Civil Rights

Greenville Federal Courthouse
Eastern District of NC, US District Court

A federal judge will hear opening arguments today in a case that pits African-American parents against the Pitt County Schools. 

Pitt County, like many school districts in North Carolina, has a long history of segregation in its schools. About a dozen or so districts in the state are still under an active desegregation court-order, first issued in the 1960's, that requires them to be supervised by the federal courts.

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum faces ongoing financial struggles, and the Greensboro mayor wants the city to take it over.
Jeff Tiberii

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum opened in Greensboro nearly three and a half years ago.  A national sit-in movement began on February 1st, 1960 at an F.W. Woolworth lunch counter on Elm Street, and today that site remains a commemoration and celebration of a chapter in American history.

Gene Kendall, Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke and Nathaniel White Jr., the three surviving members of the first five undergraduate students to integrate Duke, attend their class reunion on April 21, 2012.
Duke University

Duke University celebrates 50 years of black students on Saturday, with an address by U.S. Senator William "Mo" Cowan.  The Massachusetts Democrat is a 1991 Duke graduate and one of two African-Americans currently in the U.S. Senate.

University of Georgia Press

  Medgar Evers’s assassination was a spark that motivated social activists and inspired writers, poets and journalists. Artists like Bob Dylan, Eudora Welty and James Baldwin have contributed to the collective memory of Evers through their own works.

Minrose Gwin, professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks to host Frank Stasio about her new book, “Remembering Medgar Evers” (University of Georgia Press/2013).

Left to right: David “Chip” Richmond (son of the late David L. Richmond), Franklin McCain Sr. '63, Jibreel Khazan '63 & Joseph A. McNeil '63, standing in front of the statue commemorating the A&T Four.
courtesy of North Carolina A&T State University RelationsA&T Four.

Four civil rights pioneers will be honored Friday in Greensboro on the 53rd anniversary of their famous sit-in. North Carolina State University A&T Freshman Joe McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain and David Richmond sat down at an all-white Woolworth’s lunch sparking a significant movement in the Jim Crow South.

What did Chapel Hill look like during the Civil Rights Movement? Photographer Jim Wallace captured images for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel. But Wallace didn’t see fire hoses or police dogs turned on protesters.

Last month, a conference in Greensboro brought together more than 70 attorneys, activists and average citizens to talk about human and civil rights violations at the hands of law enforcement. Among the issues discussed were racial profiling, police brutality, mass incarceration, torture and rendition. The event was a call to action and the message was that every member of society is responsible for speaking out about abuses of state power.

The “Freedom Rallies” of 1963 were remembered and honored yesterday with a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker. 

The “Freedom Rallies” took place in the town of Williamston – in Martin County.  For 32 days – hundreds of mostly African Americans held mass meetings and marches, anchored at Green Memorial Church.  Diane Carr was 12-years-old during the “Freedom Rallies” and remembers singing and marching to the courthouse to demand equal rights.

The North Carolina Museum of History launched a new online exhibit today that takes a close-up look at the struggle for equal and civil rights across the state. 

As soon as you log onto the website – you are serenaded by Sam Cooke.  The name of the exhibit is “A Change is Gonna Come: Black, Indian and White Voices for Racial Equality.”  It covers the years 1830 to 1980 – from the Indian Removal Act to the rise and fall of Soul City.  Earl Ijames is the curator of the exhibit. He says it was going to be a physical exhibit before the 2008 recession.

Some historians refer to the Civil War as the “war between the states" – a white man’s war.  But to many people of color – it was the “war for freedom.” And during this mighty war, no other place in North Carolina had more “free” slaves than New Bern.

When the Union Army seized the city, word spread fast. Slaves travelled from across the state and outside its borders to get to New Bern.

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