NNPA STORIES -
Comedian Bill Cosby was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexually assaulting a female at his home in 2004, law enforcement officials said. The alleged assault involved Cosby slipping drugs into a drink he served to the woman in order to immobilize her. At least city women have accused Cosby of sexual assault over the years, but this is the first time he is being criminally charged with a crime.
CASH IN THE APPLE FOR 12-31-15
By Cash Michaels
GOODBYE, 2015 – In some ways, I truly wish 2015 was just one great big commode that we could just push the lever, and watch all of the bad stuff get flushed down where it belongs. But unfortunately, a lot of the stuff that made us just darn disgusted in 2015 is going to follow us into 2016. Which means we have to display the patience of Job in how we live our lives going forward, because a lot of crazy stuff is going to test us, over and over and over again.
Look at the kind of stories we’ve had to report about this year. Internationally, the growing war with ISIS; the Paris terrorist attack, the nuclear agreement with Iran. Nationally, domestic terrorism in San Bernardino and Charleston; police shootings of civilians and shootings of police officers; the evolution of the Black Lives Matters movement, and obviously the presidential elections and the historic visit by the Pope (which was a good thing).
Here in North Carolina, the disrespectful way Republican lawmakers treated Gov. Pat McCrory; new leadership at the state Democratic and Republican parties, growing scandal in the McCrory administration, 42 murders in Durham; and of course, the 2016 gubernatorial and legislative elections gearing up.
Of course there’s so much more that happened on all fronts, but bottomline is like it or not, we can all only go forward, and look back only to learn from the lessons of the past. Lord knows that if 2015 proves to only be the setup, then 2016 will be the big punch. In a way I hope not. Our nation is divided seemingly beyond repair. Citizens are distrustful of leadership. Racism seems to have proudly taken its place on the throne of being as American as apple pie. Religious bigotry is at an all time high. Our children are not pleased with the world that we built for them, and have little to no optimism about their future.
And let’s not forget that deceptive, weak-minded, non-principled and just plain sick people still walk this earth causing havoc in everyone’s life.
These are just some of the many, many things that we have to devote ourselves to turning around if there is to be a promising future for all of us. Obviously, none of this is possible without a strong and committed belief in GOD, for without Him, there can be no hope of anything good.
So that is our challenge in the coming new year, to turn this nation around before it is too late for ourselves and our children.
Because if we don’t, or we can’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
GOODBYE, MEADOWLARK – He was one of the talented graduates of the old Williston Senior High School in Wilmington, and grew up to be one of the most beloved entertainers in the world. Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters, the “clown prince of basketball,” died earlier this week at age 83.
Lemon was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame after his fabled career with the Globetrotters. He had a light and playfulness about him that made everyone laugh – young and old – the world over. Whether folks knew how to speak English or not, they understand Meadowlark’s boundless humor, and incredible skill with the basketball as he performed impossible tricks with ease, including his deadeye hook shot that never missed.
The great Wilt Chamberlain, who once played with the Globetrotters, said that Meadowlark was the greatest basketball player he’d ever seen. Without a doubt, in the history of the game, his name will always put a smile on the faces of folks who hear it. Goodbye, Meadowlark, and thank you for the good times.
“THE FORCE AWAKENS” THE BOX OFFICE – The last time I wrote anything about the new J.J. Abrams film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” it was just before it opened to tremendous reviews and box office. Without a doubt it is one of the best films of 2015 (yes, I took the family to see it two days after it opened), and certainly sets the stage for the sequel, which actually goes before cameras in just a few weeks in January.
“The Force Awakens” has already made the history books, earning over $1 billion worldwide in just twelve days, outpacing “Jurassic World” which pulled that trick in more timer back in the spring. The second in the three-part trilogy will debut in May 2017, so hang on. Hopefully the folks at Disney won’t screw it up after such a great start.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2016 – We hope that you and your family have a safe, joyous and prosperous new year. Lord knows the one thing it won’t be is boring, especially with the presidential elections going strong. Hopefully our nation will make the proper electoral choices, putting what’s best for all Americans first.
But just in case we pick up that that might not indeed be the case, please be ready get all of your properly registered friends and relatives and vote strong. We have got to turn this nation around from the perilous direction that it is going.
''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.
NEW BOOK EXPOSES CORRUPTION
IN THE WILMINGTON TEN CASE
By Cash Michaels
A new book on arguably North Carolina’s most notorious case of criminal frame-up sheds further light not only on why state prosecutors worked so hard to falsely convict the Wilmington Ten, but how a black nationalist-inspired worldwide social justice movement emerged to demand their freedom.
It was three years ago, on Dec. 31st, 2012, when then NC Gov. Beverly Perdue, against the opposition of many in the state’s judiciary, ended over 40 years of injustice by issuing pardons of innocence for the ten civil rights activists known the world over as the Wilmington Ten.
The Black Press effort, led by The Wilmington Journal through the National Newspaper Publishers Association, joining in coalition with the NC NAACP and veteran defense attorneys Irving Joyner, James Ferguson, and Duke University Prof. Timothy Tyson, exposed evidence that state prosecutors racially gerrymandered the majority-white jury forty years earlier to assure that the Ten would be falsely convicted of crimes they did not commit.
The 2014 awardwinning documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten,” chronicled some of the racially-charged, behind-the-scenes legal and political maneuvering in the 1970s that sent the nine black males and one white female to prison, and used them a pawns in the struggle against the Black Power movement.
And now the new book, researched and written Dr. Kenneth Robert Janken, professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at UNC at Chapel Hill, and director of the UNC Center for the Study of the American South, titled The Wilmington Ten: Violence, Injustice and the rise of Black Politics in the 1970s (published by UNC Press), further examines why the Wilmington Ten case, when viewed in contemporary terms, reveals the historic tension between the African American struggle for equal rights versus the white power structure’s pushback to maintain control and domination.
“By issuing pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten was an admission not just that their convictions were flawed, because they had been already overturned [by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Dec. 1980], but it was also an admission that the system was corrupt, and that prosecutors worked in unethical ways with the judges, they tried to get juries that were racially biased, they were willing to put into evidence testimony that was both false and perjured,” Prof. Janken, who started his research for the book in 2005, said in an interview.
“The case of the Wilmington Ten amounts to one of the most egregious instances of injustice and political repression from the post-World War II black freedom struggle,” Dr. Janken wrote in the book’s introduction. “…[T]he efforts to free the Wilmington Ten helped define an important moment in African American politics, in which an increasing variegated movement coordinated its efforts under the leadership of a vital radical Left.”
The book examines how North Carolina prosecutors worked hard to frame the Ten solely for the purpose of getting at civil rights activist Rev. Benjamin Chavis, known then as a fiery militant black activist authorities feared was growing in prominence during the early 1970’s shortly after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.
Rev. Chavis came to Wilmington the first week of February 1971 to work with black students who had boycotted New Hanover County public high schools because of racist treatment. He and nine others were falsely blamed for violence that crippled the Port City that week, resulting in two deaths.
Dr. Janken also focuses in his book on the extraordinary national and international movement that emerged to free the Wilmington Ten after their convictions, fueled by black nationalist groups, ultimately giving needed voice to various other social justice causes.
Janken agrees that Gov. Jim Hunt’s decision not to pardon the Wilmington Ten in 1978 after witnesses recanted their testimony was clearly political because he was afraid of losing white votes in future elections. Instead, he shortened their sentences, which only disappointed Hunt’s black base of supporters.
The book, like the documentary, traces the roots of black student unrest in Wilmington in the late 1960’s – early 1970’s to the forced closing of all-black Williston Senior High School in 1968, followed by the turmoil when Williston’s 900 students were forced to integrate hostile all-white New Hanover High School and Hoggard High School.
The roots of the historic racism that governed Wilmington’s segregated society harkened back to the infamous race riots of November 1898 there, when frustrated whites, angry over growing black economic and social power in the aftermath of Reconstruction, violently took over Wilmington city government from black leadership, ushering in the era of Jim Crow in the South.
“…[D]ozens and perhaps hundreds of African Americans were slaughtered,” Dr. Janken writes. “The violence gutted the material basis of black advancement. White elites illegally appropriated black-owned property and forced hundreds of blacks into exile….[and] [w]ith the coup d’etat and the subsequent disenfranchisement of African Americans, blacks’ political institutions were disorganized…,” Janken added.
Prof. Janken agrees that many of the events and issues addressed in the story of the Wilmington Ten, are mirrored today – police brutality, racial injustice, domestic terrorism, corruption in the criminal justice system, and a Black Lives Matters movement today demanding equal rights.
The Wilmington Ten: Violence, Injustice and the rise of Black Politics in the 1970s (published by UNC Press) is in bookstores, and available online, beginning Monday, January 4th.
2015 ENDS WITH MORE
By Cash Michaels
The week began with the city of Chicago in mourning after police there “accidentally” shot and killed 55 year-old Bettie Jones Dec. 27th, an unarmed downstairs neighbor who had just opened the door to let officers responding to a domestic disturbance call. Chicago police also killed college student Quintonio LeGrier at the same address, who was said to have had a mental illness. LeGrier’s father called police for assistance when his son became angry and began hitting the door with a baseball bat. Ms. Jones was a devout churchwoman, neighbors and relatives said. They couldn’t understand why Chicago police couldn’t use tasers to subdue young LeGrier, instead of deadly force.
Embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel rushed home from a 16-day vacation, amid growing cries for his resignation, and a federal investigation into a string of prior police killings in his city.
On Monday in Cleveland, Ohio, after more than a year, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced that a grand jury did not indict two Cleveland police officers for the November 2014 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had only a pellet gun on him in a park when the officers immediately shot the child within two seconds of pulling up on the scene. It became clear that McGinty never sought to indict the officers, but rather cajole the grand jury not to hold them responsible, claiming that the officers feared for their lives.
Tamir Rice family and their attorneys blasted McGinty, charging that it was never his intention to hold the police officers accountable, and instead blamed the young boy for “looking older and bigger than his age.”
Back in Chicago on Tuesday, Chicago Police Officer Jerry Van Dyke pled not guilty to six counts of murder after being seen on an October 2014 police video allegedly shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, most of the shots hitting the young black teen as he laid helpless in the middle of the street, surrounded by other police officers who never fired a shot.
Thousands of demonstrators marched, rallied and blocked traffic in downtown Chicago leading up to the Christmas holidays to protest the yearlong delay of the release of the McDonald video, demanding Mayor Emmanuel’s resignation in the aftermath of the firing of the police superintendent there. McDonald’s family had already been paid a $5 million settlement by the Chicago City Council long before the video’s release.
These cases, just this week, in addition to a grand jury in Texas last week refusing to indict any officers for the death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black female motorist found dead in her jail cell after she was arrested for a minor traffic violation, have set the stage for a tension-filled 2016 between law enforcement and the communities of color which they serve. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, young people across the nation have taken to the streets to peacefully, but forcefully, hold police departments accountable for their seemingly unbridled use of excessive force against African-Americans.
In Minnesota, demonstrators blocked an airport terminal after causing chaos at the Mall of America right before Christmas, all to protest the police shooting death of Jamar Clark. Authorities have refused to release the video of the deadly encounter.
Observers contrast these recent incidents with what did not happen just last Saturday night at a Louisville, Kentucky Mall St. Matthew, where 2,000 white teenagers reportedly engaged fights, disruptive behavior, harassment of customers and store employees and confrontations with police officers to the point where reinforcements from neighboring towns had to be called, and the mall closed an hour early.
And yet, there were no arrests, and not one officer fired a shot, even though there were reports of gunshots heard prior to the police arriving.
When asked why there were no arrests for what many who were there called “a riot,” a police spokesperson said, “Our focus was on restoring order and dispersing the crowd.”
THE 2016 BIG TAX:
WHAT CAN DONE
By Cash Michaels
Editor’s note – In part one of this two-part series, it was revealed that because of tremendous development over the past decade in Raleigh’s downtown areas, the property values of many of the properties in the South Park, College Park and other Southeast Raleigh communities are expected to jump at least 27 percent. The low-income retired and fixed income residents living on lots that will jump from $25,000-$30,000 in value, to upwards of $70,000-$80,000, according to the Wake County Revenue Department, and their annual property taxes will jump accordingly.
Some may be forced to sell their homes, and search for housing in poorer neighborhoods.
The problem will rear it’s ugly head once the Wake County Commissioners officially set the new property tax rates by June 30th, 2016.
So the question is, what can be done to help those residents prepare for the big property tax bill they never dreamed would come their way?
On Dec. 10th, Wake Commission Chairman James West and Commissioner Jessica Holmes called a meeting of civic, church, business and elected leaders to not only unveil the data, but discuss strategies on how to build a coalition of community institutions to help SE residents cope with the coming challenge.
Former Raleigh District C City Councilman Brad Thompson, who initially sounded the alarm about the problem, was also there.
“This is an issue that has concerned me over a period of time,” Thompson told the gathering in the commissioners’ conference room at the Wake Justice Bldg.
“I think the issue of unintended gentrification is how I would classify it. The closer you live to downtown, the more pressure you’re under to convert.”
By “convert,” Thompson means sell your property, which is already happening as various companies have already come it, buying up cheap properties, demolishing the old structures and building new ones on the lots, and “flipping” or reselling them for upwards of $100,000 to even $200,000 beyond their original value.
That means upper-middle class residents who can afford those prices move in, replacing the original residents who are forced to move out and can’t afford to come back.
One solution, though a weak one many agree, to help senior residents handle that high property tax bill is the little-known statewide program The Carolinian reported about in November. The Elderly or Disabled Exclusion program allows persons 65 or older, and/or totally or permanently disabled, and have a total household income not exceeding $29,000 annually, and own property which is the primary permanent residence that does not exceed one acre, to have the first $25,000 or 50 percent (whichever is greater) of assessed property tax value waived.
Those qualified must submit an application by Dec. 31st, 2016.
Because $29,000 annually is considered a poverty income, Commissioner Holmes suggested lobbying the state Legislature to raise it to at least $35,000 so that more people could qualify.
Making sure that residents are also made aware of other government or private remedies is also, meeting participants agree.
Another strategy was to have area churches where many of the elderly residents attend to conduct free information sessions to help guide them on what steps to take to cope with the property taxes. Getting the word out about these sessions via the Black Press and community radio stations was seen as two effective ways alert residents.
But for those who simply cannot afford to pay the increased property taxes, creating a church-based fund that could assist those in danger of losing their homes was also suggested. Rev. Dr. Earl C. Johnson, pastor of Martin Street Baptist Church in Southeast Raleigh, agreed that individual churches could indeed setup such funds, but he added that determining the actual need in the community was an important step, suggesting that some residents may indeed want to sell their homes.
At press time, The Carolinian has confirmed that there will be a community meeting regarding how high property values have risen in Southeast Raleigh at St. Augustine’s University on January 11th, time and location on campus to be announced.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 12-31-15
TWO SUSPECTS IN ONE-YEAR-OLD CHILD’S DEATH HELD WITHOUT BOND
Two of the three suspects charged in the Christmas Day shooting death of a one-year-old Chapel Hill toddler were ordered by a judge to remain in jail without bond. Little Maleah Williams was fatally shot in the head while playing outside her home on Christmas Day. Orange County authorities initially arrested and charged Shaquille Oneill Davis, 22, with attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Those charges are expected to be upgraded. He remains in the Orange County jail under a $650,000 bond. The two other suspects subsequently arrested and charged with first-degree murder – Ramone Jamarr Alston, 22, and Pierre Je Bron Moore, 23 – were ordered by a judge this week held in jail without bond. They are expected back in court on Jan. 21st. Neighbors said the child was killed in the drive-by as the suspects were allegedly targeting someone else.
VETERAN DURHAM JUDGE CHARGED WITH DWI
A longtime Durham judge has been charged with driving while impaired, according to published reports. David LaBarre, who has served as both a Durham District Court judge, and a Superior Court judge for over 20 years, was arrested and charged with DWI on Dec. 16th. According to a police report of the traffic stop, Judge LaBarre allegedly displayed “slurred speech,” “glassy eyes” and was “unsteady on his feet. The State Attorney General’s Office has been asked by the Durham District Attorney’s Office to handle the case.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 12-31-15
HARLEM GLOBETROTTER MEADOWLARK LEMON, 83, DIES
[WILMINGTON] The New York Times called him an “ageless court magician.” The world over, he was more commonly known as “the Clown Prince of Basketball” for his almost thirty years playing and performing with the legendary harlem Globetrotters. Wilmington native Meadowlark Lemon died Sunday at the age of 83 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Lemon was an alumnus of historic Williston Senior High School in the Port City. He dreamed of playing for the Globetrotters as a young boy, finally joining the team in 1954 after leaving the Army. It wasn’t long before Lemon became a top showman, dazzling audiences the world over with tricks and comic routines that have lived on in the hearts of millions of fans. Lemon was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 after playing over 16,000 games.
NORTH CAROLINA POPULATION HITS 10 MILLION
[CHARLOTTE] There can be no doubt that North Carolina has grown steadily in population since the 1970s, with much of that growth in both the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham urban areas. As a result, according to the US Census, the state’s population has now topped 10 million in the past year. The Tar Heel state remained the ninth most populous in the nation. Experts say North Carolina’s population has in fact doubled sine the 1970s, thanks to increased and varied job opportunities, excellent weather and good quality of life.
TORNADO HITS TOWN ON UNION COUNTY
[MONROE] Officials confirm that a tornado touched down Monday near Monroe in Union County causing some structural damage, but thankfully no reports of injuries. The twister touched down just after 5 p.m., causing some structural damage to rooftops and downed trees. Residents say the cleanup effort to clear roads and property is ongoing.