Monday, January 11, 2016



By Cash Michaels

            “PARDONS OF INNOCENCE” IN NEW BERN – Now that the new year has begun and we’re commemorating Dr. King’s birthday and the upcoming Black History Month, lots of folks want to see the NNPA – CashWorks HD Productions award-winning 2014 documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten.” There are a couple of screenings coming up if you haven’t seen it already.
            The next one is Thursday, Jan. 21st at the Tryon Palace NC History Center in New Bern at 7 p.m.. Admission is free. Part of the film was done there at the center, so this is a homecoming of sort.
            And don’t forget, on Sunday, Feb. 7th, the film will be shown at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh at 2 p.m.. Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, the leader of the Wilmington Ten, will be here for that.
            Just in case you can’t make it to any of the upcoming screenings, then go to to get your own DVD copy, and we’ll ship it right out to you.
             GOODBYE, DAVID BOWIE – When you get the chance, get on your computer, and go to YouTube. The specific address is There you will see something rare indeed. A superstar British music artist turning the tables on an interviewer for the powerful MTV in 1982, asking why the popular music channel was not playing more black artists.
            “Why are there practically no blacks on the network?” he asked.
            “We seem to be doing music that fits into hat we want to play on MTV,” the stunned interviewer replied. “The company is thinking in terms of narrowcasting.”
            “There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I’m surprised aren’t being used on MTV.”
            “We have to try and do what we think not only New York and Los Angeles will appreciate, but also Poughkeepsie or the Midwest which would be scared to death by…a string of other black faces, or black music.”
            “Is it not possible it should be a conviction of the station….to make the media more integrated?”
            That superstar British music artist was the legendary David Bowie, who died earlier this week at age 69 after losing an 18-month battle with cancer. It is beyond fascinating to watch Bowie literally pick the meat off the bones of the poor white interviewer, who tries his best to put a kind, harmless face on what was an absolutely racist situation in the early 1980’s prior to Michael Jackson’s monster “Thriller” album forcing MTV to change its tune and program more black music.
            For someone of Bowie’s stature in music and the entertainment business to challenge a major music outlet at the time is simply mindblowing, and yet, David Bowie was known for blazing his own path and determining his own style. That attitude was reflected in his music, with such great hits as  “Fame” and “Let’s Dance.”
            But just in case some of you real soul music lovers are shaking your head and saying to yourself, “Soooo what? A British white singer enjoyed black music. Big deal. The Beatles liked James Brown.”
            Yeah, true, but did the Beatles ever support James Brown, like David Bowie supported the career of his once backup singer Luther Vandross. YES, that’s right, THE Luther Vandross.
            Vandross would tour with Bowie in concert, and it was in 1974 when Bowie took young Luther to the side and told him that he would indeed be famous one day.
            Bowie believed in interracial relationships, having been married to famous black fashion supermodel Iman.
            “It’s a very strange situation for me because I think with both of us having so called celebrity status, as soon as we step outside of doors we’re known as David and Iman," Bowie once said. "I don’t know what it’d be like for us—you don’t see that many mixed couples in America. In Europe there’s a lot of couples. Over here there still a rarity, it’s still this separatist type of thing over here. I don’t know what it’d be for like for us if we weren't known in our own right. You get the odd snide remark but, nothing with any weight.”
            No, I didn’t care for much of Bowie’s rock music, but to be fare, he was a master of many different genres, so there were some hits of his we had no problem rocking to. Bowie was a one-world kind of guy who felt that differences enriched people and their culture. He devoted his creative life to discovering the magic in those differences and exploiting them in his music.
            At 69, David Bowie could easily be called an “old” artist. But so unique is his place in music history, that it really didn’t matter how old he was.
            Goodbye, David Bowie, and thank you for teaching us through your music and example.
            ADDING SOME COLOR – Well, well…apparently they got the message over at the ABC television network. According to their entertainment president, we should be seeing more color on ‘The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” per upcoming episodes.
            "I'd be very surprised if [the Bachelorette] in the summer isn't diverse," ABC Entertainment Pres. Paul Lee told reporters at the Television Critics Association recently. "Maybe I shouldn't have said that, but I think that's likely to happen."
            You’ll recall that a lawsuit was filed a few years back by some black men who claimed that they couldn’t get on the show because people of color were not allowed. ABC denied it, of course, but apparently they took the threat to heart.
            Let’s see how this all turns out. TV seems to be a lot more open now to interracial dating, especially in commercials. Let’s see how the Bachelor handles it.
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.


9:00 AM
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Kickoff Event
2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Wreath Laying Ceremony
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens
1500 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Raleigh, NC

MLK Day of Service- United Way of Greater Triangle
Various Locations throughout the Triangle
This four-county community service day helps empower and strengthen local communities. In 2015, United Way of the Greater Triangle hosted 2,823 Triangle volunteers at 37 service projects to pack soup mixes, make blankets, create literacy kits, read to kids, and more to honor of Dr. King’s legacy of service and to strengthen local communities. Make plans now to recruit your friends and family to work together to make MLK Day 2016 a “day on not a day off.

7:15 AM
(Doors open at 5:45 a.m., breakfast is served from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. ONLY)
36th Annual MLK, Jr. Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast
Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Reverend Mark-Anthony Middleton
Pastor, Abundant Hope Christian Church, Durham, NC

11:00 AM
36th Annual MLK “Fierce Urgency of Now” Memorial March
Departs from State Capitol Building, Edenton Street Side, Downtown Raleigh 10:00am- March Assembly and Line up Begins

12:00 PM
36th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Noon Ecumenical Observance
Duke Energy Center for The Performing Arts, 2 E South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Bishop Lawrence G. Campbell, Sr.
Bible Way Cathedral, Danville VA

5:30 PM
36th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Evening Musical Celebration
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Featuring Special Guest Gospel National Recording Artist
Pastor Tim Rogers-Tim Rogers and the Fellas


                                                GOV. CHARLES BRANTLEY AYCOCK

By Cash Michaels

            When we say that the negro is unfit to rule we carry it one step further and convey the correct idea when we declare that he is unfit to vote. To do this we must disfranchise the negro. This movement comes from the people. Politicians have been afraid of it and have hesitated, but the great mass of white men in the State are now demanding and have demanded that the matter be settled once and for all. To do so is both desirable and necessary – desirable because it sets the white man free to move along faster than he can go when retarded by the slower movement of the negro.
                                              Charles B. Aycock,  Accepting the Democratic
                                                                     Nomination for Governor, April 11, 1900

            Disturbed that one of Wayne County’s most prominent high schools is named after arguably one of North Carolina’s most racist governors, citizens there, led by the Goldsboro/Wayne County NAACP, will be petitioning the county board of education to change the name of Charles Brantley Aycock High School.
            “We have an obligation to clean that up,” says Walker Cox, 61, who attended what was a predominately-white Aycock High in the mid-1960’s because it was closer to his home. Cox maintains that only recently has he, and many others in Wayne, learned of Gov. Aycock’s true history. The goal, he says, is making sure that “symbols of racial hatred” no longer exist.
            “My obligation is to make sure that my children and grandchildren don’t have to suffer the same kind of abuse we suffered back in ’65.”
            Gail Coley, a Wayne County resident and alum whose daughter recently graduated from Aycock High, alleges that black students still endure racial abuse at the school, calling it “a nightmare,” and that change is badly needed. She says one place to start is by renaming it.
            “But it has way more problems than just the name,” Ms. Conley insisted.
What makes the task of changing Aycock High’s name harder is that Wayne County is not only the birthplace of North Carolina’s fiftieth governor – who served from 1901 – 1905 -  but where he practiced law, and also served not only as superintendent of Wayne County public schools, but on the local school board as well. As governor, Aycock has been lauded for ushering in an aggressive era of public school improvements and construction that many say pushed North Carolina forward at a critical time post-Civil War.
            Indeed a cursory look at Gov. Aycock’s personal, professional and political history would be impressive, save for his deep involvement in the Democratic Party’s white supremacist “Solid South” campaigns of the late 1890s – early 1900’s. In an effort to suppress growing North Carolina black political power in the aftermath of the Civil War, Aycock, considered one of the great orators of his day, supported the violent post-election overthrow of the Wilmington city government in November 1898, where armed white supremacists attacked the port city, killing African-Americans, and forcing others to leave their homes and properties behind.
            Many who have recently discovered the true history of Gov. Charles Aycock say this belated transparency is alarming.
            “It has been 118 years ago since men from the northern part of [Wayne] county marched to Wilmington and burned down the city, raped [black] women, hung our men, destroyed the black newspaper, and killed people,” wrote Sylvia Barnes, president of the Goldsboro/Wayne County NAACP.  “Since it has been so long ago, do we just forget that part of history and pretend it never happened?”
 “It is a part of the curriculum of the Wayne County Public School Board that every 4th grader be taken to the birth place of Gov. Aycock to spend the day teaching them he was the best governor in NC and he is known as the “education governor.”  Can the true story not be told?” Ms. Barnes continued. “When he was elected governor in 1901 he built schools all across the state because he did not want black children attending the same schools with the white children. “
            Barnes is not alone in her concerns. Last November, the Goldsboro/Wayne NAACP held a public forum to learn more about Gov. Aycock, his prominent role in the Wilmington 1898 race massacre, and then get feedback from the community.
            While there were some who said Aycock’s documented racism was part of the times he lived in, and he fought for educating black children, opponents maintained that Aycock helped destroy black progress through racism and murder, and is no longer someone deserving of praise and respect.
            Aycock’s supporters countered that changing the high school’s name would just cause further racial division in Wayne County. John Pippin of the Fremont Historical Society began a petition drive in November, addressed to Chris West, chairman of the Wayne County School Board, urging him not to change the name. As of press time this week, it had 2,087 supporters.
            Those Aycock supporters insist that the governor was invested in uplifting black people through education, and should be applauded accordingly. Critics, however, point to many of his speeches from the time to bolster the contrary –

            Let us cast away all fear of rivalry with the negro, all apprehension that he shall ever overtake us in the race of life. We are the thoroughbreds and should have no fear of winning the race against a commoner stock. An effort to reduce their public schools would send thousands more of them away from us. In this hour, when our industrial development demands more labor and not less, it becomes of the utmost importance that we shall make no mistake in dealing with that race which does a very large part of the work, of actual hard labor in the State.
                                                            Gov. Aycock at the Democratic State Convention
                                                            in Greensboro, June 1904

Removing Gov. Aycock’s name is not without precedent. In February last year, the East Carolina University Trustee Board, after much discussion and pressure from the Black Student Union, voted to remove Gov. Aycock’s name from a campus dormitory, but included him in their Heritage Hall so that his legacy could still be recognized.
            In 2014, Duke University also removed Aycock’s name from a dormitory on its East Campus, and in 2011, the NC Democratic Party change the name of its annual Vance-Aycock dinner in Asheville to the Western Gala.
            There is a statue to him on State Capitol grounds, and his words grace the side of the building that houses the NC Dept. of Public Instruction across from the Legislature in Raleigh. There is also the Aycock Residence Hall on the campus of UNC – Chapel Hill (his alma mater), and when one looks it up online at the school’s “A Virtual Museum of University History” site,  under pictures of both Aycock and campus building baring his name is a frank summary of his history:
            Traditionally portrayed as a heroic education reformer, Aycock also led the 1898-1900 drive for white supremacy. One of the Democratic politicians who wrested control of the state from a coalition of white and black Republicans, he used his oratorical skills to foment resentment of blacks. These Democrats also resorted to violence, particularly during the 1898 Wilmington race riot. Once in power, Aycock and his associates largely disenfranchised blacks through a literacy test and poll tax.
            And yet, the UNC campus dormitory still retains his name.
The UNC – Greensboro trustee board is discussing renaming its Aycock Auditorium, christened in 1928. Greensboro even has an historic district designated as a  “Charles B. Aycock neighborhood” less than a mile northeast of downtown, in addition to a middle school named after the “education governor.”
During the last NC legislative session, the Republican-led state House passed a bill to remove the statue honoring Gov. Aycock from the US Capitol representing North Carolina, and they hope to replace it with one honoring Evangelist Billy Graham. That measure is in the GOP-majority state Senate, and has support. However, with Rev. Graham still living, lawmakers legally cannot pass it since it is prohibited to establish the honor until after the honoree has died.
If there’s any doubt that feelings are strong to have the Aycock name dishonored, vandals at Raleigh’s historic Oakwood Cemetery caused an estimated $20,000 in spray painted anti-racism graffiti damage to various Confederate monuments, and the grave stone Gov. Aycock.
The words “White supremacist” were sprayed painted on the stone in black.
There is no denying the recent movement to remove the racist legacy of Charles B. Aycock from some of the state’s most prominent institutions.  But given that Wayne County is not only his birthplace, and he began his work in education there, the battle to over removing Aycock’s name could be more intense there than anywhere else.
Goldsboro/Wayne County NAACP President Sylvia Barnes, who also maintains that Aycock High is a “racist school” per recent complaints she has received, says the time for the community to fight for change is now.
“In the words of James Russell Lowell, “…Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,” Pres. Barnes wrote. “I ask is it business as usual, or do we say we will fight for change?”


            Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Raleigh is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of vandals responsible for the Dec. 30th defacing of nine monuments. The structures honored Confederate soldiers, but one also honored Gov. Charles B. Aycock, who history shows was a white supremacist. The cost to repair the monuments is $23,000. Officials say they’ve raised over two-thirds of the funding thus far.

            Wake county school administrators are recommending that Walnut Creek Elementary and eight other elementary schools in the system be converted from traditional to year-round calendars by next August. If approved, it would be the largest expansion of the year-round program in a decade. Those schools include Fox Road, Bugg, Lyn Road, Brentwood, Creech Road, East Garner, Smith, and Lincoln Heights Elementary.

            Officials want all nine to placed in the Elementary Support Model Program, which gives extra assistance to  schools on Track Four calendars with low test scores. Three other Wake elementary schools – Barwell Road, Wilburn and Hodge Road, are already year-round and will be part of the program. Some parents have threatened to take their children out because of concerns about the change from traditional calendar.


            [DURHAM]  On Jan. 25th, attorneys for the NCNAACP and other plaintiffs will return to federal court in Winston-Salem to challenge the NC Legislature’s 2013 voter photo ID provision. That aspect of the voter restrictions Republican lawmakers passed was removed from the original trial last July. Prior to that proceeding, realizing that voter ID may be struck down, lawmakers softened some of the restrictions. Now, voters without a government-issued photo ID will still be allowed to vote as long as they can provide some limited identification. However, Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP says, that is still unconstitutional, and they are prepared to prove it.
            “Since the start of this fight, we have maintained that the photo ID requirement is discriminatory and should not be implemented,” Rev. Barber told reporters Tuesday during a press conference in Durham. He added that it will be important for voters to understand the voter ID changes prior to the March 15th primaries.

            [RALEIGH] Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says the reason why an annual state report on charter schools was not released was because the “statistical data was too negative.” Published reports indicate that , according to the state report, "the overall charter schools student population is more white and less Hispanic than the overall traditional school population." In addition, charter schools did not educate as many poor students as traditional schools did. Forest was upset that there was nothing positive about charter schools in the report. Authors of the report say it is objective and factual.


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