Monday, January 23, 2012


    This is NOT the first time director Spike Lee has gone off on somebody in public when he's asked about how he finances his films. In 1989 at Duke University in Durham, Lee was holding a presser. I was covering for WAUG-AM. I asked him how much the black community contributes towards financing his films ( it was a few days after he lost the Oscar for "Do the Right Thing" ), and Spike cussed me out royally for asking! Later outside, I was speaking with some of my St. Aug students when Anika Phifer (now an FB friend) saw Spike Lee coming up behind me, and said, "Uh oh!" I turned around, saw Lee, and didn't know what to expect. He apologized, saying that the subject was touchy with him, and he's always having to fight for financing! I still have the presser on tape, and will post it shortly. It's a piece of history! 


     On Sunday, January 22, 2012, I had the opportunity to debate perhaps one of the most powerful political operatives in North Carolina, if not the nation, attorney Art Pope, owner of Variety Wholesalers, Inc., on the Spectacular Magazine Radio Show on WRDU-FM 106.1.
     Much has been said and written about Mr. Pope, particularly about his Republican conservative politics, associations with infamous right-wing characters like the Tea Party; the industrialists, the Koch Brothers; and the organization Americans for Prosperity - all vehemently anti-liberal, anti-Democratic Party, and certainly anti-President Barack Obama.

    A week earlier, on Sunday, January 15th, Mr. Pope debated Chris Kromm of the Institute of Southern Studies. Chris has investigated Pope with zeal, even creating a website to update his reports on Mr. Pope's activities.

   The two went at it pretty good then, with Chris chiding Mr. Pope for essentially installing the Republican-led NC General Assembly in Nov. 2010 by way of his tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to at least 19 GOP candidates. Pope, in turn countered that he hasn't done anything that Democrats and liberal campaign donors haven't also done.

    After their heated two-hour debate, Chris and Pope agreed to come back on Jan. 22 for part 2, but at the last minute, Chris couldn't make it, so I was asked to step in.

   I accepted.

   So what you're about to hear now is a recording of the debate I had with Art Pope about his politics, his ownership of discount stores in the black community, and what he does with the money from those stores.

   This is not an aircheck from over the air, but rather a recording from inside the studio, so you won't hear commercials (edited out), and you'll barely hear callers. But you will hear hosts Phyllis Coley and Gary Jones, Mr. Pope and myself very clearly.



Friday, January 6, 2012



By Cash Michaels

            Because of poor diets, heavy drinking, smoking, and chronic acid reflux, more African-Americans than whites proportionately suffer and die from esophageal (or throat) cancer in this country every year.
            But the deadly disease can also strike what seems to be a perfectly healthy man.
            Dr. Alice Garrett knows. Her beloved husband, Bobby, died of it in December 2008.
He had walked religiously for exercise for years, and had stopped smoking twenty-years earlier. There was the occasional acid reflux, which Garrett went to his doctor to have treated.
But when he lost his voice introducing his son as church one day, Garrett knew something was wrong. Garrett says her husband’s cancer started in the throat area, but spread throughout his neck. He lived with it for eleven years before he died.
Once her husband was diagnosed in 1997 (doctors told Bobby Garrett that the cancer had been dormant in him for 25 years), caring for him became the Garrett family’s center of their universe, making sure that Bobby Garrett was not alone through the ordeal.
             Part of that process had Dr. Garrett and her children immediately partner with the
the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Research Center in Chapel Hill, to ensure that her husband received the best care and treatment.
            Indeed, when Garrett saw how many people, and how much effort on the part of the Lineberger doctors and staff to treat her husband and others, she felt compelled to find an effective way to give back to the cause of fighting the disease.
            “I wanted to help others, and make sure that the community was made better aware of this cancer that is considered a “silent killer,” Dr. Garrett told The Carolinian.
Esophageal Cancer is a cancerous malignant tumor of the esophagus, the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach.
            Black men are more likely, scientific research has determined, than any other group, including women, to contract and die from the disease. Black woman are, however, growing in percentages.
            On average, patients live five years after being initially being diagnosed.
            If caught early, esophageal cancer can be treated. But in an estimated 70 percent of the cases, by the time it is diagnosed, the disease is in its late stages. As with most cancers, it is then too late to effectively implement treatment.
            As the cancerous tumor grows in the throat, symptoms include difficulty swallowing causing pain and discomfort while eating; the sensation of food being consistently stuck in your throat; sudden weight loss; pain in the throat or chest; hoarseness or cough.
            In 2005, Dutch researchers studying the epidemiology of the disease in the United States, noted in The Journal of Clinical Oncology that a survey of Medicare records for over 3000 elderly patients with esophageal cancer determined that black were 50 percent less likely to have life-prolonging surgery for it, or even consulting a surgeon, than whites, thus increasing the likelihood of death.
            Bobby Garrett got the best treatment possible at the Lineberger Center, Dr. Alice Garrett says, noting that the staff and doctors were extraordinary caring, and always involved the family in any crucial decisions that had to be made.
            Even when it was clear that there wasn’t anything left to be done that would definitively prolong Bobby Garrett’s life, the Lineberger staff went the extra mile to make sure that his family was with him when his time came.
For the past 3 years in December, Garrett and her family have sponsored the Bobby F. Garrett Esophageal Cancer Benefit Gospel Concert at St. Matthew AME Church in Raleigh to both raise awareness of the deadly disease, and funds in the African-American community to help the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Research Center find a cure.
            “Esophagus Cancer is the least funded cancer of all known cancers in the United States,” Dr. Garrett says. “In our communities we often give to benefits and participate in groups but rarely do we step out and start something that can be identified within our communities.  Our giving is most often couched under the umbrella of well established organizations and benefits.”
            The Garretts also make time to speak to churches and civic groups about the cancer, sharing their personal experiences and passing out informative literature. They also mail out hundreds of solicitation letters, seeking donations.
            They make sure to tell people not to take things like sore throats and acid reflex for granted.
If there is “good news” in all of this, it’s that the mortality rates for African-Americans due to esophageal cancer have been going down for the past 20 years, even though they are still higher than for whites, according to the National Cancer Institute.
People are surviving what was once a sure killer. But the research continues, and Dr. Garrett says thus, more funding is needed.
Even though the next benefit concert won’t be until next December, the Garrett family’s awareness and fundraising efforts are year-round. The Lineberger Center has established a special website at that contains both the latest information on care and treatments, as well as accept online donations.
Checks with tax deductible donations for the cause may also be sent to “Garrett Benefit,” 1607 East Martin St. Raleigh, NC 27610. Please write Garrett Benefit on the memo line.
All proceeds from the Garrett benefit efforts go to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill, which has partnered with the Garrett family.
To contribute time to help further educate the community about esophageal cancer, please contact Dr. Alice Garrett at

Monday, January 2, 2012


by Cash Michaels

            It was a year of great loss, and great political showdowns. And as it draws to a close, the nation, and the African-American community are left to wonder what it all meant for the future of the nation, and the world.
We look back at 2011, the highs and lows that impacted all of us through a black perspective, to see what it all means as we also look ahead to what promises to be an extraordinary and historic year in 2012, when North Carolina becomes the first and only state ever to host the re-nomination of an African-American as president of the United States.


                                          Former NC State Auditor Ralph Campbell Jr, 64, dies after a long bout with cancer. Retired US Army Brigadier General Anthony Tata, hired in December 2010 as the new Wake Public School System superintendent, begins his tenure amid controversy by the Republican-led Wake School Board, which is intent on implementing its neighborhood schools policy.
            In Arizona, a crazed gunman at a shopping center kills six people, including a six-year-old child, and critically injures US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Giffords, who was shot in the brain, would make a remarkable recovery through intense rehabilitation later in the year. Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, decides not to run for re-election.
            A North Carolina woman, who allegedly kidnapped an infant child from Harlem Hospital in 1987, turned herself into the FBI in Connecticut, confessing to the crime. The ABC Board in New Hanover County is the target of both state and federal probes, confirmed the NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
            According to Public Policy Polling, 49 percent of North Carolinians favor President Barack Obama, while 47 percent disapprove.
            After eight contentious years, Keith Olbermann leaves MSNBC, and six months later continues his popular “Countdown” program on the fledgling Current TV cable channel.
And talk show queen Oprah Winfrey premieres her Oprah Winfrey Network cable channel as the countdown for the end of her popular syndicated TV talk show begins.


First Lady Michelle Obama officially announces that Charlotte will be the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Raleigh City Council voted to ban smoking in city-owned parks. Police can now legally do DNA swabs of all suspects arrested for violent crimes, and keep the results in a statewide database.
The new Republican-led NC General Assembly convenes, promising to make massive budget cuts, and to pass a voter ID law that would restrict voters of color, young people and the elderly. In Egypt, the citizenry rise up amid violence to take control of their government from long time dictator President Hosni Mubarek.
A white supremacist group threatens to take legal action against the city of Charlotte, alleging that two city officials convince the Sheraton Hotel there to cancel the booking for the group’s conference.
In Ohio, a black mother is jailed because she sent her daughter to a better public school outside the district they legally live in. In Raleigh, the NCNAACP and its coalition partners, joined by national NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, conducts the fifth annual HK on J March and Rally.
US Census shows blacks are moving back down South from the North in record numbers since 1960. Black leaders, however, fear that with the Republican-takeover of Congress in the November 2010 midterm elections, GOP-led legislatures across the nation will redrawn their voting districts to limit black voting strength for the 2012 presidential elections.
National unemployment figures show 34.5 percent of black males are jobless.
Herman Cain, a black Republican 2012 presidential hopeful, blasts liberals for wanting to make America weak.
In a pre-Super Bowl interview, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly tells Pres. Obama that people “hate” him, and the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.


Garner High School’s Scotty McCreery makes the first cut on the popular “American Idol” television show. Shaw University wins both the men’s and women’s championship at the CIAA basketball Tournament in Charlotte. The National Hockey League All-Star Weekend draws 19,000 to Raleigh, spending $11.4 million in the area.
NC State Wolfpack basketball Coach Sidney Lowe resigns.
The Lady Shaw Bears fall to Metro State in their first NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearance. Still, Gov. Beverly Perdue honors all of the championship Shaw Bears teams to the Governor’s Mansion.
80’s disco singer Loleatta Holloway dies at age 64.
Geraldine Ferraro, first woman ever to run on a national ticket for president of the United States in 1984 with Walter Mondale, dies at 75.
Polls show North Carolinians split on Obamacare, with 41 percent for and 39 percent against. The NCNAACP brings buses of members from across the state to lobby the Republican-led General Assembly not to drastically cut the budget for the poor, or implement a voter ID law.
Parts of Japan are devastated in the aftermath of a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, as 30-foot waves destroyed villages and cities, thousands of people killed, and several nuclear power plants are damaged, spreading radiation.
President Barack Obama orders US planes to join in coalition with other NATO nations in bombing the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Khadafi.
Democratic support grows for a bi-partisan bill to pardon Gov. William Holden, the first NC governor ever to be impeached from office 140 years ago.
Millionaire Donald Trump hammers Pres. Obama about his birth certificate, and hints that he may run for president.
Sandra Dubose-Gibson, who suffers from a hair loss disease, becomes the first bald woman to be crowned Mrs. Black North Carolina.


Famed Black Studies scholar Dr. Manning Marable dies at age 60.
Popular ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, a UNC-Chapel Hill alum, is reportedly battling cancer.
Tornadoes strike parts of North Carolina, and damaging the campuses of Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh.
Amid battles with the Republican-led Congress over budget cuts and a possible government shutdown, Pres. Obama is also under fire from members of the Congressional Black Caucus for ignoring black unemployment and other issues.
NCNAACP and other progressive groups blast a state House bill to repeal the 2009 NC Racial Justice Act.
In an exclusive interview, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile, urged African-Americans to continue to support President Barack Obama, even if at times, they find themselves disagreeing with his policies.
Presenting a copy of his original long form birth certificate, President Obama tells reporters it was time for the birther “silliness” to end, and he called people like Donald Trump “carnival barkers” for pushing it.
Rev. Al Sharpton and Prof. Cornel West angrily argue on MSNBC over what Pres. Obama has done for the African-American community. Filmmakers Spike Lee and Tyler Perry also snipe back and forth, with Lee calling some of Perry’s characters like Madea “coonery,” and Perry responding that Lee should “Go straight to hell.” Later in the year, Perry is named one of the richest people in Hollywood.
Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker announces that he will not seek an unprecedented sixth term in office.
Hundreds of teachers and  employees with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School System begin to get emailed layoff notices.


On Sunday evening, May 1, President Obama shocks the world by announcing that US Navy Seals have captured and killed Al Queda terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan. Americans celebrate in the streets, while Bush Administration officials, who failed in seven years to even locate bin Laden, try to take credit.
The NC Legislative Black Caucus and the NCNAACP decry the massive budget cuts to education and social services by the GOP-led General Assembly. Durham Rep. H. M. Mickey Michaux accuses the Republicans of “the total destruction of public education.”
Days later, saying that North Carolina is a “state in emergency,” Rev. Barber and other NCNAACP members are arrested at the General Assembly building for disrupting the state House while it was in session.
Weeks after tornadoes ripped the campus of Shaw University, classes have been cancelled for the remainder of the Spring Semester, and hundreds of volunteers assist in massive cleanup efforts. Classes at hard-hit St. Augustine’s College have not been cancelled, as cleanup efforts proceed there as well.
President Obama, under fire for not doing enough to alleviate high unemployment in the African-American community, meets with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the White House.
The Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation announces plans for the Wash., D.C. dedication for August 28.
After 25 years, Oprah Winfrey ends her groundbreaking syndicated TV talk show, now devoting full time to her OWN cable channel.
Garner’s Scotty McCreery wins “American Idol.”
Reports say that federal officials will seek indictments against former Sen. John Edwards for using funds from his 2008 presidential campaign to pay off his mistress, Rielle Hunter, who was pregnant with his child.
The GOP-led New Hanover County Public School Board votes 5-2 to close D. C. Virgo Middle School, and make application to convert it into a charter school academy.
D.D. Garrett, long time Pitt County NAACP leader, dies at age 96.
Shaw University students begin summer session classes five weeks after tornadoes tear up their campus.
Princeton University Professor Cornel West calls Pres. Obama “a black mascot” and “black puppet” of the rich.
Members of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association say they want President Dan Coleman out.
US Postal officials want to close the Century Post Office in downtown Raleigh to save money, but are urged to reconsider.
Parents tell officials with the US Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights during a hearing at Martin Street Baptist Church that they fear the Republican majority of the Wake School Board will create new high poverty schools with their neighborhood schools policy.
District 4 Wake School Board member Keith Sutton says he wants the Democrats to take back control of the board during the October elections, adding that it would return “civility” to that body. Meanwhile the board votes 6-2 to cut 174 clerical positions in the system to save $5.4 million.
District 3 school board member Kevin Hill announces he’ll seek a second term.
Meanwhile Wake Supt. Tata allows the public to weigh in on the incomplete “green” and “blue” student assignment plans. Tata says he prefers the blue school choice plan, though it’s far from finished.


Members of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association want controversial president Dan Coleman out.
The NY Times reports that North Carolina is just one of many states under Republican legislatures trying to implement voter ID laws that will restrict black voting rights.
After weeks of speculation, NY Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner finally admits that he conducting inappropriate relationships online with women for three years - both before and after his marriage. It all blew up in Weiner’s face when a picture of a man’s bulging shorts was sent from his Twitter account, and he began lying to the media about whether it was him, and whether he actually sent the picture. Weiner, a staunch liberal, soon stepped down.
The NC House passes a resolution honoring the life and memory of former State Auditor Ralph Campbell Jr.
Former imprisoned Black Panther Geronimo Pratt dies at 63.
A defiant GOP General Assembly passes a $19.7 billion budget, complete with steep cuts in education, and defies Gov. Perdue to veto it.
President Obama visits Durham’s Cree, Inc., says US economy will recover.
Veteran civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis, one of the original Wilmington Ten, says he may move back to Granville County to challenge conservative Democrat Rep. Jim Crawford in the 2012 elections.
The Dallas Mavericks defeat LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals to win the championship.
Conservative GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has already raised eyebrows saying that he would not appoint a Muslim to his Cabinet if elected, refuses to be referred to as an African-American, saying he preferred, “American.”
Former MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann moved his popular “Countdown” program to Current TV.
Several victims and victims’ relatives went before the Governor’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force, telling their heartfelt stories of being sterilized by the state when they were children.
First Lady Michelle Obama, on a trip to South Africa, visits former South African President Nelson Mandela.
NCSU Wolfpack basketball great Lorenzo Charles, who tipped in the basketball to win the 1983 NCAA Championship, died when the charter bus that he drove crashed on I-40. He was 47.
Gov. Perdue vetoes the Republican-backed voter ID and abortion laws, saying that they would take North Carolina backwards.
The General Assembly releases its redistricting maps, which “stacks-and-packs” black voters into a few minority-majority districts, thus leaving Democrats vulnerable to Republican defeat for the next decade.
Wake Supt. Tata calls for the hiring of more black teachers for a system where just over 50 percent of the enrolled 143,000 students are nonwhite.
Education Week magazine reports that of the fifty largest public school systems in the nation, Wake County had the third best graduation rate in the nation at 78.2 percent, while Charlotte-Mecklenburg had the 30th best.
Democratic Wake School Board members Dr. Carolyn Morrison and Dr. Anne McLaurin announce that they will not seek reelection to their respective seats.
Former interim Wake Schools Supt. Donna Hargens is hired to lead the Louisville, Kentucky public schools, despite doubts about her expressed by the local NAACP there.


State Democrats and the NCNAACP blast the Republican redistricting maps, and promise litigation.
Winston-Salem State University cuts eleven full-time employees due to mandated state budget cuts. Others schools in the UNC System also trim their workforce and cancel programs.
Amid national anger, the jury in the Casey Anthony renders not guilty verdict in the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.
The Republican-dominated US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sent a previous Kinston, NC lawsuit challenging Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act back to Federal District Court in North Carolina, ruling that plaintiffs have the right to challenge the constitutionality of the VRA. The case, titled LaRoque v Holder, evolved from the US Justice Dept. not approving a 2009 Kinston voter referendum to change from partisan to nonpartisan city elections for City Council, saying that doing so harmed the rights of black voters. Several plaintiffs sued the Justice Dept., but a federal judge dismissed it, citing lack of standing and cause of action. But a three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court reinstated the lawsuit, sending it back to federal court.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns Fox News, closes its British newspaper, “The News of the World,” after it is alleged that reporters for the paper hacked into the private cellphone records of citizens, celebrities, murder and kidnap victims, and their families. The British government opened an investigation.
Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. rules that the Republican-led General Assembly denied 67,000 poor, at-risk pre-kindergarten children their Constitutional right to a “sound, basic education” by cutting education funding to their program.
Former US Sen. John Edwards is indicted for alleged felony campaign finance violations in connection with payoffs from Edwards 2008 presidential campaign to his mistress, Rielle Hunter after she gave birth to his child. He is set to stand trial in October.
The Republican majority NC Senate overrides six of Gov. Perdue’s vetoes. The GOP in the state House fall short in their efforts to override Perdue’s veto of their voter ID law.
St. Augustine College is sued by a student who alleges he wasn’t allowed to graduate because he criticized the school on Facebook for not canceling classes in the aftermath of the April tornadoes.
President Obama is repeatedly rejected in his efforts to reach a budget deal with Republicans in Congress to stave off defaulting on the national debt ceiling before August 2.
The Pew Research Center releases a startling report documenting US Census data showing how the wealth gap between whites and blacks has widened to “an historic high,” writes the Washington Post, with whites holding a net worth 20 times larger than that of African-Americans.
The NCNAACP meets with Wake Supt. Anthony Tata about the emerging student assignment plan, urging that diversity be a factor.
The Carolinian is the first to report that black Republican Venita Peyton may challenge District 4 Democrat Keith Sutton for his Southeast Raleigh Wake School Board seat as the candidate filing period begins.


After nailbiting battles with Congressional Republicans, President Obama signs a $2.1 trillion deficit reduction deal on August 2, thus allowing the national debt ceiling to be raised, and averting a crisis of the federal government not paying its bills.
Gov. Perdue’s Eugenics Task Force recommends in a preliminary report that the surviving victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program be compensated and provided mental health care. A final report is due next February. An estimated 3,000 victims out of the original 7600 are still alive.
Charter schools in North Carolina must provide their own funding for buildings and classrooms, and are not entitled to public capital funding that goes to public schools, ruled NC’s Court of Appeals.
After a year of controversy and an NCAA investigation, UNC - Chapel Hill fired Tar Heel head Football Coach Butch Davis, and hired as interim Coach Everett Withers, who was serving as UNC’s defensive coordinator. Withers thus becomes the first African-American head coach in UNC history.
After just eleven months on the job, Shaw University President Dr. Irma McClaurin is asked by the Shaw Trustee Board to step down. Reports say her leadership style didn’t match the university.
Rev. Lent C. Carr II, one of six candidates for Raleigh City Council District C seat, is taken off the ballot by the Wake Board of elections after he is sentenced in federal court to seven months in prison for violating the terms of his parole per a 2000 fraud conviction.
As predicted by The Carolinian, black Republican Venita Peyton does file to run against District 4 Democratic Wake School Board member Keith Sutton. Other Democrats who’ve also filed for Wake School Board include Christine Kusher, Prof. Jim Martin, Susan Evans and incumbent Kevin Hill. Board Chairman Ron Margiotta, who is opposed by Evans, is the only incumbent Republican running.
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, during a town hall meeting in her district, tells the Republican Tea Party to “…go straight to hell!”
Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton is named host of “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC.
Singer/songwriter Nick Ashford of popular duo “Ashford and Simpson,” dies of cancer in New York.
The controversial film, “The Help,” about black maids in a Southern town during the 1960’s, stuns critics by reaching number one at the box office, grossing as of December 2011 an astounding $169, 224, 625 domestically, with an additional $30,100,00 in foreign markets.
The dedication of the MLK Memorial is Wash., D.C. is postponed to October due to Hurricane Irene.
Hurricane Irene hits North Carolina’s Outer Banks and parts of the east hard, with over 1100 homes destroyed, and tens of millions in damaged across the region.
Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafi is overthrown by rebel forces, and is on the run.
Enrollment in Wake Public Schools shoots to 146, 657, 3,368 more than last year .


            North Carolina joined the nation in commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
            The Democratic National Committee holds a “year-out” rally in Charlotte to mark the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and unveils its new convention logo.
            President Obama is being hammered by members of the Congressional Black Caucus for not doing enough for African-Americans during the economic downturn. He later tells them to “Stop complaining; stop grumbling.”
            North Carolina continues to recover from Hurricane Irene.
            It is announced that comedian Eddie Murphy will host the Academy Awards in February.
            Two black NC House Democrats join the Republican majority in voting to approve a same-sex marriage ban amendment.
            President Obama visits a small technology company in Apex, and then holds a rally at NC State University in Raleigh to promote his $449 billion jobs package.
            State Democrats change the name of the fundraising Vance-Aycock dinner because both North Carolina governors were white supremacists.
            New Hanover County Public Schools join with a private company to apply to the state to convert the closes D.C. Virgo School into a special charter school academy, despite black community opposition.
            Troy Davis, a man many say was wrongly convicted for the 1989 murder of an off-duty Georgia police officer, is executed.
            Rapper Petey Pablo is sentenced to 35 months in federal prison for attempting to sneak a gun on his carry-on luggage at RDU International Airport in 2010.
            New York tops the “Chocolate City list with over 3 million black residents.
            US Dept. of Education’s Civil Rights Division reports a record number of civil rights complaints.
            Candidates for five open seats on the controversial Wake County Public School Board begin their debates.
            Walnut Creek Elementary School, a brand new $25 million high poverty school the Republican-led Wake School Board has opened in Southeast Raleigh, is already more than 50 students above capacity just one month after it opens.
            Republican Wake School Board candidate Venita Peyton refuses to appear to debate District 4 incumbent Keith Sutton in Southeast Raleigh, saying that she doesn’t like how it was scheduled. She is, however, the only GOP candidate to show up for a debate at Martin Street Baptist Church.
            District 3 North Raleigh Republican candidate Heather Losurdo admits to supporting the right-wing Tea Party, and agrees with her husband’s Facebook posting that President Obama is “like a skunk - he’s half-black, half-white, and everything he does stinks.”  Losurdo says if black parents have a problem with that, it’s the way she feels.


An offer by conservative Tea Party financier Art Pope to fund a constitutional law center at the North Carolina Central University School of Law is withdrawn after a firestorm of controversy erupts.
            It is reported that one in 4 children in North Carolina live in poverty.
            Raleigh elects Nancy McFarlane as mayor, only the second woman in history to hold the office, succeeding longtime Mayor Charles Meeker.
            The NCNAACP holds its annual conference in High Point, where Gov. Beverly Perdue rails against the Republican-led NC General Assembly, and Pres. Rev. William Barber says, “We must fight back.”
            GOP state lawmakers claim that despite massive budget cuts, teacher and teacher assistant layoffs will be lower than Democrats claim.
            The nation marks the 100th birthday of the late gospel legend Mahalia Jackson.
            The Washington Post reports that a hunting retreat leased for years by the family Republican presidential hopeful Texas Gov. Rick Perry is named “Niggerhead.”
            African-Americans react negatively to black Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain saying that two-thirds of blacks are “brainwashed” because they voted for President Barack Obama in 2008.
            Country singer Hank Williams Jr. compares Pres. Obama to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on Fox News, is fired from Monday Night Football by ESPN.
            Republican NC House Speaker Thom Tillis tells a Madison County audience that North Carolina should be drug testing welfare recipients and state employees, adding that he’d like to “divide and conquer” people receiving public assistance so that disable patients would look down upon unwed mothers. Tillis later had to take back his statements.
            Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs dies after a long bout with cancer.
            Civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, whose home was bombed in the 1960’s as he worked closely with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., dies at the age of 89.
            The “Occupy Wall Street Movement” continues to grow all over the nation. 
            President Obama and a host of dignitaries, attend the unveiling of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
            In an effort to drum up public support for his American Jobs Act, President Barack Obama toured Western North Carolina for two days by bus, telling cheering crowds that Republicans in Congress are blocking his efforts to create jobs and jumpstart the economy. The president spoke from Asheville to Jamestown just outside of Greensboro.
            The first black US Marines who trained at Montford Point in Jacksonville are honored by Congress.
            President Obama announces that America’s involvement in the Iraqi war is over, and US troops will be home for the holidays.
            Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain defends his controversial “9-9-9” economic plan as critics tear it apart as unworkable.
            Democrats win four of five seats on the Wake County Public School Board, with a November runoff scheduled in the District 3 race between Democratic incumbent Kevin Hill, and Republican Tea Party candidate Heather Losurdo. The prospect of outspoken Republican school board Vice Chair John Tedesco becoming chair if Democrats lose the seat becomes a hot issue.
            Republican Wake School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta loses his seat in his GOP-majority District 8 to Democrat Susan Evans. Margiotta warns that if Democrats take back control of the school board, busing for diversity will return and Wake Supt. Tony Tata could be fired, none of which was true.
            District 4 incumbent Keith Sutton defeats Republican challenger Venita Peyton 81 percent to 19 percent.
            Retired Wake Superior Court Judge George Greene, and former Wake County Commissioner Harold Webb and his wife, Lucille, are inducted into the 2011 Raleigh Hall of Fame.


             After the US Justice Dept. preclears the NC General Assembly’s controversial redistricting maps, the NCNAACP joins in coalition with other nonprofit groups in suing Republican leadership in the Legislature, alleging that the maps are unconstitutional because they “stack and pack” the state’s black voters in as few voting districts as possible.
            Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo wins re-election, but City Councilman Ron Sparks loses.
            A Los Angeles jury convicts Dr. Conrad Murray of involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 death of singer Michael Jackson. He is sentenced to four years in prison, and kept on suicide watch.
            After a public uproar, Bank of America backs off a plan to charge a $5.00 debit card usage fee.
            The St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series over the Texas Rangers.
   reports that Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain allegedly sexually harassed several women while he was president of the National Restaurant Association. Cain, who is leading in the polls, denies it.
            Conservative pundit Ann Coulter tells Fox News’ Sean Hannity, in defense of Herman Cain, “Our blacks are so much better than their (Democrats) blacks.”
            Rapper/actor Heavy D dies of a pulmonary disease days after returning from performing at a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Europe.
            Former heavyweight and Olympics boxing champion “Smokin’ Joe Frazier dies of liver cancer at 67. Frazier’s greatest rival, Muhammad Ali, calls him a great champion and attends the funeral.
            Duke University study shows white kids have more drug problems than black and Asian children.
            Only 34 eugenics forced sterilization victims of the estimated 3,000 survivors are found across the state.
            After years of haggling, black farmers are finally getting payments from a discrimination lawsuit against the US Dept. of Agriculture.
            Fox announces that a new version of the classic black comedy show, “In Living Color” will return.
            Republicans in Congress vote Pres. Obama’s American Jobs Act down, so he fights back in a series of rallies, telling the American people to hold the GOP accountable. The president is also signing Executive Orders to get around Congressional inaction.
            The state’s District Attorneys push for the NC Senate to follow the House and repeal the NC Racial Justice Act.
            Longtime CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry retires, effective immediately.
            Former NBA basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson commemorates twenty years of living with HIV/AIDS.
            Wilmington State Sen. Thom Goolsby leads the NC Senate in voting to repeal the Racial Justice Act, thus sending the law to Gov. Beverly Perdue for her signature.
            An Atlanta woman claims that she carried on a 13-year affair with GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, sending his campaign reeling.
            NBA owners and players come to a tentative labor agreement, ending the five-month old player lockout. The delayed season is scheduled to begin Christmas day.
            Pennsylvania authorities probe allegations that young children were the victims of sexual abuse by an assistant Penn State University football coach for years, but Coach Joe Paterno never told police. Paterno and the Penn State University president are fired by the board.
            A police officer in Scotland Neck kills a deaf man with a taser gun.
Democrats have now swept all five Wake School Board seats as Kevin Hill wins re-election to his District 3 seat over Tea Party Republican Heather Losurdo in the runoff. The results make national news.
            Walnut Creek Elementary School in Southeast Raleigh, a $25 million brand new high poverty school, now has a reported 929 students enrolled, well above its assigned 780 capacity, just three months after it’s opened. Under public pressure, the outgoing Republican-led Wake School Board finally votes to cap enrollment at 862.
            Wake School Board Vice Chair John Tedesco announces that he may run for state schools superintendent in 2012 after he gets married.
            Wake Public Schools now 16th largest in the nation.
            The Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association elects Martin Street Baptist Church Pastor Earl Johnson as its news president, replacing Danny Coleman.


           Winston-Salem state Rep. Larry Womble is critically injured after his car collides with another head-on, killing the driver.
            Eugenics victims tell task force that $20,000 in state compensation for forced sterilization is too low.
            Republican NC House Speaker Thom Tillis says expect a new voter ID bill in the spring short session.
            Herman Cain, after speaking with his wife, quits his race for the presidency after allegations that he had an affair with an Atlanta woman.
            The wife of Georgia Bishop Eddie Long files for divorce after allegations that Long sexually abused teenage boys, and Long takes a leave of absence from the pulpit.
            The state rejects New Hanover Public Schools charter school application to turn D.C. Virgo Middle School into a charter academy.
            President Obama and First Lady Michelle go to Fort Bragg to welcome returning troops from Iraq home.
            After meeting with families of murder victims, Gov. Perdue decides to veto the Republican repeal of the NC Racial Justice Act.
            Teen pregnancy is down in North Carolina.
            Convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal no longer faces the death penalty for a cop killing he maintains he did not commit.
            After Herman Cain is forced to leave the GOP race for president, Newt Gingrich surprisingly leads in the polls.
            Convicted murderer, author Michael Peterson, is released from prison pending a new trial after it is determined that blood evidence findings in his case were not accurate.
            Raleigh is now the 43rd largest city in the nation.
            Civil rights attorney Romallus O. Murphy is dead at 83.
            US Justice Dept. rejects South Carolina’s voter ID law, saying that it violates the constitutional rights of black voters.
            Federal court rejects Kinston challenge to 1965 Voting Rights Act provision.
            A Republican congressman from Wisconsin apologizes after criticizing First Lady Michelle Obama’s backside.
             Democrats take over the Wake School Board, electing Kevin Hill as chair and Keith Sutton as vice chair.
            Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, District C Councilman Eugene Weeks and the new Raleigh City Council are sworn-in.
            Charlotte Bobcats owner and former NBA great Michael Jordan announced that he is engaged.
            The world welcomes 2012, a new year.