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Thursday, August 3, 1989
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"The Twin City's Award-Winning Weekly"
VOL. XV, NO. 48
$1 Ok grant to assist
N.C. education plan
By TONYA V.SMITH
Chronide Staff Writer
a ?innnn gr<?m dgmgj I tfA
the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
will allow a state organization to
implement a plan designed to
ensure that all children, particular
ly Afro- Americans, are success
Gladys Graves, president of
the North Carolina Council on
Educating Black Children, said
the grant will allow the organiza
tion to develop and implement "A
?Blueprint for Action II. - That pro
ject evolved out of a plan
designed by the National Confer
ence on Educating Black Children
which studied ways "to eliminate
the continuing inequities in the
education of black children, H said
educational experience and is-*
former president of the state Asso
ciation of Educators.
"The council started in 1986
as a steering committee estab
lished to sponsor the conference,"
Ms. Graves explained. "That
whole concept grew out of a
group of national black leaders
who got together to respond to
five major issue areas in educa
tion: students, teachers, adminis
trators, parents and policy mak
? - - - *
Please see page A11
newsanalysis The Darryl Hunt case: Is justice on
By ROOSEVELT WILSON
Chronicle Staff Writer
This is the third of a series of articles examining the investigation, convic
tion and possible retrial of Darryl E. Hunt for the 1984 murder of Deborah B.
Sykes. . 7 a?
# Quegtigfe Tmaln about the credibility and reliability of Johnny Gfay as aP
witness - the key witness - in the case against Darryl E. hunt
Mr. Hunt's conviction was overturned by the North Carolina Supreme
?ourt in early May, and Surry County District Attorney Dean Bowman will
scide if the charges will be dropped or if Mr. Hunt will be tried again.
Members of the Afro-American community are fearful that not only will
Mr. Hunt be tried again, but since Ms. Sykes was white and Mr. Hunt is an
Afro-American, Mr. Bowman will pursue a conviction at any cost.
Before District Attorney Warren Sparrow - citing a conflict of interest in
the volatile case that threatens to divide the community along racial lines -
turned the case over to an outside prosecutor, he expressed reservation as to
whether Mr. Gray would testify if Mr. Hunt is retried. .
But who is Johnny Gray?
When he telephoned police on Aug. 10, 1984, to report the crime he
identified himself as Sammy Mitchell. He contacted police again on Aug.
22, 1 QKd ? acknnwIfrigpH it was hp whamarif. thp. qa\\ and \t\ent\rteA himself
T-jjlps y ' ' .I. .
"Rut / won't forget his face, / wasn't no more than 20 yard s
from him'. Maybe 30 yards from him , arid I seen his face, you
know . I won't, forget his face, and I'm not Ixiny to v'all And
this is the man that killed that lady"
? -- Johnn\ ( itay, key witness
as Johnny Gray.
In court, Mr. Gray testified he was bom Johnny McConnell, and his name
was legally changed to Gray after his mother remarried and he was adopted by
his stepfather, whose name also is Johnny Gray.
Police records and records in the office of the Register of Deeds indicate
that Mr. Gray has used both names from time to time.
Mr. Gray has police records both as Johnny Gray and Johnny McCotmeU.
Prior to the Hunt trial Johnny Gray had been a suspect but not arrested in sim
ple assault, breaking-and-entering and strong arm robbery cases in Forsyth
County. Johnny McConnell hadt?ecn arrested inGreensboro on disorderly con
duct and resisting arrest charges. Also in Greensboro Johnny McConnell wit
convicted and served active pri^~sfeit?riefeS for recei vifig stolen goods and
"On March 1 1, 1975, Mr. Gray was married to Ms. Vickie Anne Cain,
using the name Johnny McConnell. The son of Vickie and Johnny is named
Johnny McConnell Jr./* cites the review of the Sykes murder investigation.
Police records also indicate that Mr. Gray was using the name McConnell less
than a year before the Sykes murder.
In court under oath Mr. Gray said he did not know Mr. Mitchell or Mr.
Hunt prior to the trial and made up the name Sammy Mitchell when he called
Please see page A9
. ? ? . s ? " * ' 0>
Candidates for city offices make intentions known as deadline nears
By TONYA V. SMITH
Chronicle Staff Writer
Twas the eve before the last fil
ing date and all over town every can
didate was scurrying to the Board of
Elections to write their names down.
As of press time, 20 candidates
had paid $5 and registered their names
with the county board to be the city's
next mayor or to sit on the Board of
Aldermen. The fate of some of these
political hopefuls will be determined
in the September primaries. Those
remaining will enjoy the thrill of vic
tory or the agony of defeat on Nov. 7.
* Running for the office of mayor
are Christopher D. Dirr, Charles S.
Smith, G. Dee Smith and Martha S.
Mr. Dirr, 28, is a Republican.
Charles Smith, 60, is the only
Afro-American seeking the office of
mayor. He has targeted adequate pay
ing jobs, economic development,
health care and education as major
issues in his campaign.
Dee Smith, 59, announced his
candidacy after reigning Mayor
Wayne A. Corpening decided against
seeking another term.
A Winston-Salem native, Mr.
Smith graduated from the city schools
and continued his education at the
University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill. He also served four years
in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He is best
known for his positions within R.J.
Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 1985,
he retired as executive vice president
of the company and is now president
and chief operating officer of First
Home Federal Savings and Loan
Association which operates 10 offices
in the city.
He, as are the majority of the
candidates, is concerned with engi
neering a more cooperative spirit
among elected city officials.
MI would say that it is vital that
we find a way to work together more
cooperatively with an attitude of trust
to accomplish the goals for this city,"
Mr. Smith said. "Right now the atti
tudes of city officials are more con
frontational and combative."
Like other business people in the
city, Mr. Smith supports the idea of
marketing Winston-Salem in conjunc
tion with surrounding municipalities
to persuade big industry to locate
The Latest Candidates To File
. -t. "f
rnhiistl' . *
"But I think we've got to get Win
ston-Salem ready to be marketed," he
said. "We have a lot of assets but we
need industrial sites zoned and water
and sewer connections available so
that the industrial candidates can
locate here. Once we get Winston
Salem to that level then we can begin
working closely with Greensboro and
High Point, because the Triad com
bined has more than 1 million people
which makes this an attractive place
for businesses to locate."
Martha Wood is sacrificing her
Northwest Ward scat on the board to
vie for mayor. Her campaign will be
geared tow&id^p?Mridms? cily rtti -
dents with what they want most, "the
best possible police protection and
drug enforcement, an economic devel
opment program that builds jobs,
homes and community; and a govern
ment that encourages and welcomes
All but one of the city Board of
Aldermen's Afro-American members
have filed for reelection. Patrick
Hairs ton of the North Ward will not
seek reelection. Two Democrats and
two Republicans have filed for his
Frank K. Thomas Jr. and Nelson
L. Malloy Jr. arc Afro- Americans who
have announced their candidacies.
Afro-American Diana Williams-Cot
ton will run on the Republican ticket
and will face James L. Knox in the
September primaries. Mr. Knox is the
only white seeking to be elected in the
predominately Afro-American ward.
In the 1985 November elections, Mr.
Knox was trounced by Mr. Hairs ton,
1,172 to 274.
Mr. Knox, 32, is a route salesman
for Sale Vending. He attended Surry
Community and Rutledge Business
colleges and studied computer pro
"I feel like 1 have something to
offer the city, in particular the people
in the North Ward - that's why Tin
running for alderman," he said. "I
want to bring the North Ward back to
the place it was when Richard Davis
"During that time if you had a
problem or a concern you could call
Mr. Davis and he would always get
back in contact with you, and if he
couldn't help you he would refer you
Please see page A11
Local NAACP branch to
participate in national silent march on D.C.
By TONYA V. SMITH
Cbronide Staff Writer
In response to four cases - one of which was instigated by a Winston -
Salem resident - recently heard by the U.S. Supreme Court that threaten
"to lead a stampede to the rear on civil rights," the executive director of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is calling for
a silent march.
"Our silent march will be concerned with one issue alone: the Supreme
Court and its recent hostile decisions/ said Benjamin L. Hooks. "We will
be sending a message primarily to the Administration, Congress and the
I American people that the decisions of this court are harmful to the body
politic of this nation and prompt action must be taken to reverse them
through legislative means." '
The silent march, set for Aug. 26, will be modeled after one that took
place more than 70 years ago. NAACP leaders W.E.B. DuBois and James
Weldon Johnson led more than 5,000 people in a silent march down New
York City's Fifth Avenue in a protest against "Jim Crow," lynchings, segre
? gation, disenfranchisement and race riots in Memphis, Tenn., and East St
Louis. In the August march, men will wear black and women and children
will don white, said Mr. Hooks.
Walter Marshall, president of the local NAACP chapter, said his mem
bership is making plans to participate in the noon march on Washington.
"The scary thing about those Supreme Court decisions is that most
blacks don't realize the effect they could have on affirmative action and set
asides and other programs set up for our people," said Mr. Marshall. Those
decisions put a damper on the basic civil rights laws and will make it hard
er for blacks to achieve our goals.
"When the abortion decision came down white women across the
country began protesting. We've had four decisions that threaten our rights
to come down, having our rights snatched right away from us, and we have
not done a thing to show we disapprove.**
Mr. Hooks said the NAACP wants Congress to prescribe legislative
remedies in response to the Supreme Court decisions.
"If Congress does not act then we must call upon our citizenry to
mount other demonstrations until our voices are heard and our just
demands are acted upon," he said. "We are not looking toward bringing
vast numbers of people to Washington. In this instance, the medium is the
message and the medium is the silent march that bespeaks the seriousness
of our dissatisfaction and the need to move without hesitation to correct the
Please see page A9