Monday, August 3, 2015



By Cash Michaels

            “WLLE REMEMBERED” RETURNS – Back by popular demand, NCSU Libraries and NCSU’s Africana Studies Dept. presents the CashWorks HD Productions presentation of “WLLE Remembered,” a mini-documentary about our beloved 570WLLE-AM radio, the first black-owned and operated radio station in Raleigh that came on the air from 1962 to 1997.
            That free screening will be held Saturday, August 15th, 2 p.m. at the Richard B. Harrison Library, 1313 New Bern Avenue in Southeast Raleigh. Again, admission is free and the community is invited. NCSU Africana Studies Prof. Sheila Smith McKoy and yours truly will be the hosts. After the film, we’ll give you a chance to share your memories of the radio station that all of us loved and grew up with.
            This may be the last time that this documentary is screened, so circle the date and come out to enjoy!
            WILL AND JADA – Earlier this week it was reported that actor Will Smith and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, were divorcing after 17 years of marriage. This may or may not be true (Will came afterwards denying it profusely)  but one of the only reasons why we’re even bringing this up is because both entertainers have significantly helped to shape the show business landscape successfully for many years.
            Certainly for a time, Will was a mega box office star with most of his movies like “Men in Black” and “I Legend” grossing well over $100 million or more. And Jada has worked steadily on television in various projects, including  last season’s “Gotham” in a role I strongly feel deserved an Emmy nomination.
            But what also draws interest and attention to this dynamic couple are the longtime rumors that they saw things a little differently than the rest of us in terms of marriage and raising a family. There have been strong reports of Will and Jada having an “open” marriage, buttressed by alleged quotes from Jada recently saying, ““You gotta trust who you’re with, and at the end of the day, I’m not here to be anybody’s watcher. “I’m not his watcher. He’s a grown man. I trust that Will is a man of integrity. He’s got all the freedom in the world, and as long as Will can look at himself in the mirror and be okay, I’m good.”
            So what in the ham sandwich does all of that mean? And then, of course there are two of Will and Jada’s kids, Willow and Jaden, both of whom have made headlines with their individually weird situations. Jaden has been pictured in skirts, and a Batman costume at his high school prom.
            Plus the young man has mouthed off about how education is a waste of time, and that he knows what he knows, and that’s good enough. Indeed Will has told the press that Jaden is essentially raising himself, and he sets few boundaries for him.
            Willow was photographed with a 20 year-old shirtless man both lying on a bed (she had clothes on, but still). The local California Dept. of Social Services has had to investigate the pair, so to say that they’ve garnered more than their share of headlines is an understatement indeed.
            So this family has had its challenges through the years, and we can only pray that despite breaking up, they will find a way to survive the media madness, and hold on to each other.
CHIRAQ – The controversy over Spike Lee’s new film “Chiraq,” in production now, is that it focuses on gun violence in the Windy City, gun violence that has thus far claimed over a hundred lives thus far this year. Naturally the folks in Chicago don’t like to have this negative light shined on their fair city, because the title of the film implies that the black neighborhoods of Chicago are like a war zone in Iraq.
Well here’s my question – with over one hundred shooting deaths in Chicago this year alone, aren’t we well past being embarrassed about it? And no, I’m not going to criticize the dedicated people on the ground there who are trying to stop the bloodshed. To the contrary, I criticize the rest of us for not doing more to support their efforts with resources, manpower, change in policies, whatever it takes.
There have been so many people killed that the Chicago Sun-Times has a special online section listing all of the murders! It is a shame to see them range from middle-age men to young toddlers.
We have no idea right now how Spike’s movie is going to turn out, but we do know that it will spark controversy (Spike loves controversy) and discussion, if not outrage. My question is that will it spark ACTION from us? Because if it doesn’t, then outrage won’t mean a 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.

                                                     THE WILMINGTON TEN

By Cash Michaels

            The outrage continues to grow after the NC Court of Appeals this week, in an unanimous opinion by a three-judge panel, ruled that the family members of Connie Tindall, Ann Sheppard, William “Joe” Wright and Jerry Jacobs – four deceased members of the Wilmington Ten, will not be awarded compensation for their false imprisonment and years of suffering.
            Their families say one of the reasons why all four prematurely died is because of the stress they had to endure both in prison, and after they were released years later.
            “This unjust ruling by the NC Court of Appeals slaps equal justice in the face of history and this is another recurring low moment in North Carolina's long pretense to treat Black people fairly and justly,” said an angry Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, leader of the Wilmington Ten.
            The judicial panel consisted of NC Appellate Judge Donna Stroud – a Republican; Judge J.  Douglas McCullough – also a Republican; and Judge Lucy Inman – a Democrat who also wrote the lead opinion.
            The NC State Attorney General’s Office argued for the state.
            Why did the appellate court panel reject compensation to the four families? According to the ruling, “Although the State and this Court solemnly acknowledge the profound harm caused by the wrongful imprisonment of any person, we affirm the Full [Industrial] Commission’s order dismissing plaintiffs claims because the [NC] statute does not allow compensation based upon posthumous pardons of innocence.”
            Attorneys Irving Joyner and James Ferguson – two of the original defense attorneys for the Wilmington Ten in 1972 – represented all of the six living members – Wayne Moore, James “Bun” McKoy, Marvin “Chili” Patrick,  Reginald Epps, Willie Earl Vereen and Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, and the families of deceased members.
            All ten activists were framed for burning down a white-owned grocery store during the height of racial tension in Wilmington in February 1971 over school desegregation. In 1972, they were falsely tried, convicted and collectively sentenced to 282 years in prison, only to have their sentences overturned by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in December 1980.
            The state of North Carolina, however, refused to either retry the Wilmington Ten, or issue pardons of innocence for over 32 years thereafter, despite a federal court finding of gross prosecutorial misconduct in their false convictions.
            After a yearlong campaign by The Wilmington Journal, The Carolinian in Raleigh, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the NCNAACP which generated international press and over 135,000 signatures, Gov. Beverly Perdue issued pardons of innocence for the Ten on her last day in office on Dec. 31st, 2012. Attorneys Joyner and Ferguson subsequently won compensation from the NC Industrial Commission for the six living members, but were rejected for Wright, Sheppard, Jacobs and Tindall.
            The lawyers appealed to the state Appellate Court, only to be turned down this week.
            In effect, the state appellate court ruled that Wright, Sheppard, Jacobs and Tindall would have had to been granted pardons of innocence before they died, according to a strict reading of the governing state statue, in order for either they or their families to qualify for compensation.
            The law covers “persons,” not “estates,” the judicial opinion noted, maintaining that the legal language of the state statute is very clear. “These policy considerations are more appropriately raised with the legislative branch.”
            Reaction to the ruling was swift.
We are disappointed with the adverse ruling from the North Carolina Court of Appeals regarding the estates of the four deceased members of the Wilmington Ten, but this Court's opinion is not the final word,” said attorney Joyner in a statement.
“This case was one of first impression before the appellate court and sets a bad precedent. In a state with as many wrongful imprisonments and convictions as has occurred in North Carolina, we recognize the need to continue this legal battle on behalf of the affected Wilmington Ten members, but also for other wrongfully convicted individuals whose cases might find themselves in situations similar to our clients. There is no doubt, in the minds of anyone, that the Wilmington Ten were victimized by the State of North Carolina and now the State Attorney General is fighting this protracted battle to deny just compensation for the harm which has been inflicted on these four families.”
            “The Wilmington Ten attorneys will consult with the four families and make a decision soon regarding our next steps in Court,” Joyner concluded.
            Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, leader of the Wilmington Ten and currently the president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, issued a statement from Miami, Fla.
The current NC Attorney General should learn the bitter lesson that former Governor Jim Hunt (who refused to pardon the Wilmington Ten in 1978) had to learn reluctantly:  Truth and justice can not be forever repressed and suppressed,” Rev. Chavis said. “God does not like ugly and this latest racist court ruling is despicably ugly before God Almighty!”
 “The injustice of the Wilmington Ten continues unabated …”
            For the families of the deceased members who were denied what they feel was just compensation for their decades of grief, fear, pain and suffering, there was also anger, and sorrow.
There is no amount of money that can be paid for what my brother went through,” declared Ophelia Tindall, sister to the late Connie Tindall, who died three years ago this week. “This is very wrong, and wrong is wrong, but God sees it all. I truly miss my brother.”
Judy Mack, whose mother, Ann Sheppard, was the only female tried as a member of the Wilmington Ten, was also distraught.
“We are feeling like we have been kicked in the gut,” Ms. Mack posted on Facebook after the ruling was published Tuesday. “We are back at square one ! I felt today as I did as a young girl in the Burgaw Courthouse when the guilty verdict was read. And yes I cried today as I did then. “
 “I do thank God and all those involved that were instrumental in helping them receive pardons of innocence. It's not just a pound of flesh that was taken, it was our HEARTS that were ripped out !!! Ms. Mack continued. “They frame our love ones, imprison them, deny them their rights. Their lives were threatened and changed forever. They lost friends, family and the right to live free !! Yet, we don't deserve compensation ??? !!!”
Like Rev. Chavis, Wayne Moore was one of the six living members of the Wilmington Ten who did receive compensation after his pardon of innocence. Still, he was very upset.
“I think this ruling is an insult to the memories of Joe Wright, Connie Tindall, Jerry Jacobs, Ann Sheppard and to the dignity of their families ,” Moore said in a statement. Most of us were only teenagers when we were wrongly tried and convicted for crimes we never committed. No amount of money can compensate for what we and our families have endured.”
 “Today an old wound has been reopened. The families of Joe Wright, Connie Tindall, Jerry Jacobs [and Ann Sheppard] are my family. They often visited me in prison, and supported me throughout the long and arduous journey for justice. It is why I feel the exact same feeling today as I felt some forty-three years ago when the jury came back with a verdict of guilty. Though my heart has once again been broken, my spirit is alive and well. I am not satisfied, and I will not be satisfied, until, [like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said] “Justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
“We will not rest until we find some semblance of justice for our deceased brothers,” Moore concluded.
Thanks to the involvement of the NCNAACP, the pardons of innocence
campaign was successful in 2012. But this week’s decision by the NC Appeals Court also disturbed NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber .
All of the members of the Wilmington Ten - both those alive and the remaining estates, deserve compensation,” Barber said. “They were wronged,  they were hurt, and they were violated. This hurt was felt by the individuals and their families.”
 “The lawyers will continue the battle,” Rev. Barber continued. “We can't give them back the years lost.  Full justice can never be realized to address an injustice that should have never occurred, but we will continue to push until the full measure of justice and compensation that can be provided, and is provided.”
Prof. Timothy Tyson, Senior Research Scholar at Duke University in Durham, helped the 2012 pardons of innocence effort immensely when he discovered prosecutor’s trial notes from June 1972, outlining how the state attempted to stack the jury will Ku Klux Klan members, and keep black people off.
            Prof. Tyson was also displeased this week with the state appellate court decision.
“Given that the Wilmington Ten have been conclusively found to have committed no crime, but instead to have been the victims of the most blatant, intentional and even criminal racial injustice by the state's courts, it seems unfair that there is no compensation for the families of the deceased, who suffered immensely at the hands of these courts,” Prof. Tyson says. “Just because the state dragged its feet for forty years is no excuse for perpetuating this wrong.” 
Attorneys for the families are expected to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

KING'S "DREAM" NORTH CAROLINA BORN - A state historic marker in Rocky Mount denotes the site where Booker T. Washington High School once stood, and where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first delivered his famous refrain, "I Have a Dream" nine months before the 1963 March on Washington [Photo courtesy of Rebecca Cerese] 

By Cash Michaels

            It was 52 years ago in 1963, when civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was delivering a stirring speech during the historic March on Washington about jobs, equality and freedom, when his close friend, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, called out to him from those gathered to say something about his “dream.”
            King put the rest of his prepared text aside, looked up at the hundreds of thousands who had come to the National Mall in Washington, DC from across the nation, and the tens of millions watching on television around the world, and from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, recited an iconic favorite refrain he had used several times before to climax his remarks:
            I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
            Even now, world history records King’s powerful words and delivery on that 28th day of August, 1963, as perhaps the most significant of any era or generation. His “I Have a Dream” speech has been forever cemented on that day and place.
            But that wasn’t the first time Dr. King actually uttered “I Have a Dream.”
NCSU Prof. W. Jason Miller, author of a new book about Dr. King and American poet Langston Hughes titled “Origins of the Dream”; and Rebecca Cerese, producer of the awardwinning documentary “February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four,” are preparing to unveil well-documented evidence next week to prove that it was actually in North Carolina almost a year before when King first uttered his most famous words.
            They will let the world hear a recording of it.
            It was November 27th, 1962 in the gymnasium of the now defunct Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount, NC when Dr. King, then the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, explicitly used those words to share his “dream” of America in a speech titled, “Facing the Challenges of a New Age.”
North Carolina still had segregated schools, so Washington High was a well-known all-black school whose large gym was being used by the Rocky Mount Voters and Improvement League, and the local NAACP chapter, for the event to promote the need for black voter empowerment.
            The head of the Improvement League, Rev. George Dudley, pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church, invited Dr. King to come and speak.
            It was one of many visits the famed civil rights leader paid to the Tar Heel state between 1956 and 1968, though this was his very first visit to Rocky Mount.
            The December 6, 1962 front page headline of The Carolinian Newspaper at the time was titled, “King Tells Rocky Mount Audience: Don’t Wait For Freedom,” and the story went on report how Dr. King told an estimated 2,000 people in attendance, “He who sits around and waits on time to bring freedom will be waiting another century.”
            After reaffirming his belief in nonviolent civil confrontation, King also admonished “Negroes in North Carolina” to “…get to voting” so that they can send politicians of their choice to Congress to affect the passage of civil rights legislation.
            King’s visit was also reported on by the Rocky Mount Evening Telegram. Neither paper reported Dr. King’s recitation of  the “I Have a Dream” refrain, but an acetate reel-to-reel recording of the speech secured by Prof. Jason Miller confirms King’s famous words were first delivered in Rocky Mount on that day.
            Miller, the author of the just published, “Origins of the Dream,” had the Rocky Mount recording professionally restored by an expert in Philadelphia, and then developed an accurate transcript from it.
            It is from that recording transcript that Dr. King is documented as saying the following in Rocky Mount on November 27th, 1962:
            And so my friends of Rocky Mount, I have a dream tonight.  It is a dream rooted deeply in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day down in Sasser County, Georgia, where they burned two churches down a few days ago because Negroes wanted to register and vote, one day right down there little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls and walk the streets as brothers and sisters. 
I have a dream that one day right here in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will meet at the table of brotherhood, knowing that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth.
I have a dream that one day men all over this nation will recognize that all men were created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.
I have a dream tonight. One day the words of Amos will become real:  “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
I have a dream tonight.  One day every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low.  Crooked places will be made straight, and the rough places will be made strange, the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
I have a dream tonight. One day men will do unto others as they would have others to do unto them.
I have a dream tonight. One day my little daughter and my two sons will grow up in a world not conscious of the color of their skin but only conscious of the fact that they are members of the human race
I have a dream tonight that someday we will be free. We will be free.
            We will be standing here, we will be able to sing with new meaning
My country, tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
May every mountain side,
Let freedom ring.
That must become true all over America if this is to be a great nation.  Yes,
Let it ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire,
                        Let it ring from the mighty mountains of New York,
                        Let it ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania,
                        Let it ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado,
                        Let it ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that, from every mountain side let freedom ring.
So let it ring from Stone Mountain in Georgia,
                        Let it ring from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. 
                        Let it ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. 
                        Let it ring from every mountain of North Carolina,
                        From every mountain side, let freedom ring. 
And when this happens all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual,” . . . free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!”

            Next Tuesday at North Carolina State University, Prof. Miller will unveil the restored audio recording of Dr. King’s speech for the world to hear, putting to rest, once and for all, any doubt that North Carolina, not Washington, D.C., nor Detroit, Michigan in June 1963 – where Dr. King also delivered a version of the refrain – is the actual birthplace of “I Have a Dream.
            "As a resident of North Carolina, this audio sheds new light on establishing the unappreciated historical significance Rocky Mount, NC played in what has become the most recognizable speech in American history,” Prof. Miller told The Carolinian.
            The author of the new book, “Origins of the Dream” about the fascinating intellectual relationship between Dr. King and poet Langston Hughes, Dr. Miller, who is also co-producing the new documentary, “Origin of the Dream”  based on his research, is excited about his new findings detailing how King actually adopted some of Hughes’ “poetic “dream” imagery for his greatest speech.
            "As a Langston Hughes scholar, this audio offers the most substantial evidence yet available to confirm Hughes's own personal belief that Dr. King's dream was inspired by his own poetry,” Miller maintains.
            Documentary producer Rebecca Cerese agrees.
            “As a filmmaker, I immediately recognized that the discovery of this audio tape significantly deepens the historical record by connecting the two American icons of Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King,” Cerese, who is also coproducing “Origin of the Dream” told The Carolinian.  “Their connection is a story that needs to be shared on film, and this audio tape establishes the important contributions Langston Hughes' poetry made to the civil rights movement.”

            [RALEIGH] The controversial head of the state’s Health and Human Services agency, Dr. Aldona Wos, announced that after two-and-a-half turbulent years, she is stepping down from her post. Wos’ tenure has been marked by questionable hiring practices of close friends, shoddy management of Medicaid, and wasteful spending by one of her top managers. Wos’ relationship with even fellow Republican lawmakers was frosty at best, but still, Gov. McCrory defended her tenure, saying that reforming the state’s largest agency was a difficult tsk. Wos is the second high profile McCrory cabinet officer to resign in as many weeks. NC Dept. of Transportation Sec. Tony Tata immediately resigned last week to further pursue his writing career, and possibly run for public office.

            [CHARLOTTE] Prosecutors are methodically building their case against white former Charlotte police officer Randall Kerrick – charged with the Sept. 2013 shooting death of black motorist Jonathan Ferrell - during the opening days of Kerrick’s trial.  The former officer’s black defense attorney Michael Greene told jurors that Ferrell attacked Kerrick by running into him, forcing the officer to draw his weapon and fire to defend himself. But prosecutors say Ferrell was injured and scared after crashing his car nearby in the middle of the night, and possibly couldn’t see the officer in the flash of his patrol car’s headlights, thus running into to him as he cried for help. Ferrell was shot 12 times and died on the spot. He was unarmed. Kerrick faces eleven years in prison if convicted of using excessive force.

            [WINSTON-SALEM] Last Friday saw closing arguments in the federal lawsuit by the US Justice Dept., NCNAACP and others against Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led NC Legislature fro the 2013 passage of what many say are the most restrictive voting laws in the nation. Plaintiffs argue that Republicans deliberately targeted blacks, Latinos and college students in a effort to suppress their votes. The defendants counter that the new laws are race-neutral and designed to limit voter fraud. The federal judge who hear the case is expected to render a decision in a few weeks.



            No sooner did new Shaw University President-elect Tashni Dubroy begin her tenure leading the historically black university, than she ran headfirst into controversy. Because of an overall shortage of scholarship funding, Dubroy removed some scholarships from the athletics department to use on the academic side and the Honors College for students with high grade point averages, a well a students in the band. Affected students were not pleased with the sudden changes, and held an afternoon protest on campus, demanding that the scholarships be returned to athletics. Dubroy says she will work to develop a fundraising campaign to pick up the slack.

            Another top national designation for the Capital City to be proud of, as Wallethub has ranked Raleigh Number Two on the list of  “Best Large Cities to Live In,” with Austin, Texas leading the way at Number One. Among the 31 factors that Wallethub used to assess the rankings, Raleigh came in Number One when it came to education, primarily because of its top-ranked public school system and area universities. Charlotte, the Queen City, came in 19th on the final list.

            The former director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina was released on bond earlier this week after he turned himself in amid two grand jury indictments for obtaining property by false pretense. Dana Pope has admitted to allegedly improperly using SEANC money for his personal uses like paying for vacations and getting work on his home. Investigators say Pope, who served as SEANC director for 15 years, spent upwards of  $457,000 of the organization’s money on himself. He was released from Wake County jail after posting a $200,000 bond.



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