FILM HONORS HISTORIC WILMINGTON TEN PARDONS - The North Carolina premiere of the documentary, "Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten" is set for Saturday, Feb. 15th at UNC - Wilmington in Wilmington, followed by a special panel discussion and gala banquet honoring former Gov. Beverly Perdue, who granted the pardons on Dec. 31st, 2012 after a strong coalition effort led by the Black Press [photo courtesy of Perdue Administration]
FEB. 15TH SET FOR “PARDONS OF
INNOCENCE” FILM PREMIERE, GALA
Special to The Carolinian
The world premiere of the National Newspaper Publishers Association – CashWorks HD Productions documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten,” has now been officially set for Saturday, Feb. 15th at UNC – Wilmington, in Wilmington, followed by gala banquet honoring former Gov. Beverly Perdue.
The day of special events is titled, “Black Press: Joining Together for a Better World,” and is presented by The Wilmington Journal, which has served Southeastern North Carolina’s African-American community for 87 years, and the NNPA.
The film screening is free and open to the public.
The documentary recounts the history surrounding the troubled desegregation of New Hanover County Public schools during the late 1960s thorough 1971, which evolved into the false prosecution of eight black male students, a white female community organizer, and a fiery civil rights activist, Rev. Benjamin Chavis, for protesting racial injustice.
Against the backdrop of the Wilmington 1898 race massacre and the forced desegregation of Southern schools in the 1960s, the documentary also traces how the Black Press, led initially by Wilmington Journal publisher Thomas C. Jervay, Sr., and over 40 years later by his daughter, publisher-editor Mary Alice Jervay Thatch through the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), ultimately pushed for, and achieved the official exoneration of the Wilmington Ten.
The documentary is set to be released on DVD for public schools - grades 9 through 12 (with academic guide); colleges and universities, and the general public.
The NNPA, also known as “The Black Press of America,” is a 74-year-old federation of more than 200 black community newspapers across the United States. In 2011, led by The Wilmington Journal, the NNPA, and NNPA Foundation led by Dorothy Leavell, publisher of Chicago Crusader, adopted seeking pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten as a project.
The film is written, produced and narrated by Cash Michaels, staff writer for The Wilmington Journal; and editor/chief reporter for The Carolinian Newspaper in Raleigh.
Following the documentary will be a question and answer session, then a blue ribbon panel discussion, “Civil Rights: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and the Role of the Black Press, Black Church and the Black Community.”
Among the confirmed panelists is the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., leader of the Wilmington Ten. George Curry, executive editor of the NNPA, will moderate.
Also to be discussed, “A Black Newspaper on Every Coffee Table.”
There will also be exhibits on display at UNC – Wilmington.
A special Black Tie Gala will be held later that evening in Daniels Hall at Cape Fear Community College honoring former Gov. Beverly Perdue - who granted pardons of innocence to the ten falsely convicted freedom fighters; NCNAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. William Barber – who helped to lead the public effort to pardon the Wilmington Ten; and others.
Rev. Chavis is the scheduled keynoter.
Among the scheduled performers is renowned spiritual vocalist Lynnette Barber of Lincoln Park Holiness Church in Raleigh, who sings the title song, “That Freedom” in “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten.”
Per-person tickets to the gala cost $100.00, with proceeds going to the nonprofit RS and TC Jervay Foundation, a 501 c (3). Donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Funds will be used for scholarships and research related to the history of African-Americans in southeastern North Carolina.
Corporations and community groups are invited to support this historic fundraising event through the purchase of sponsor packages, ranging from $1,500 to $50,000. Sponsor package benefits include hosted tables for your guests and recognition at the event, and in related advertising promotional materials.
The deadline for ads for the special souvenir program book is Feb. 7th.
For more information contact Shawn Thatch at The Wilmington Journal at email@example.com, or call 910-762-5502.
FRANKLIN E. MCCAIN
FRANKLIN MCCAIN OF “GREENSBORO
FOUR”, DIES AT AGE 73
By Cash Michaels
It took courage for young Franklin Eugene McCain, and his three student colleagues from North Carolina A & T State University, to walk into a segregated F. W. Woolworth store in downtown Greensboro on February 1, 1960, and demand service at the “Whites Only” section of the lunch counter.
They were repeatedly refused, even though they stayed until the store closed that night.
None of the four black young men knew what would happen next. Would they be beaten and arrested? Would their lives and futures be destroyed forever? Or, would their bold actions in the face of racial segregation make any difference?
The answer came the very next day, and for days, weeks, months and years to come. That singular, courageous act by Franklin McCain and the Greensboro Four reignited a stagnate civil rights movement in the 1960’s, inspiring black college students across the South to also band together, challenge segregation laws in their cities and states through similar sit-ins, and later that year, come to Raleigh to form the .
‘The best feeling in my life was sitting on that dumb stool,” McCain said in a 2010 interview upon the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in.
"I felt so relieved," he added. "I felt so at peace and so self-accepted at that very moment. Nothing has ever happened to me since then that topped that good feeling of being clean and fully accepted and feeling proud of me."
That’s why, when word came last week that McCain had died after a brief illness, the world took a moment to salute a true American hero.
He was 73.
“My brother is gone,” said Jibreel Khazan (formerly known as Ezell Blair, Jr.), one of the Greensboro Four.
A native of Union County, McCain attended Dudley High School in Greensboro, though he graduated elsewhere.
McCain graduated NC A&T State University in 1964, and went on to become a research chemist and sales executive, eventually moving his family to Charlotte. Throughout the years, he served on the board of NC A&T – becoming its chairman - and the UNC Board of Governors, and stayed involved in the civil rights struggle, working with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, among others.
McCain once said that he always felt that, for all that he’d done, he would look around him, and realize that he could do more.
His wife Bettye, a Bennett College alumnae, died a year ago.
“The Aggie family mourns the loss of Dr. Franklin McCain," A&T Chancellor Harold Martin said. "His contributions to this university, the city of Greensboro and the nation as a civil rights leader is without measure. His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of Aggies and friends throughout the world."
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a friend of McCain’s and fellow NC A&T alum, said, “His legacy as a freedom fighter will be forever etched in our history. Most people adjusted to their place on the back of the bus or the back door of the restaurant. Frank had a sense of non-negotiable dignity. He kept fighting back. And when the moment appeared, he was ready to take this giant step into history.”
In an interview for the upcoming documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten,” Joseph McNeil of Wilmington, who, along with Jibreel Khazan and David Richmond (who died in 1990) joined McCain in the 1960 Woolworth sit-in, said, “We learned an awful lot in a short period of time, and we became extraordinary citizens.”
McCain’s family remembered their loved one not only for his unique place in American history, but also, for what he meant to them.
“To the world, he was a civil rights pioneer who, along with his three classmates, dared to make a difference by starting the sit-in movement," McCain's family said in statement. "To us, he was 'Daddy' - a man who deeply loved his family and cherished his friends."
A memorial service was scheduled for this morning at 10 a.m. at NC A&T State University for Franklin McCain. His funeral service will be held Friday, 2 p.m., at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte. The family will greet the public during a viewing from 12 noon to 2 p.m..
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 1-16-14
DURHAM DA SAYS NO CHARGES IN TEEN POLICE SUICIDE
Durham District Attorney Leon Stanback says after careful review, and a report by the State Bureau of Investigation, he’s determined that there will be no criminal charges filed in the case of Jesus Huerta, a 17-year-old teen who allegedly shot himself to death while reportedly handcuffed in a police car on Nov. 19th. But there are still questions that need answers, Huerta’s family maintains. A police report released last week notes that the arresting officer did not do a full pat down of the youth when he was picked that night, and there’s confusion over whether it was transmitted to the officer that Huerta may have been suicidal. The family is asking for a federal investigation.
OUSTED CHAIRMAN SUTTON GETS PLAQUE FROM WAKE SCHOOL BOARD
A month after seven member of the Wake School Board voted to oust him as chairman, the board last week, in an apparent gesture of no hard feelings, gave District 4 board member Keith Sutton a plaque, formally thanking him for his yearlong leadership amid tough issues like hiring a new superintendent and getting the $810 million school construction bond passed. Ironically, according to board member Jim Martin, it was Sutton’s “style of leadership” during the past year which warranted his ouster, which Martin voted to do.
WAKE COMMISSIONERS TAUNT WAKE SCHOOL BOARD
The new leaders of the Republican-led Wake County Commissioners have made it clear that they aren’t releasing any of the $810 million school construction bond funding until they get satisfactory proof that the Wake School Board will spend it properly. Already, four new schools under design have been delayed as a result, and may not open in time for the 2015-2016 school year, school leaders say. The delay could also throw a monkey wrench into a new three-year student assignment plan, which is dependent on the new proposed schools opening on time. Wake School Board Chairwoman Christine Kushner says the two boards need to meet to resolve their differences.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS 1-16-14
OBAMA TAPS NC STATE TO LEAD TECH INNOVATION GROUP
[RALEIGH] Pres. Barack Obama came to NC State University Wednesday to announce that the school will lead a group of six universities – including UNC at Chapel Hill – and 18 private technology companies, in developing the “Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute,” a new economic development initiative to help manufacturing innovation create new industries and next generation technologies. The president called for such an effort in his State of the Union address last year. The effort will receive $70 million from the US Dept. of Energy over the next five years.
MCCRORY FIRM ON HOLDING 12TH DISTRICT ELECTION IN NOVEMBER
[CHARLOTTE] Despite a threatened lawsuit from the NCNAACP, Gov. Pat McCrory maintains that no special election for the vacated seat of former 12th District Congressman Mel Watt will be held before the coming November elections. McCrory, who served as mayor for Charlotte for over ten years, says it would be too costly, and not allow voters enough time to learn about the candidates if a special election were held any sooner. However the NCNAACP counters that because of McCrory’s decision, over 700,000 constituents in the 12th Congressional District will be without representation for the next ten months. “This is taxation without representation,” Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, told reporters Tuesday. Barber said the civil rights group may very well take the governor to court over the matter. A spokesman of McCrory called Barber’s threat “litigation games.”
DHHS SEC. WOS APOLOGIES, BUT STILL BLAMES OBAMA
[RALEIGH] With pressure mounting for her to leave office, Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos “deeply” apologized Tuesday to a legislative committee for almost 49,000 Medicaid cards being sent to the wrong addresses, this violating federal privacy laws. She said the mistake was due to human error. However, Wos expressed no such sentiment regarding a prolonged delay in processing thousands of food stamp applications, something the US Dept. of Agriculture has since warned DHHS could result in a stoppage of federal funding. Wos said a change in Obama Administration requirements was the reason for the delay, even though no other state has experienced a similar situation. Members of the NC Black Legislative Caucus held simultaneous press conferences last week calling for Gov. McCrory to remove Sec. Wos because of the many problems that have cropped up at DHHS under her watch.
BATTLE TO SAVE RACIAL JUSTICE
ACT IN NC SUPREME COURT
Special to The Carolinian
Raleigh, NC - Three inmates who were removed from North Carolina’s death row after proving that African-Americans were systematically excluded from their juries are preparing to have their cases heard by the state Supreme Court.In addition to legal briefs filed Monday by the defendants, two outside groups also filed amicus briefs asking the court to uphold the rulings in the cases of Tilmon Golphin, Quintel Augustine and Christina Walters, who were resentenced to life in prison without parole in 2012 under the N.C. Racial Justice Act. After the Supreme Court has received briefs from both sides, it will set a date for oral arguments in the case.The Racial Justice Act, a groundbreaking law that was intended to root out racial bias in capital sentencing, has since been repealed by the N.C. General Assembly. However, the cases filed under the law are still under consideration by the courts.“The cases that were heard under the Racial Justice Act uncovered extremely convincing evidence that African-Americans across North Carolina are being denied their right to jury service in capital trials,” said NC Central University School of Law Professor Irving Joyner, who signed one of the amicus briefs on behalf of the North Carolina NAACP, along with Professor Theresa Newman of Duke University School of Law. “That kind of discrimination prejudices the outcomes of life-and-death trials and compromises the integrity of our justice system. This important evidence cannot be ignored by the courts, regardless of whether the law has been repealed.”Since the state appealed the 2012 rulings that removed four inmates from death row — Golphin, Augustine, Walters, and Marcus Robinson, whose case is being heard separately — outside groups have filed more than a half dozen briefs urging the Supreme Court to affirm the initial rulings. No outside groups have filed briefs in support of the state’s appeal.One of the briefs filed Monday came from six retired judges, including two former chief justices of the Supreme Court. They argued that the Racial Justice Act provides key protections against racial discrimination, which are not provided by any other state or federal law currently on the books. This marks the first time that judges have filed a brief on a plaintiff’s behalf in a capital case. The signers include Retired Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of North Carolina James G. Exum, Jr. and Henry E. Frye, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina Willis P. Whichard, and retired North Carolina Superior Court Judges Melzer A. Morgan, Jr., Wade Barber, Jr., and Russell G. Walker, Jr.The other brief was authored by the NC NAACP. It pointed to the parallels between the RJA cases and the case of the Wilmington 10, whose members received a pardon of innocence from outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue last year because of evidence that blacks were intentionally excluded from their jury. Professor Joyner, who signed the brief, is one of the lawyers for the Wilmington 10.The prosecutor’s notes from the 1971 Wilmington 10 trial, where the defendants were wrongly convicted of fire-bombing a grocery store, showed that the prosecutor feigned illness to cause a mistrial after a mostly black jury was selected. At the second trial, where he secured a mostly white jury, the prosecutor noted members of the jury panel who were believed to be Ku Klux Klan members and labeled them “good.”Very similar evidence was uncovered in the three RJA cases. A Cumberland County prosecutor’s hand-written notes in Augustine’s case showed that race played a key role in jury selection. The prosecutor noted that one juror was a “black wino” and that another came from a “black, high-drug neighborhood.”The RJA defendants also produced evidence of trainings sponsored by the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, where prosecutors were trained in fabricating legally acceptable ways to exclude African Americans from juries.“The evidence of a racist jury selection process is just as egregious in these cases as it was in the Wilmington 10 case,” Joyner said. “What the court has to decide is whether the state of North Carolina feels it’s acceptable to execute people who have been tried by a racially biased system.”
CASH IN THE APPLE – 01-16-14
By Cash Michaels
WE’VE GOT TO DO BETTER – With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s January 15th birthday this week, and his national holiday being celebrated next year, the argument can be made…IN the black community, that we have to do a better job of teaching our children who Dr. King was, and what his legacy, and holiday, really mean.
And exactly what’s the reason for this? Namely the plethora of online advertising by so-called “entertainment” promotion companies promoting clubs and parties for young people to go to during the three-day King holiday weekend.
Many of these ads feature pictures of Dr. King mixed with scantily-clad black women, and gangsta-type or pimp-looking thugs with big gold chains around their necks, ready to “throwdown.”
One particularly offensive and I saws has Dr. King’s head photoshopped onto the body of a thug with gold chains and black rags, giving a gang sign of some sort. And of course, the sexy black girls were right there for “King-ski” to enjoy.
The message of this disgraceful display strongly implied, “If Dr. King were here, he’d be partying with us this weekend!”
Man, have we’ve gone wrong!
I’m not equating Our Lord Jesus Christ with Dr. King, but if any of us saw this kind of ad/flyer promoting a black youth Christmas party, we’d be beyond up-in-arms.
It’s as simple as we obviously haven’t taught this current generation how to properly respect those who deserve it the most, and the truth of the matter is, this could be easily predicted. The moment we allowed the recording industry and Black Entertainment Television to freely refer to our women as “B’s” and “hoes,” and portray our young black boys as oversexed violent animals who know little the value of work and devotion, we HAD to know foolishness like this was coming.
Then there another outrageous ad/flyer that shows Dr. King with a crown on his head, along with tons of gold chains, smiling while a bevy of black beauties stand around, again, talking about some big King weekend party at some club.
Stuff makes you want to throw up!
Maybe I’m too sensitive to this because I’m still editing together the NNPA – CashWorks HD Productions documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten,” scheduled to make it’s North Carolina premiere Saturday, Feb. 15th at UNC-Wilmington in Wilmington (more details to come).
In the now legend 1971 story of how determined black high school students in Wilmington boycotted their hostile predominately-white schools demanding equal rights and treatment, they held firm to the principles of Dr. King, who had been assassinated just three short years earlier. They had so much respect for the man, and what he died for, that they held to his nonviolent principles, using weapons only to protect themselves from attack by rabid white supremacists who had been shooting at them in a church.
We’re doing this film especially for young people because we want them to learn from the example of Connie Tindall, Wayne Moore, William Joseph Wright, Jerry Jacobs, Willie Earl Vereen, James “Bun” McCoy, Marvin “Chili” Patrick, Reginald Epps, Anne Sheppard, and certainly the Rev. Benjamin Chavis – otherwise known as the Wilmington Ten.
Do young people act the fool? Of course, and there’s not one “saintly” adult reading this column and black newspaper that didn’t when they were younger. But we were taught who deserved respect, and our elders insisted we give it when deserved.
Apparently we’ve forgotten that lesson as we’ve grown, and have failed massively to pass it on to our children, and youth generation.
We have to do a better job of bringing our young people back top the values that have gotten us this far. Disrespecting ourselves, and disrespecting the courageous people who got us here through great sacrifice, is a sure way of condemning our people and community for lifetimes to come.
Surely, we can do better, and we must!
PARDONS OF INNOCENCE: THE WILMINGTON TEN – Exactly one week from now, on Thursday, Jan. 23rd, we will be in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the world premiere of the NNPA – CashWorks HD Productions documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten.”
Why San Juan? Because the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the sponsor for the film, is having its mid-winter conference there this year. It will be shown during dinner on Thursday, Jan. 23rd, with a Q and A afterwards.
So am I excited? Well of course. I just have so much work to do beforehand, that I don’t have time to really react until after the screening is over.
So when does North Carolina finally see the film?
The North Carolina premiere will be on Saturday, Feb. 15th at UNC-Wilmington, and it will be free and open to the public. There will be a Q and A afterwards, a panel discussion featuring the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, leader of the Wilmington Ten, and others, and more.
Then, that same evening at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, there will be banquet honoring former Gov. Beverly Perdue and others who took part in the Wilmington Ten saga. The tickets go on sale this week, and they’re $100.00-per-person.
Contact The Wilmington Journal at 910-762-5502, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This IS a once-in-a lifetime event, so make sure you get your tickets NOW!
We’ll keep you updated on events leading up to the Feb. 15th premiere.
Wish us well!
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 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.
And coming in February 2014, the NNPA-CashWorks HD Productions documentary presentation of, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten.”
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.