in Florida, who originally complained about Broadwell threatening her by email.
And then there’s the FBI agent who sent a shirtless picture to the same married woman in Florida because…Lord only knows.
Meanwhile the nutty righties are trying hard to connect Pres. Obama to all of this, which they can’t.
Boy, am I glad I’m in the news business!
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 www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). 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.
TUSKEGEE AIRMEN HERBERT CARTER DEAD AT 95
by Teri Sumbry
Tuskegee University Press
TUSKEGEE, Ala. — Retired Col. Herbert E. Carter died Nov. 8th at East Alabama Medical Center. He was 95. Carter was a university alumnus and member of the original cadre of the 99th Fighter Squadron of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He flew combat missions during the North African, Sicilian, Italian and European campaigns of World War II.
“Col. Carter's entire life was an inspiration to generations of students not only atbut also to youth and adults throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia,” said Tuskegee University president, Gilbert L. Rochon. “He fought for freedom from tyranny internationally and for freedom from discrimination at home in America. His commitment to excellence and determination to succeed will set the standard for the next generations of Tuskegee Airmen.”
Carter also served as a professor of air science and commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 15 at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) from 1950 to 1955 and professor of aerospace studies from 1965 to 1969.
Carter earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955 and a master’s degree in education in 1969 from Tuskegee Institute. After his retirement from the United States Air Force, he served at Tuskegee as assistant dean for student services and associate dean for admissions and recruiting.
“Col. Carter has left a great legacy not only for Tuskegee University’s AFROTC detachment, but the United States Air Force. The Air Force’s core values of integrity first; service before self; and excellence in all we do are the values the Tuskegee Airmen portrayed in winning a victory against fascism abroad and racism at home,” said Kelly Primus, commander of the Tuskegee University Air Force ROTC.
Carter was one of several original Tuskegee Airmen who returned to Tuskegee University to celebrate the film premiere of “Red Tails” in January. Produced by George Lucas, the movie mogul behind “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” “Red Tails” portrayed the experience of the airmen during World War II. Primus said Carter remained a familiar figure on campus, even during his later years.
“He had spoken to our cadets numerous times about the Tuskegee Airmen’s plight and how they became the “best of the best.” He also reminded them that, as future officers, they must portray the core values and continue to keep airmen’s legacy alive,” Primus said.
Among Carter’s prestigious military decorations are: the Air Medal, four Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation, European Theater Medal, five Bronze Stars, National Defense Medal, one Bronze Star and the Air Force Longevity Award, five Oak Leaf Clusters.
On June 6, 2004, the president of the French Republic, Jacque Chirac, announced that Carter had been chosen for the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian award. The award was for “outstanding service rendered France during the second World War.”
In February, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, paid tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen during a visit to the university. He presented Carter with the Outstanding Leadership Award.
“Who will put their lives at risk? Who will work to help others? Col. Carter did that for his generation,” Dempsey said during the presentation.
Some of Carter’s professional affiliations include the Presidential Scholars Review Committee, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. He was a former member of the Board of Trustees of St. Andrews School (St. Andrews, Tenn.) Since 1984, Carter had served as a consultant for Student Recruitment and Admissions, College Board, Educational Testing Service. He also served as the president of the Tuskegee chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.
Carter was married for more than 60 years to Mildred L. Hemmons Carter, a pilot who was also counted among the Tuskegee Airmen. Mildred Carter died in October 2011.
In remembrance of Carter, the American flag near the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education will be lowered to half-mast.
His funeral was held today.
His funeral was held today.