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It’s been 56 years since the sit ins in my hometown of Greensboro energized the civil rights movement in the U.S.

Since then, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it possible for de facto segregation to stop in places like lunch counters and other public accommodations, banned employment discrimination, and it began the process for equality in the workplace. (Though much remains to be done.)

Image by Cewatkin. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Pictured: The A&T Four Statue in Greensboro commemorating the participants of the first sit-ins at a Woolworth store. Image by Cewatkin. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Meanwhile, Brown v. Board ended de facto segregation in schools, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 opened the electoral process to Black and minority voters.

The list goes on for the progress we’ve made as a country toward a better future.

And yet…

Where are we now?

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The Inclusion Project at the UNC Center for Civil Rights is out with the second in a series of in-depth “State of Exclusion” reports that document the legacy of racial segregation in individual North Carolina counties. Last month’s initial report examined the situation in the southeastern county of Lenoir. The new one looks at the situation in the Piedmont county of Davidson. This is from the release that accompanied its release:

“According to a recent study by the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, Davidson County has the second most racially segregated schools in North Carolina, trailing only Halifax County. Read More

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Governor Pat McCrory signed more than 50 bills into law on Wednesday – among them Senate Bill 306. Senator Thom Goolsby’s bill (Capital Punishment/Amendments) eliminates the use of statistics in weighing whether a death row inmate’s sentence was race-related, effectively repealing what remains of the rja-repealRacial Justice Act. SB 306 also seeks to end North Carolina’s defacto moratorium on the death penalty.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina criticized the Governor’s decision to sign the bill saying North Carolina has turned its back on evidence of widespread racial bias that must be addressed in our judicial system:

“The Racial Justice Act brought to light undeniable proof that North Carolina’s death penalty system is plagued by racial bias,” said Sarah Preston, Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. “By repealing this law barely four years into its existence, North Carolina’s leadership has willfully turned its back on widespread evidence of systemic racial bias that needs to be addressed – not ignored. Even those who support the death penalty should agree that capital sentences must be handed down impartially and without bias. Sadly, North Carolina’s lawmakers have just undone the best tool our state had to achieve that goal.”

Governor McCrory said in a statement the implementation of the RJA was “seriously flawed”.

But since the RJA was enacted, four death-row inmates have been resentenced to life in prison after a judge found that racial discrimination did indeed play a key role in their sentences.