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State of ExclusionThe UNC Center for Civil Rights has released a new report as part of a series of in-depth examinations of exclusion and the legacy of racial segregation in individual counties. The subject is Lenoir County in southeastern North Carolina. Both the Lenoir study and last year’s overarching report, “State of Exclusion,” are available by clicking here. This is from the release that accompanied the new Lenoir County study:

“In the middle of the Black Belt of Eastern North Carolina, Lenoir County is divided between its mostly white rural population and the concentrated African American populations in Kinston and La Grange. This new report focuses on the impact of the racial segregation on public education, political representation, and utility service.  Profiles of other counties will follow in the coming weeks, each highlighting particular aspects of that county’s history, ongoing impacts of exclusion, and progress toward full inclusion of all residents.

The county-wide school district in Lenoir County is the result of the 1992 merger of the majority white county school system with the majority African American Kinston city school district. Despite the merger, educational segregation persists because of an inequitable assignment model. Read More

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With the in-state news so universally dreadful this week, a body is forced to look elsewhere to find some shreds of hope.

Here’s at least one non-NC item that might even portend something good for our state: Today, President Obama appointed an excellent lawyer named Jane Kelley to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. As you may or may not already know, the Eighth Circuit is headquartered in Kansas City and covers seven Midwestern states: Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Here’s another fact about the Eighth Circuit: In the history of that court, there have been 57 justices. Of that number, 56 have been men. We’re not making this up. 

The President’s selection of Kelly will make it two out of 58 — still awful, but, hey, 3.4% is better than 1.8%. It’s a start, anyway.

And what is the implication for North Carolina, you ask? Read More

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Community leaders and activists from organizations such as SpiritHouse, the Durham NAACP and the N.C. NAACP will gather 8:30am tomorrow morning at the Durham County Courthouse to bring attention to the case of Stephanie Nickerson, a U.S. Navy veteran and alleged victim of police brutality.

Nickerson, 25, advised her friend against an unwarranted search of a home by police responding to a disturbance call on October 28, 2012.

In an ABC11 interview, she said, “He was like put your arms behind your back, and I jerked my arm away and said no I haven’t done anything wrong. And immediately after I jerked my arm back he threw me on the ground, he held me by my neck, and punched me repeatedly in my face and head.”

Here’s the complete report from ABC11:

Nickerson’s case might not be an isolated incident as a report by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice suggests a disturbing trend over the past decade of racial disparities in police encounters with minorities. Read More

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Well, the national political media has descended on North Carolina and thank goodness some local politicos are doing all they can to dispel the impression that our state is home to a large collection of insular, uninformed rednecks.

Take Lee County conservative leader, Charles Staley…please.

According to Mr. Staley, not only is it acceptable for men to batter their wives and drive drunk in Mexico, but there are some very clear and simple explanations for the important shifts that have occurred in southern racial politics over the last several decades. As Staley told to the Los Angeles Times:

“’Lyndon Baines Johnson gets in there, there’s riots in the streets, so they decide, we need to keep these black people in their place,’ Staley said. ‘So, well, one way we can do it is to form this Great Society and make sure everybody gets some money and if they get in trouble, we’ll stop giving them money. That was the foundation of what we call social services. Up unto that point, the black  population voted Republican.’”

Sounds like this guy might be able to help one of the local right-wing groups put just the spin they’re looking for on their next historical reenactment.

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A new study released today that found that nearly one in every six black students in the country’s public schools are suspended from school during the school year.

That rate stays true for North Carolina, where 16.3 percent of black students (just under one in six) were suspended in the 2009-2010 school year, according to the analysis of federal education data by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Deroches Civiles at University of California-Los Angeles.

The report, “Opportunities suspended: the disparate impact of disciplinary exclusion from school,” used data from school districts around the country, including North Carolina data that reflected more than 90 percent of all students in the state.

Also highly concerning in North Carolina was the 18 percent rate of suspend Native American students in the state.

(Chart made from the UCLA data)

 

North Carolina recently reported a four-year graduation rate that topped 80 percent, the first for the state and hailed as a success by education leaders. But black and American Indian students lagged behind that with 73.7 percent and 74.5 percent graduation rates, respectively.

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