Monday, May 30, 2016




            First District Congressman G.K. Butterfield issued a statement last week upon the death of former Durham City Councilman A. J. Howard Clement, III: “It is with great sadness that I mourn the passing of my dear friend for more than 40 years, A.J. Howard Clement, III. Throughout his 30 years in elected office, Howard was able to relate to all segments of the Durham community. Before serving on the City Council, Howard Clement was a strong leader with Durham’s civil rights movement, often mentoring North Carolina Central University students who were participants. I was a beneficiary of his counsel. Durham is a better community because of the life and work of A.J. Howard Clement, III. A.J. Howard Clement, III retired from public service in 2013 as the longest-serving member of the Durham City Council.

            The son of Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck – Brown has been arrested again. David Brown, 24, was reportedly arrested last week on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle. Brown was arrested last July, charged with leaving a bar without paying his tab. At the time Brown said there ws a dispute about hat wa owed. He turned himself in after he was accused.

            Because of mistakes made by poll workers during the March 15th primaries, hundreds of Durham voters will get a chance to cast their ballots again on an upcoming date. The State Board of Elections ordered the revote for roughly 1, 039 voters  who originally cast ballots that were not counted or misplaced. The State Board of Elections has contacted those voters affected. The board assures that even with th revote, none of the March primary results will change.


RALEIGH] Which congressional and NC Supreme Court judicial candidates will appear on the November 8th general election ballot this fall? Voters will decide during the special North Carolina June 7th  primary election next week. The NC General Assembly voted to change the date of the congressional and state High Court primaries from March 15th after a federal appellate panel ruled last February that the First and Twelfth congressional districts were racially gerrymandered, drawn unconstitutionally and needed to be changed and approved. Beyond the congressional candidates, there are four candidates for the state Supreme Court, the two highest votegetters of which will go on to compete for the open High Court seat in November.

            [RALEIGH] If state Senate leaders have their way, North Carolnians will once again see their income taxes cut, the average teacher will see their annual pay balloon to $54,000 annually, and state law enforcement will also see fatter pay checks. And the $500.00-a-semester bill, which if enacted, would cost five small UNC schools, including Winston-Salem State University, Elizabeth City State University and FayetteState University, an estimated $70 million, is alo in the Senate proposal. The Senate is expected to pass its over $22 billion  budget proposal Friday morning. The House is expected to follow suit after it releases its budget for the coming fiscal year.

            [CHARLOTTE] Health insurers like Blue Cross – Blue Shield havge e indicated that they will charge their customers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) 18.8 percent more for coverage in 2017.Th Aetna Insurance Company seeks to charge North Carolina policyholders 24.5 percent more next year. Cigna would also offer coverage, but on  limited scale in North Carolina.  If approved by the NC Insurance Commissioner, the new rate s would go into effect Jan. 1st, 2017.

By Cash Michaels

I HAD CANCER – The last time I had anything published by me to our readers was March 10th, 2016…thirteen long weeks ago. Seems like a lifetime now, because Lord knows I’ve been through a lot in the past three months.
You’ll recall that In November 2014, I had a massive stroke that temporarily disabled my left leg and slightly impaired my left arm. Well, with GOD’s blessing and your prayers I worked my way back from that debilitating episode and was able to rehab my self back 98 percent.
But as bad as that challenging health episode was, this was worse. Much worse, and dangerous  too.
After a very vigorous January and February running around the state doing screenings of our documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten,” I began to feel quite rundown. My body felt like it was breaking down, and it seemed like I was having a bad case of winter bronchitis. Plus I was experiencing a very painful growth  on my left leg that was turning red, with no explanation, making it difficult to walk. To make matters worse, my eyesight had become blurry. I was in such bad shape, I took the wife’s advice and went to the local emergency room.
After a few hours of tests, the emergency room attendant came back with a most unexpected diagnosis – I had acute leukemia – a certain form of blood cancer better known as AML.
How did I contract this? No one knows. As best we know no one gets it through smoking, eating meat, or any of the other cancer-causing activities we’re familiar with. It just happens. That was shock number one. Number two was I could not be treated there, and had to be immediately rushed to  UNC Cancer Hospitals in Chapel Hill. It was there doctors determined that my bone marrow was not creating white blood cells as it was supposed to, but rather deformed blood cells  that were cancerous in nature and threatened to out number the white blood cells, which are normally responsible for fighting off infection.
In other words, my immune system was being seriously compromised, meaning that my ability to ward off attacking bacteria and viruses put me in immediate peril. I had to undergo four weeks of very intense chemotherapy, 12-hour sessions that saw me lose much of my facial hair, upwards of thirty pounds and left me bedridden for a lot of that time.
I had to stop all of my work and projects. It was perhaps one of the toughest experiences of my 60 years of living. I was in a constant state of confusion and depression. Confusion because my life had gone from zero to 60 in five seconds without any rhyme or reason. Usually when something bad happens to me, I have sense enough to connect the dots immediately afterwards and realize that I did it to myself. Not eating properly, not enough rest, not paying strict attention to the health warning signs, etc.
But acute leukemia doesn’t work that way. For reasons that are still unknown to science, it just happens. Luckily, the doctors and nurses at UNC Cancer Research know what they’re doing, and are always searching for new answers. It took a while for m to understand and appreciate that. And in the beginning I had no idea how dire my situation was. All I knew, literally, was that I was being hit with a pile-driving truck  of which I had no idea was coming my way. My first thoughts were of my family, an how to explain all that I was feeling and concerned about to my two daughters – Tiffany (my oldest who immediately dropped everything in Washington, D.C. to spend time with me during my first tortuous week in the hospital)  and KaLa, my 13-year-old who was seeing her father suffer like never before.
There’s no pretty way of telling your kids that “I have cancer and I don’t know what the future holds,” but I had to find a way through tears and prayers, in hopes that no matter what happened, they could learn from my experience, and hopefully remember me fondly through it.
I could not have asked for more love and support from those two if I had begged for it. They made me such a proud father, and gave me the strength and courage to hang in there come what may.
And then there is my wife, Markita, who has been a rock from the moment we were both told that I had the deadly disease. I could not, and cannot ask more of her given how much love, time and effort she has devoted to my welfare from the very beginning of all of this. From my weakest moments to my very best, she has been my greatest cheerleader, holding the torch high, and keeping our family together while I concentrated on dealing with an unspeakable certainty. There can be never any doubt that if ever the tables were turned, and GOD gave me the strength, I would completely have the back of my wife and life-partner. I could simply do no less.
My experience at UNC was a very dark period personally, because I truly didn’t know what I was dealing with or what the future held. I literally felt like an old rug as I went through long chemotherapy sessions, was asked thousands of questions, given countless pills and medications, had to be helped with bathing and bathroom and just plain walking an even talking. The few times I saw myself in a mirror, I was horrified as to the ghastly physical change. The chemo had so changed my body chemistry, I couldn’t eat food because the thrush that had formed in my mouth and the glandular changes to my taste buds were so stark an dramatic. I was literally a different, weaker human being.
Lots of things were happening in the news – the presidential primary elections, the furor over HB2, the emergence of Donald Trump – and yet I cared about none of it, in fact I didn’t watch TV or read any news. All I cared about was the welfare of my family and how long would they keep me in the hospital. And when would someone clearly explain to me what was happening to me. To their credit, the UNC doctors – young, bright, knowledgable – were coming in every morning to explain, and let me know where they thought I should be, but I was having a hard time understanding any of it because I was going through so, so much. This is where I have to give the UNC nurses their props. I’ve never seen a such a well-trained, disciplined group of caring professionals like the UNC nurses and nursing assistants. Truth be told, beyond my family, with the UNC crew, I would not have made it. They took over every need that I had, and made me trust them.
It wasn’t long before my initial four weeks were up, and I was allowed to go home to my family. A bone marrow biopsy afterwards showed that all of the suffering I experienced was worth it. There was no sign of my cancer in my marrow. I now had to undergo a series of comparatively short chemo treatments  until the end of July  (three weeks home/one week in-hospital each month) to ensure that I remain in remission . My doctors tell me I have 60 percent of a permanent cure if I can remain cancer-free for five years at least.
And so I eagerly return to work this week after over three months away. I’m excited to be back, and am most thankful, and grateful for the prayers, love and support I’ve received from my friends, colleagues and community. All of the special cards and well-wishes I received in the mail and through Facebook , you have no idea how much you lifted my spirits.
I’m back at work now because once I felt my physical strength and clarity of purpose return, plus I had mentality and spiritually embraced this new challenge in a life full of them for me, I realized that having too much time on my hands without something to do with it was a dangerous thing. Though I will be on limited duty for a while, as long as my brain and heart still work, I believe I can still be of some service to you, our readers.
Again, I thank my family, the medical staffs that worked on me, my publishers and colleagues, supportive friends, and certainly my Lord and Savior to getting me through this latest challenge, and preparing me for the next.
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.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            A decisive US Supreme Court ruling last week regarding the unconstitutional elimination of black jurors by Georgia prosecutors from a capital case over 30 years ago has clear implications for numerous cases currently being considered in the North Carolina court system, say legal experts.
            By a 7-1 decision (the dissenting vote coming from the High Court’s only black jurist, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas), the Supreme Court determined in the case of Timothy Tyrone Foster, a black defendant convicted by an all-white jury of killing a white woman, that prosecutors’ notes confirmed four prospective black jurors were deliberately kept off to ensure a conviction. Subsequent Georgia courts would not rule that this was racially motivated despite the written evidence.
             Several recent North Carolina cases have shown similar prosecutors’ notes in capital cases involving black defendants to produce all-white juries , and observers believe the High Court ruling now strengthens arguments for those defendants seeking new trials, if not having their sentences commuted because of proven prosecutorial racial bias.
            In North Carolina, there has been a long and sordid history of racial discrimination in the selection of jurors,” says attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham and chairman of the NC NAACP Legal Redress Committee. “This discrimination has negatively impacted a large number of African American defendants. The use of this discriminatory practice has been deeply engrained within the prosecutorial culture and has ruled the jury selection process. In the Foster decision, the U.S. Supreme Court loudly proclaimed that this practice violates the constitution and must cease. The sad thing is that Timothy Tyrone Foster spent 30 years in a Georgia prison before he could establish that this discrimination likely impacted the outcome of his trial.”
            According to Ken Rose, senior attorney at The Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, “Lawyers who specialize in the death penalty say the ruling will give many death-sentenced men and women new rights to bring forward evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection at their own trials. Such evidence is usually barred if it is not introduced during the initial trial.”
            Attorney Rose continued, “The ruling will also compel North Carolina courts to more vigorously enforce laws that prohibit race discrimination in jury selection. The N.C. Supreme Court has heard more than 100 cases where prosecutors were accused of intentionally striking minority jurors, but it has never found a prosecutor’s explanation for striking a black juror to be a cover for race discrimination, despite compelling evidence that the practice of excluding black jurors is prevalent.”
            In Georgia’s Foster case, prosecutors’ notes showed the letter “B” written next to the four black prospective jurors’ names to ensure that they would be dismissed during uncontested preemptory challenges.
            In North Carolina, there has been much worse.
            In Cumberland County, prosecutors wrote “blk wino” and “blk high drug neighborhood” next to the names of some prospective jurors in one case.
In a Forsyth County case, all of the prospective black jurors were kicked off a jury except one who had indicated he had attended a  “multi-racial church” and went to “predominately white schools.”
In fact, ten pardons of innocence were granted by then NC Gov. Beverly Perdue in December 2012 in the infamous Wilmington Ten case because, similar to the Georgia injustice, prosecutors’ notes ultimately revealed that several black jurors were purposely kept off the Ten’s 1972 jury.
These and many other examples of North Carolina violations were cited in legal briefs contained in written arguments used in the Foster case.
Both attorneys Rose and Joyner say last week’s High Court decision strengthened the reason why North Carolina once instituted the 2009 Racial Justice Act, a law which ferreted out racial bias during jury selection in capital cases until the Republican-led NC General Assembly repealed it in 2013.
When these practices have been challenged in the North Carolina Supreme Court, our justices have refused to overturn these suspect convictions,” says Prof. Joyner.  “The Foster decision should now encourage attorneys in this state to aggressively challenge prosecutors who discriminate against racial minorities during jury selection and hopefully will result in our courts becoming more respectful of the rights of racial minorities to serve on juries. 
Joyner added, “It is also revolting that the only dissenting vote cast in the Foster case belonged to [Justice] Clarence Thomas who felt that this decision will encourage other people who were victims of this type discrimination to now challenge their convictions.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The NCNAACP and other plaintiffs have appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to stay a federal judge’s April 25 ruling dismissing their lawsuit against Gov. McCrory and the NC General Assembly for their passage of the 2013 voter ID law, until all appeals have been exhausted.
            A copy of the appeal was obtained last week. Along with the NCNAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, and Louis M. Duke are also listed as plaintiffs on the case.
            According to the appeal, the stay “…would keep in place this Court’s prior injunction forbidding Defendants from  eliminating same-day registration and  refusing to count out-of-precinct provisional ballots” in addition to keeping in place the portion of the law that reduced the early voting period by a week.
            The stay, however, if granted, would not apply to the court’s April 25th decision to allow voter photo identification.
            “With respect to photo ID, while Plaintiffs believe they have a likelihood of success on the merits on this claim and that voters will be irreparably harmed if the photo ID requirement is in effect in the November 2016 presidential election, plaintiffs believe that if and when they prevail on the photo ID claim, implementation of the Court’s order will be straightforward and simple: the requirement will simply fall away and voters will no longer be asked to show photo ID at the polls in order to vote, the NCNAACP appeal states.
            Plaintiffs also say they believe “they have a likelihood of success in the Court reinstituting voter preregistration for 16 and 17 year-olds,” and thus, are not asking the appellate court to grant an injunction of the judge’s order striking that program as part of the voter ID law.
Same-day registration and counting out-of-precinct provisional balloting will be in force now through June 4th during the early voting period for the June 7th congressional and NC Supreme Court primaries next week.


by Cash Michaels

            To Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca [Hendersonville], his Senate Bill 873, also known as the “Access to Affordable College Education Act” is the perfect prescription for allowing worthy in-state students, beginning in the fall of 2018, to be enrolled in five UNC System universities at a reduced $500.00 per semester.
            N.C. A & T University and North Carolina Central University would get special state-supported merit scholarships to attract the brightest students,  Apodaca adds.
            To the members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus, NC NAACP, and especially alums of beloved smaller institutions like Winston-Salem State University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, UNC – Pembroke and Western Carolina University,  Apodaca’s bill is just another sneaky way Republican lawmakers are trying to either close UNC schools with legacies of serving primarily communities of color, or at least rewrite those legacies, and with them, their histories and traditions.
            Apodaca is an alum of predominantly-white Western Carolina University. The Charlotte Observer charged that WCU “…is thrown in to disguise the bill’s racist intentions.”
            “Sounds good on the surface,” wrote State Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue  [D-Wake] on his May 15th Facebook page. “But read the fine print to realize that there are provisions in this bill that target HBCUs, with the Legislature tasked with evaluating an institution’s diversity standards.
            Opponents point to language in SB873 calling for “a study of the impact of each university’s name on the institution’s academic strength, enrollment and diversity.”
            The bill would effectively legislate a name change for most of the UNC system’s HCBUs unless they can attract a more racially mixed student body,” charged Blue NC, a progressive website. “GOP members of the legislature aren't looking to improve academics or diversity in the UNC system, nor are they interested in making college more affordable for students. They view the HCBUs as a political threat - they are institutions that have historically played a large part in civil rights actions, such as the lunch counter sit-ins of the sixties, and where awareness of minority issues are a key part of their contribution today.”
            If not closed, opponents of SB 873 see at least the three small black schools being turned into community colleges.
            The Charlotte Observer called Apodaca’s bill “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
            Many UNC System HBCU supporters say there’s no way any of the HBCUs will be able to grow or sustain with a severely reduced tuition base. Without revenue from other reliable sources, like research grants, those schools will find themselves on the constant brink of closing.
            “This legislation would essentially convert the minority campuses into inexpensive magnet schools for privileged and racial majority populations, with the net effect of displacing African American and Native American students, thereby fundamentally altering the traditional mission of the four named minority schools,” stated a letter from the UNC Faculty Assembly to UNC System President Margaret Spellings and several state lawmakers.
            “We need to make sure we write, we call and we email,” Patti Sanders Smith, president of the HBCU Coalition of Pitt County, was quoted by The Daily Reflector telling those attending a recent meeting last week.
“We don’t know when this bill is going to pass,” the WSSU alumna added. You know how [state lawmakers] are; they like to pass stuff in the middle of the night.” 
So it was no surprise that opposing groups organized quickly, holding a press conference at the state Legislature and rallying at the Halifax Mall in Raleigh Wednesday to denounce the measure.
"This bill is classic underdevelopment. Once again the extremists use a false label to cover up the truth. This bill is not about making college more affordable," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, NC NAACP president. "Instead it is an attack on HBCUs and minority universities that will drain millions of dollars from them with no replacement revenue. Like the extremists' voucher and voter suppression schemes, this is just another scheme to further the extremist agenda."
   “This bill attacks people of color directly,” Rev. Barber added. “The goal is clear. Disperse these centers of cultural, intellectual and political power for our small -- but rapidly growing --leadership cadre. Disrupt the mission of HBCU's by bankrupting them.” 
Last week, the Senate Legislative Education and Appropriations committees signed off on the proposed bill, but not before certain changes were made, like the removal of the diversity provision that could change an institution’s name.
Sen. Apodaca reportedly “promised” during the education committee hearing that the UNC System budget would see an extra $70 million -$80 million to make up for the expected tuition shortfall.
He also stated that, “We have no desire to close any of our universities in our system.”
Still, there are those who don’t trust Apodaca, and are leery of the fact that this Legislature cannot not make promises that future NC General Assemblies have to keep.
The NC Legislative Black Caucus went on record May 26th opposing SB873, saying in a press release, “[NCLBC] members have heard many concerns of residents from across the state… . We will strongly oppose the closing of any HBCUs in the UNC System or any legislation which dilutes the rich cultural experiences at these important institutions.”
The NCLBC statement continued, “We support the full and sustainable funding of our HBCUs, remain skeptical, but willing to engage in discussion.”
Saying that he was getting a lot of concerned calls about the measure, state Sen. Paul Lowe Jr. [D – Winston-Salem] proposed that the $500.00 tuition feature of Apodaca’s bill be tried out as a pilot program first, but the Hendersonville Republican refused.
“I have a lot of apprehension about this bill,” Sen. Lowe replied. “It has a lot of moving parts that make me uneasy at this point.”
Reportedly, Sen. Blue has already had discussions with key Senate and House leaders about further changes needed for the bill to be acceptable to Democrats, in addition to conversations with UNC President Spellings and several UNC chancellors.
Some of those chancellors are expected to render their thoughts thi week
The overall bill, if passed, would guarantee no tuition hike for any student attending a UNC System school if they finish in four years. It would also lower tuition to $2500.00 for all out-of-state students at the five designated schools.


The sponsor of the controversial Senate bill 873 that would reduce college tuition to $500.00-per-semester at five small UNC universities, removed Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University from that list, leaving UNC – Pembroke and Western Carolina University. Critics, led by the NC Legislative Black Caucus, the NC NAACP, and alums and students  of HBCUs, blasted  the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Apodaca [R- Hendersonville], for allegedly trying a “backdoor” way of closing the schools, or at least turning them into community colleges.  Apodaca denied the charge, saying that he only wanted to increase enrollment at the UNC schools.