Tuesday, September 16, 2014






By Cash Michaels

            Earlier this week, Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis was all smiles as he campaigned in downtown Wilmington with controversial New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
            And yet, when Tillis had the opportunity during the 2007 session of the NC General Assembly to have the state of North Carolina express “...profound regret that
violence, intimidation, and force were used to replace a duly elected local government….” during the 1898 Wilmington massacre, he voted no.
            That was the reporting this week from the political online magazine, Mother Jones, which broke the explosive story during the 2012 presidential elections that GOP candidate Mitt Romney, seen on a surreptitious videotape speaking to potential donors, referred to poor people as “…the 47 percent who will vote for [Pres. Obama] no matter what…” because they would get things and not pay taxes.
            Romney lost the presidency decisively, observers say, as a result.
            In the case of Rep. Thom Tillis, Mother Jones reporter Tim Murphy writes, it’s Tillis own written words, in addition to his voting record, that are the smoking guns here.
            In 2007, after several years of research and public hearings, the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission, led by then Wilmington Rep. Thomas Wright and state Sen. Luther Jordan, and co-chaired by State Sen. Julia Boseman and Sen. Jordan, released a scathing report detailing how white supremacist Democrats in the state plotted and executed a planned bloody takeover of Wilmington City government.
            The supremacists were outraged that blacks were making significant progress in the port city in the areas of business, politics and culture shortly after Reconstruction, and they wanted to put a stop to it. The supremacists used an editorial defending black men who dated white women, published in the Daily Record, a black newspaper, as their reason for a violent massacre where an untold number of blacks were killed or forced to flee for their lives.
            History records that neither the state nor federal governments did anything to intercede.
            The Wilmington 1898 race massacre changed the course of North Carolina history, ushering in Jim Crow and almost a century of racist policies that crippled Wilmington’s African-American community for generations.
            In 2002, Rep. Wright and Sen. Jordan got the NC General Assembly to establish the commission to investigate what happen, and then acknowledge the findings through a series of measures, including an apology.
            In 2007, after the commission published its report, a bill was sponsored to indeed have the General Assembly apologize, on behalf of the state, for the incidents of 1898.
            A first-term Republican lawmaker from Mecklenburg County during the 2007 session, Tillis voted against the House version of the bill, and then voted again against the final version of the bill after the state Senate had ratified its version.
            The state Senate version, ironically, was co-sponsored by then state Sen. Kay Hagan, who is now running for re-election as a US senator against Tillis, who is challenging her for her seat.
            According to Mother Jones, in a message to constituents, Tillis wrote, “It is time to move on. In supporting the apology for slavery, most members felt it was an opportunity to recognize a past wrong and move on to pressing matters facing our state. HB 751 and others in the pipeline are redundant and they are consuming time and attention that should be dedicated to addressing education, transportation and immigration problems plaguing this state.”
            Tillis offered another, more blunt reason for opposing the 1898 apology measure, Mother Jones reported.
            Not all whites had participated in the riots,” the online mag stated. “So Tillis pushed for an amendment introduced by a fellow state representative that would have added language to the bill commemorating the heroic white Republican lawmakers who had opposed the violence. "The proposed amendment would have acknowledged the historical fact that the white Republican government joined with black citizens to oppose the rioters," he argued. The amendment failed, and Tillis ended up voting no on the final version.
            “This is yet another example of Speaker Tillis’ wrong priorities,” wrote Justin Myers, deputy Hagan campaign manager.
            This is just the latest log on the ever-growing fire of controversy concerning Thom Tillis and race. He’s still recovering from his “divide and conquer” remark concerning having disabled recipients of government aid to “look down’ on those he says are lazy and don’t deserve it.
            He’s also had to deal with the fallout from remarks he made during a 2012 TV show where he said, referring to white voters in the state, “"We need a focus on limited government and free markets, which is something that's appealing to everybody. That kind of work will position us for those growing sectors. The traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable. It's not growing. The African-American population is roughly growing but the Hispanic population and the other immigrant populations are growing in significant numbers. We've got to resonate with those future voters."
            Why blacks were not part of North Carolina’s “traditional” population in Tillis’ mind was something his campaign has yet to answer.
            And the NC House Speaker is also notorious for his marshaling in perhaps the most severe voting law restrictions in the nation that many charged are designed to suppress the ballots of traditional black and young voters. Tillis is also blamed for leading the state Legislature in not extending Medicaid to over 500,000 North Carolinians, and denying over 170,000 of the state’s unemployed jobless benefits.


                                                               LENNON LEE LACY

By Cash Michaels
Sept. 18, 2014

            About three weeks ago, the body of 17-year-old Lennon L. Lacy was found in a Bladen County mobile home park. Area media reports about the incident have all said the same thing – that the Bladenboro Police Dept. and State Bureau of Investigation have not released details of young Lacy’s death, and that the investigation is ongoing.
            But Lacy’s mother has told The Carolinian exclusively that her son was found hung, and she’s frustrated that authorities, as of yet, have not told her why.
            “What hurts me [most] is not knowing,” she told The Carolinian during a telephone interview last week, indicating that she was not pleased with how the case was being handled.
            “I just want to get to the bottom of it.”
            According to Ms. Lacy, on Friday, August 29th, the local police chief came to her home, “ …and informed me that I needed to follow him to the crime scene. At that point they told me that one of the neighbors found [Lennon] hanging, which she thought was someone standing. As she approached, she saw he was hanging. She cut him down, and tried administering CPR or whatever to revive him, but she was unsuccessful. She called the police dept.”
            Press reports only said that the body was found near playground equipment. News footage showed a wooden swing set where the family had laid a tribute underneath to Lennon.
            Ms. Lacy says the body was discovered between 7 and 8 a.m. that morning. She says she wasn't informed by Bladenboro police until 1 p.m. that afternoon.
            Claudia Lacy says Lennon was at home the night before, but left to go out. She says his friends have told the family that Lennon visited a girl he was dating, then walked over to a friend’s house to talk. Lennon was last seen between 1-1:30 a.m. that night.
            She says her family put what they were told in a statement, and submitted it to the Bladenboro Police Dept. and State Bureau of Investigation for them to follow-up.
            Claudia Lacy says authorities told her that Lennon was hung with “a nylon rope-type material.” But she says the SBI also told her something else that she and her family find very hard to believe.
            She says that on Sept. 2nd, they told her Lennon’s death looked like a suicide, and that a preliminary autopsy had been performed, but not completed.
            Candace Lacy, Lennon’s cousin, confirmed that he had been found hung, and expressed concern that authorities had not released that information to the public. She said it was if  “they were covering up something.”
            Candace Lacy says at the funeral wake, Lennon’s body was “really swollen…he didn’t look like himself at all.”
            She added that there were “bruises on his arm” and “a few scratches on his face.”
            Neither Candace Lacy nor his mother believe that Lennon killed himself.
            Based on comments posted on a “R.I.P. Lennon Lacy” Facebook page, many of the young man’s friends, apparently unaware of his mother’s statement to The Carolinian, also believe that he may have been murdered.
            “Finding justice for Lennon Lacy and being there for his family and just being there for each other and remember Lennon was a good friend/brother/cousin/nephew/uncle or teammate,” is the Facebook public group description on the page, which at press time lists 411 members.
            Indeed, the gravesite has already been vandalized, Claudia Lacy told The Carolinian, confirming in the minds of many that someone meant her son harm.
            Lennon Lee Lacy, 17, was one of the youngest of four sons to Claudia Lacy and Larry Walton, according to public records. The family lives in Bladenboro. Lennon, a junior, attended West Bladen High School, and played on the football team there as a linebacker.
            He would have graduated in 2016.
By all accounts, Lennon was well liked and respected, both as a student and as a member of the close-knit team, for his hard-work ethic.
            So close-knit, in fact, that on the day Lennon was found dead, the team met and decided to still play the scheduled football game that evening, but play it in his honor.
            On Sept. 3rd, a candlelight vigil was held for Lennon by his family and friends at the area where his body was reported found.
            One of his older brothers, Pierre Lacy, told WECT-TV that “…he is at peace knowing that [Lennon] knew he loved him.”
            “The last thing I was able to tell him was that I loved him,” Pierre told WECT-TV. “He knew.”
            “He made me proud to be his mom, “ Claudia Lacy added.
            Since Lennon’s death, his friends and schoolmates have been selling “Winnin4Lennon” wristbands to help offset the costs of his funeral, which was held Sept. 3rd.
            Attorney Allen Rogers of Fayetteville represents the Lacy family. He told The Carolinian Tuesday that even though the funeral was held Sept. 3rd, he “…was not certain as to whether or not a death certificate has been issued” for Lennon.
            A toxicology report usually takes weeks after an autopsy is performed, which may be a factor in the delay.
            Rogers did say that in his conversations with the SBI, “…they have been hesitant to state what the cause of death was
            The Carolinian called and left word for Bladenboro Police Chief Chris Hunt last week, but had not heard back from him at press time. According to the Sept. 12th edition of The Robesonian Newspaper online, Chief Hunt was quoted as telling the paper, “I can’t really say anything, but it’s an ongoing investigation. We are awaiting the final results of the autopsy and, when they are made available, the information will be turned over to District Attorney Jon David’s office.”
            Chief Hunt would not confirm the cause of Lacy’s death to The Robesonian, saying that, “There are a lot of rumors out there, and 99.9 percent of them are false.”
            The paper also reported that an SBI spokesperson “…confirmed that the agency’s Southeastern District is investigating the death, but declined to release further details.”
            The case may get national attention shortly. A New York-based reporter for the British newspaper, The Guardian, posted on the Lennon Lacy tribute Facebook page that he wanted those who knew the young man to contact him in New York.


            There will be a special meeting about the future of the Raleigh Business and Technology Center tonight, Sept. 18th, 6 p.m. at Chavis Park Community Center. The meeting is sponsored by the City of Raleigh. This meeting gives Southeast Raleigh community residents a chance to give their input on why the RBTC is still an important tool towards helping to build small businesses in the area. This meeting is free and open to the public.

            Tickets are now available to attend Saint Augustine’s University historical fundraiser on Saturday, September 20 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. This very special fundraising event will showcase the rich legacy and highlight the contributions of Saint Augustine’s University locally, nationally and internationally. Entertainment will be provided by vocalist Barbara Weathers, former member of the 1990’s group, Atlantic Starr. Another highlight of the event will be a live auction of a Mercedes SUV. Also, the University will honor legendary Coach George “Pup” Williams.

            The U.S. Department of Education has announced a grant award of more than $9 million to expand and revise magnet school themes in the Wake County Public School System. The Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) award will provide funding over the next three years to support three new magnet school themes. It also will support revisions to two existing magnet themes.  WCPSS enjoys a robust, national award-winning magnet school program, operating in more than 35 schools across Wake County. WCPSS has received $36 million from previous Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant awards, prior to this award. 



            [RALEIGH] The NCNAACP filed a complaint with the NC Board of Elections this week alleging that State Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger is misleading citizens to believe that voter photo identification is required for voting this year, when in fact, they are not required by law until 2016. Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, and leader of the Moral Monday movement, told reporters that Berger is airing a misleading television campaign that he wants removed immediately. Barber also said that he wants a criminal prosecution if warranted.
            A spokesman for the Berger re-election campaign blasted Rev. Barber and the NCNAACP, claiming that voter ID is the law, and that they were just trying to deny the senator his right to “freedom of speech.”

            [RALEIGH] Thanks to a steady pattern of court decisions ruling that Moral Monday protesters were well within their constitutional rights last year when they protested at the NC General Assembly, acting Wake County District Attorney Ned Mangum is now considering not taking the remaining trespassing cases to trial. Over 900 demonstrators were arrested and taken to Wake County jail in 2013. A handful were found guilty, but overall, most have been either found not guilty, or had their cases dismissed. Mangum said his office would determine which cases will most likely be dismissed.

            [WINSTON-SALEM] The wife of former death row inmate Darryl Hunt has filed a restraining order against him, alleging domestic violence, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. The pair were scheduled to appear before a judge Wednesday. Attorneys for both agreed neither would have contact with the other prior to the hearing. Hunt was falsely convicted in 1984 of murdering a female newspaper editor. After 19 years, DNA evidence freed Hunt from prison in 2004.


By Cash Michaels

“PARDONS OF INNOCENCE” IN WASH. D.C. NEXT WEEK - On Sept. 25th and 26th, we'll be in Washington, D.C. along with the National Newspaper Publishers Association for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, where our film, "Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten" will be screened and featured. We're certainly excited about this, and will tell you more next week.
MORE NONSENSE FROM THE NFL – Well last week the issue was video of an alleged wife beater that stirred up the controversy. This week, the indictment of an alleged child abuser.
In both cases, not to mention a few extra cases of alleged abuse, all of them have two things in common – they’re all black men, and they all draw a paycheck from the National Football League.
What is it about being an athlete in the NFL, being black, and being more likely than anybody else in professional sports (that we know about) to clobber your spouse or take a tree branch to your four-year-old son? That part is a mystery, but this much we know – the image of the black athlete, right now, is not exactly bright and shiny.
Earlier this year when Dwyane Wade , one of the most upstanding players in the NBA, admitted to impregnating a girl while he was still engaged to actress Gabrielle Union, that was considered a major scandal. But compared to what we’ve been hearing…and seeing in terms of alleged behavior among NFL players like Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings (not to mention Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy  – found guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats; and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald, also charged with domestic violence), Wade’s problem pales in comparison by far.
So how does all of this affect our community? Well, black men and women are finally opening up about all of the facets of domestic violence. Interestingly enough, many men are now saying that the whole story isn’t being told, and that while they firmly believe that no man has the right to put their hands on a lady, if a woman viciously and violently attacks them, all bets are off, and men should able to defend themselves.
This is a worthy debate that needs to be had. Men are expected by society to show restraint, but what restraint are women expected to recognize? No one seems to be able to agree, but the fact that the conversation is even being had is good.
And believe it or not, there seems to be debate about whether corporal punishment is still worthwhile for children. In Adrian Peterson’s case, a doctor examined his four-year-old son and found welts and scars from alleged beatings by Peterson.
Some people, like former NBA star Charles Barkley, say black folks in the South beat their children all the time, so what happened to Peterson’s son (and at press time, we’re hearing that yet another son of Peterson’s may have also been abused) was nothing new.
The question isn’t whether Adrian Peterson allegedly beating his son is new? The question is…was it right? Many parents, even in the black community, say no, and feel that no child in this day and age were we know more than our foreparents did, deserves to be beaten with belts, cords or even tree branches for the purpose of discipline. That is definitely a debate worth having.
So let’s not waste this opportunity, community. The issues about domestic violence and child abuse are on the table now for all to see. These dirty little secrets no longer need to stay secrets any longer.
Let’s do what we know we should have been doing all along, and that’s finding solutions.
COSBY – This week a new book about comedian Bill Cosby was released titled, Cosby: His Life and Times, and while I haven’t read it yet, I’ve read enough about it to stay in “can’t wait” mode until I do.
            Written by former Newsweek Magazine editor Mark Whitaker, the book is the first major autobiography about one of the most iconic entertainers in history. From his truly humble beginnings in Philadelphia as a child who didn’t do so well in school, to a young comedian with a rich storytelling talent, to the first African-American leading man on television, to the star and producer of one of the most successful sitcoms in television history, the story of Bill Cosby in this book also tells of his many failures both in business (his manager spent all of his money, almost bankrupting him), and character (Cosby carried on with women beyond his wife).
            And then there were the personal heartbreaks, such as his daughter’s drug addiction that took her away from the family for a decade, and the murder of his only son Ennis, a young man Cosby called “my hero” because he overcame adversity to help other young people.
            Let’s face it, all of our great heroes have had flaws and dark passages in their lives, just like the rest of us. And yet, in many cases, they’ve learned from those mistakes, and have grown. The life of Bill Cosby serves as a perfect example of this, as he, at the age now of 71, is still going strong, preparing for another sitcom to air on NBC sometime next year.
            If any of you get to read his book first, please let me know through Facebook what you thought of it. Bill Cosby is one of my favorite people in life, and I’m anxious to learn much more about his.
            NEW FALL SEASON NEXT WEEK – The new fall TV season is finally here next week on all three major networks. A few of the new shows look enticing, but I more excited about many of the returning shows that have been quite good in the past. On CBS, that would include “The Good Wife,” “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” I’m interested in what “NCIS: New Orleans” will look like, but I suspect it won’t have the same energy that its predecessors have. So we’ll see.
            On NBC, “Law and Order: SVU” is the only show worthy of my time thus far, but that could change.
            Over at ABC, I may or may not give “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” another try. It was pretty hammy last season.
            And on Fox, the return of “Sleepy Hollow,” which is filmed in Wilmington (for now), is also at the top of my list for must-see TV.
            As per some of the new shows to take a look at, Fox’s “Gotham” looks interesting, as does “Blackish” over on ABC. “Madam Secretary” with Tea Leoni also looks promising over on CBS.
            So that’s my new season TV list.
            What’s yours?
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.waug-network.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).
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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