Monday, June 30, 2014



By Cash Michaels

GRADUATION – Because my youngest daughter, KaLa, attends year-round school, she’s on a different schedule than traditional calendar students. Thus, while other kids are deep into their summer vacations after leaving school over a month ago, KaLa just graduated the fifth grade last Friday, and is involved in one week of summer camp before starting her middle school career next Monday.
This kind of dramatic change in your child’s academic life makes you realize just how fast the pages of the calendar are turning.
It was just the other day, it seems, when you drove your little one to her first day of kindergarten classes six years ago. And as you drove in, the both of you looked at all of those big fifth graders outside, and wondered what the future held.
Last Friday during KaLa’s graduation was that “future,” and it was a proud moment. Not only was my youngest (can’t call her ‘little one” anymore) chosen to sing the National Anthem, but beyond her certificate, KaLa also received two additional honors – one for being the Spelling Been champ of the fifth grade (no small feat), and another for her artistic excellence.
My daughter has gotten a good education for the past six years, and that education has established a firm foundation for her to go to the next level with confidence, and discipline. Her middle school already knows that the child who starts sixth grade there next week is indeed a gifted student who indeed takes on academic challenges with rigor.
And that’s why I’m so very proud of KaLa, and will never stop being proud of her as she continues to grow, learn and challenge herself.
To me, this is what being a parent is all about. Putting your child in position, with all of the tools needed, to take the world on, and grow from it every day. Of course there will be mistakes made on all sides. But the exciting part is turning those mistakes into opportunities for further learning, and growing.
So right now, I feel very at ease with the direction in which my young one is going. Both her mother and I are making sure that KaLa has everything she needs to succeed. My job is to ensure that KaLa knows her father is always there to guide and strengthen her, and to remind her that every success she has in life is GOD’s will because she worked hard for it. That’s the lesson I’ve been drumming into her head every day, and will continue to do so until I know that it will never leave her.
Being a good father is more important to me than being a good journalist, or filmmaker, or social commentator, because my children are my ultimate contribution towards making this a better world.
And if that be the case, then I want to give this world my best.
That’s why I so proud of KaLa, and her older sister Tiffany (who is doing great things in New York City).
Thank you, Jesus.
THE OBAMA DOCTRINE – It has been the worst kept secret in the world that any hope that Pres. Obama has of getting any meaningful legislation through Congress stands a snowball’s chance in Hell. As long a Republicans remain in charge of the US House of Representatives, we all know that they show up everyday for one thing, and one thing only – and that’s to stop the president from doing anything meaningful for as long as he is in office. And if the GOP takes over the US Senate after this fall’s mid-term elections, the Obama might as well go fishin’ for the remainder of his second term in office, ‘cause ain’t nothin’ goin’ to get done.
But stopping the nation’s first black president by routinely throwing his proposals in the trash heap apparently isn’t enough for the Republicans in Congress. Now, according to House Speaker John “Orangeman” Boehner, the very fact that Pres. Obama has the power to open and close doors by himself is enough, to take him to court, and sue him.
That’s right. The president of the United States, by virtue of the US Constitution, has powers to get certain things done that apparently Republicans prefer he not have, and thus, Boehner has announced that he plans to file a lawsuit against Pres. Obama, under the premise that he is not “carrying out the laws of the United States of America.”
So, to be clear, if the president decides not to sit on his hands and wait for Boehner and company to pass immigration reform, and instead move forward, as he announced on Monday, to try to make a difference to the extent in which his power as president allows, then that is not something that Congress can allow.
Mind you, a majority of the American people elected Barack Obama twice to carry out an agenda they apparently have little problem with. And yes, it’s also true that some of the American people elected congressmen and senators to representing an opposing view. Some even elected folks to Congress to stop Obama.
That’s our electoral system.
But none of that means when you don’t get your way, you start filling up the courtroom with frivelous election year lawsuits designed to show your racist constituency that you hate Obama as much as they do.
And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Keep in mind that many of these folks are even talking about impeaching the president, in effect putting him on public trial in an effort to remove him from office.
There is a school of thought that Speaker Boehner is floating this Obama lawsuit jive in an effort to take such talk off the table so that Democrats don’t get so annoyed that they show up in record numbers, just like they did in the late 990s when the GOP went after then Pres. Bill Clinton.
We thought folks had lost their minds then. But what’s happening now with the Tea Party, and voter suppression, the poor just being kicked to the curb, is extraordinary.
So I don’t know what the next shoe to drop will be, but I do know that the president of the United States has every right to stand up, tell the Republicans in Congress to kiss his backside, and do everything that he can do with the power of his office to make a positive difference in the lives of all Americans.
HAPPY 25TH – It is, without question, one of the greatest films in American history, and this week, its celebrating its 25th anniversary. Director Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” had special screenings in New York and Los Angeles recently, and even Pres. Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sent a video shout out congratulating Spike. They reminded all that “Do the Right Thing” was the film they saw on their very first date together in Chicago.
I shared the film with my youngest, KaLa, recently, not only because I wanted her to see a great black film, but also because I wanted her to get a taste of living in Brooklyn, NY was like.
She was impressed.
Happy 25th anniversary to director Spike Lee and “Do the Right Thing.”
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 blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (
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.

NEW NNPA PRESIDENT TAKES HELM - No sooner than the National Newspaper Publishers Association elected Dr. Benjamin Chavis (second from left) their new president/CEO during their conference in Portland, Oregon last week, did he get right to work. Dr. Chavis is seen here honoring former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, with NNPA Editor George Curry (left) and NNPA Chairman Cloves Campbell. [photo courtesy of NNPA]


            Last year, under allegations of corruption, the Raleigh City Council stopped funding the Raleigh Business and Technology Center in southeast Raleigh, a small business incubator that many said was making a difference. This week, the Council revisited the project, asking for nonprofit groups to submit proposals to start again with a new model to help new businesses. But Southeast Raleigh community leaders are concerned that helping small startup black businesses will no longer be the focus under new leadership. However, some of the possibilities for the incubator include expanding the space; developing a partnership with Shaw University; and helping new businesses launch crowdfunding campaigns. The council will solicit groups to submit their proposals soon.

            A winding, and some say dangerous part of Tryon Road in southeast Raleigh which connects with South Wilmington Street will finally be fixed, according to the NC Dept. of Transportation. Road work to widen and realign that portion, but also repair the crumbling 77-year-old bridge that runs over the Norfolk-Southern Railway on that same stretch will also begin starting this September, and ending in May 2017. NCDOT awarded a $7.8 million contract to a Wilson-based company to do the work.

            Amid charges that several UNC athletes could barely read, and a lawsuit by a former UNC student advisor who made the explosive allegations, the NCAA this week informed the university that it is reopening its 2011 investigation into allegations of academic irregularities with student athletes. UNC was reportedly told, “"NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff." The latest charges by a former player alleged that UNC TarHeel Basketball coach Roy Williams knew that some of his black players were enrolled in phony courses just so that they could remain with the team. Williams has denied those allegations.



            [WILMINGTON] At presstime Wednesday, forecasters were keeping a very close watch on Tropical Storm Arthur along the east coast of the United States, which is expected to become a hurricane as it travels near North Carolina. Current projections have "Hurricane" Arthur coming near the North Carolina coast as a Category 1 by Thursday afternoon - Friday morning with 80 mph winds. The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for the entire North Carolina coast. A hurricane watch has been issued for the Outer Banks and Cape Lookout areas.  Coastal towns are preparing for the worst, hoping that they’ll be able to salvage some of the July 4th holiday weekend. Evacuation directives may be forthcoming for Dare and Hyde counties.

            [WILMINGTON] Now folks and families in Wilmington and Charlotte have a direct connection without driving the miles. A new bus route by Horizon Coach Lines from Wave Transit’s Forden Station on Cando street has buses seven days a week leaving Wilmington at 7:20 a.m., arriving in Charlotte by 1:20 p.m., and a return bus leaving the Queen City at 3:45 p.m., and arriving in Wilmington by 9:50 p.m. that same evening. There are stops in Whiteville, Lumberton and Fayetteville along the way.

            A third health insurance carrier will serve North Carolina’s market via the federal exchange under the Affordable Care Act starting in 2015. UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, submitted an application to the NC Dept. of Insurance last week to sell federally subsidized coverage in direct competition with Blue Cross – Blue Shield, the state’s largest carrier, and Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas. All three insurers have filed for rate hikes, which won’t be revealed until November. Over 357,000 North Carolinians are covered under the ACA thus far.


By Cash Michaels

            Despite a Democrat-sponsored bill filed a month ago, and a recent call by the NCNAACP to do so, both Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly are refusing to extend the filing period for alleged victims of the state’s forced sterilization program beyond the deadline which ended Monday June 30th.
            “This claim is another example of Rev. Barber seeking to make a last-minute political statement instead of assisting some of the very people he is charged to help,” said McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis, in reference to the written call by NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber to extend the deadline for another year. “Further delay of the June 30 deadline will force eugenics victims to wait longer to receive this long-overdue compensation while many victims are dying every year. The governor is proud to be from the first state in the nation that will address the injustice that was committed against eugenics victims.”
A spokesperson for NC House Speaker Thom Ellis echoed the refusal.
“Extending the deadline would delay the payment to some qualified recipients. The bi-partisan House budget passed earlier this month would actually accelerate the first payment date and extending the deadline would jeopardize that effort. The Office of Justice for Sterilization Victims has actively sent a thousand direct mail pieces, made hundreds phone calls and partnered with other agencies to attempt to reach as many victims as possible. It’s time for the qualified recipients to receive their compensation.”
From the 1930’s until the late 1970’s, poor black and white women who were considered mentally unstable, or sexually promiscuous were targeted by the state for sterilization. It wasn’t until 2003 when the story was uncovered, that North Carolina formally apologized, and removed the authorizing law off the books.
            However, no program for compensating the victims came about until Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue championed the cause during her 2009 administration, and the NC General Assembly finally passed legislation establishing a $10 million fund for compensation in 2013.
            Thus far, of the 1800 eugenics survivors believed to still be alive, only over 600 have made application for compensation.
According to Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, the state hasn’t done enough in trying to reach all of the survivors since the compensation program began in earnest last November. He says the deadline should be extended for another year.
A Democrat-sponsored bill to extend the deadline for another three months, has been buried in the House Rules Committee for the past month.
Barber decried what he believed to be political recalcitrance.
“As of the middle of June, less than 600 of the estimated 1,800 victims have applied for their compensation,” Rev. Barber wrote in a letter this week to Gov. McCrory, Speaker Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger. “Close observers believe the state has failed to launch a broad outreach campaign to locate eligible North Carolinians, many of whom the state labeled as mentally defective as the reason for sterilizing them.”
“Those familiar with the victims of the program were all concerned about how to reach people and how to help them fill out all the forms necessary to receive their compensation,” Rev. Barber continued. “There is no master list of victims. Many of the state's records are incomplete. Many of the victims lacked Social Security numbers in their early teens, when the majority were sterilized, and the addresses in the records are 40-50 years old. People have moved, married, and changed their names. Many are poor and without ready access to legal advice. Some are functionally illiterate.”
"These victims were targeted by the zealous eugenics program in the first place because they were marginalized, poor and without a voice, and now there has been little to no effort or resources from the state to locate these people and help them prepare their applications," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the NC NAACP. "This state has a moral responsibility to find these men and women. Its responsibility did not end with setting aside money for victims to apply for. We call on our state lawmakers to extend this deadline by a year until June 30, 2015 and to commit additional energy and resources to an aggressive outreach campaign in the media and at the grassroots level. Let the state be as zealous locating the between two and four thousand victims and their heirs as it was when it tracked them down in their early teens, convinced the eugenics board they were defective people and then removed their reproductive organs. The extension will not significantly delay payments, since according to the present law no one receives payment until July 2015.”
Rev. Barber continued, “The NC NAACP with our over 200 coalition partners addressed the issue of wrongful sterilization with the adoption of the coalition's 14-point agenda in 2007. Since that time, obtaining compensation for the victims of the forcible sterilization program has been a mainstay of our agenda. Ten years have passed since the state offered a formal apology to victims of the involuntary sterilizations in 2003. These victims have suffered for years, in some cases enduring immense physical and psychological trauma. Compensation will not make these victims whole. But it is a sign that the State of North Carolina wishes to repair the injuries it caused some of her citizens."

Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964.

By Cash Michaels

            Fifty years ago this week, on July 2nd, 1964, Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson, with civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. looking on, signed the historic Civil Rights Act into law.
            The federal law would dramatically give African-Americans the right to full citizenship, striking down segregation and racial bias in public accommodations, voter registration, and employment, among other areas. As a result, the quality of life for African-Americans vastly improved in the 50 years hence.
            And yet there are those who suggest that while progress has indeed been made, a closer look reveals that more could have been accomplished.
            A just published numerical comparison of various racial categories released by the US Census Bureau, using the most recent data available, illustrates in stark figures what the Civil Rights Act has, and has not accomplished for black Americans.
            In 1964, African-Americans comprised 10.8 percent, or approximately 20.7 million of the United States population.
            In 2013, blacks made up 13.2 percent, or 41.6 million of the total estimated American population.

            In 1960, 59.9 percent of the US black population lived in the South.
            In 2010, that figure dropped to 56.5 percent, though the South still retains the largest concentration of African-Americans anywhere in the nation.

                                               SCHOOL ENROLLMENT
            In 1964, there were 4.6 million African-American children enrolled in elementary school, with an additional 312,000 enrolled in kindergarten. 1.6 million were signed up for high school, and 306,000 were attending college.
            In 2012, 4.9 million black school children were enrolled in elementary school, in addition to 646,000 in kindergarten; 2.7 million in high school (a 41.7 percent increase since 1964); and 3 million enrolled in college.

                                              HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES
            In 1964, 25.7 percent of African-Americans (roughly 2.4 million), age 25 and over, completed at least four years of high school.
            In 2012, those numbers were dramatically improved, as 85 percent (20.3 million) of blacks age 25 and over, earned at least a high school diploma.

                                                COLLEGE GRADUATES
            In 1964, only 3.9 percent, just 365,000 blacks age 25 and over, completed at least four years of college and earned a bachelor’s degree.
            In 2012, 21.2 percent of African-Americans age 25 and over (5.1 million), completed at least four years of college and walked the stage with a bachelor’s degree.

                                                MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME
            In 1964, $24,840 (in 2012 dollars) was the median family income for blacks, with $27,403 and $17,235 9in 2012 dollars) the median income for black men and black women respectively who worked full-time year-round.
            In 2012, the median family income for the single-race black US population was $40,517. Median income for black men was $39,816, and for black women, $35, 090.

            In 1966, the national poverty rate among all races was 14.7 percent. In the black community nationally, it was 41.8 percent.
            In 2012, with a national overall poverty rate of 15 percent, the rate among blacks was 27.2 percent. 

            In 1964, while 69.3 percent of the total US population 18 and older voted in that year’s presidential election, 58.5 percent of the total black population 18 and older actually cast a ballot for president.
            In 2012, 56.5 percent of the total US population 18 and older voted for president. Of blacks 18 and older, 62.0 percent went to the polls that year.


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