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Ernest H. Pitt
617 N. Liberty Street
336-722-8624 I 41 *
Elaine Pitt Business Manager
Donna Rogers Managing Editor
wali D. Pitt Digital Manager ,
The Chronicle is dedicated to serving the
residents of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County
by giving voice to the voiceless, speaking truth
to power, standing for integrity and
encouraging open communication and
lively debate throughout the community.
The Winston-Salem community is mourning the
death of Darryl Hunt, the hometown black man who
was accused of murder but was eventually released
and cleared after spending 19 years in prison. His
murder conviction was vacated in February 2004.
In fact, Hunt touched the hearts of people in
North Carolina and across the nation. He formed an
organization that helped other people fight for their
freedom in the courts, including in Atlanta, and
helped those who were released from prison find
The state of North Carolina awarded him
$300,000 and the city of Winston-Salem awarded
him $1.6 million in settlements after he was released.
Early on, The Chronicle led the way in question
ing Hunt's guilt. Others followed. Right-minded
government officials did the right thing, and Hunt
However, as people celebrated Hunt's victories, it
appears there wasn't a strong system in place to help
* him mentally. It appears no one realized what the
deep effect of 19 years in prison for a crime he did
not commit had on Hunt. People close to Hunt said
he was depressed. This man, who appeared to be
quiet and unassuming, did not scream out for help.
He might not have realized himself that he needed
help. Many people took from Hunt, a man who con
centrated on giving, but it appears not many gave
back in return.
Black people have been through hundreds of
years of turmoil since we came to the United States,
mostly by force. We were separated from our natural
families and forced to adopt the families of white
people. Kunta Kinte, whose story is told in the TV
series "Roots," seems to be one of the few black peo
ple in America who knows just where he came from.
Generations after generations of black people can
only trace their roots back to their slave masters.
So black people have had to survive the atrocities
the American justice system has used to keep the
children of former slaves in place without those chil
dren having a real sense of who they are. This can
affect people's minds.
In Darryl Hunt we had a black man who, before
he was arrested, was adrift in his life. After gaining
freedom, did he somehow gain the footing to anchor
himself for the future he faced? It appears that was a
struggle if there were efforts to help him gain that
there are other stones ot clack men who
emerged from prison and helped people. One such
person is Shaka Senghor, a black man who has writ
ten a new book titled "Writing My Wrongs: Life,
Death, and Redemption in an American Prison." He
went to prison in 1991 for second-degree murder at
age 19. While in prison, he says, "I spent my time'
reading and writing, using books to free my mind
and expand my thinking.' He says that he did not
allow his past or what others thought about him to
define him or deter him. He was released at age 38.
Did Darryl Hunt have a background like this,
reading and writing while he was in prison, freeing
his mind and expanding his thinking for 19 years?
There should be targeted help for black men in
prison and when they come out. Senghor says it will
always be a struggle for him out of prison. Tnere is a
battle for his mind. As people who are not been in
prison, we know how hard it is to keep focused.
Imagine the struggles for those who have spent years
ip prison for crimes they committed, let alone for
those they did not commit.
Kalvin Michael Smith - the 44-year-old black
man from Winston-Salem who has been in prison for
19. years of a 29-year sentence after being convicted
of a December 1995 bnital beating - has gained sup
port from people in the community for a new trial.
Supporters have shown that there is evidence he was
not at the scene of the crime.
There also should be targeted help for Smith
while in prison and when he gets out. The communi
ty should find ways to help Kalvin Michael Smith
and others like him free their minds and expand their
thinking so that they can become focusfed citizens in
the community when they return to the community.
Black lives matter in prison and out.
LETTERS TOTHE EDITOR
Thank you for
faith in W-S
To the Editor:
Thank yoil Chronicle, especially
T. Ramsey, for covering the
"Contributions to Islamic Faith" com
munity held at the Delta Fine Arts
Center on February 20, 2016. The
Triad Chapter of ACGG appreciated
the extensive and comprehensive arti
The nominees who have actively
been establishing the foundation of
the Islamic Community in Winston
Salem for over 60 years glowed in
their spirits for your attention given
to their life's work.
Only the Chronicle highlighted
this historical event and its ongoing
positive contributions to the city and
the African-American community in
Fleming A. El-Amin
American Coalition for Good
In love and sadness
on the passing
of Darryl Hunt
To the Editor:
This weekend [Sunday, March
13], North Carolina lost one of her
foremost freedom fighters in the
passing of Dr. Darryl Hunt. I along
with the North Carolina NAACP
family lost not only a freedom fight:
1 i _ l r
er, out aiso a ior
robbed Darryl of
119 years of his
life by imprison
ing him for a
rape and murder
he did not com
mit. The case
noAC HAiun in
gVA.3 UVWII til
infamy as one of the most thorough
ly corrupt episodes in the saga of the
deeply racist criminal justice system
in our state. However, in his twelve
short years out of prison, Darryl
accomplished more good in the
world than most can hope to in a
Those who heard Darryl speak,
or worked with him in the grass
roots, know that Darryl made sure
his bondage was not in vain. In addi
tion to committing his time and
resources to building the Darryl
Hunt Project for Freedom and
Justice, where he worked with hun
dreds of formerly incarcerated men
and women, and fought for the exon
eration of others falsely imprisoned,
he also led a life of prophetic wit
ness to the rampant racism in police
departments, district attorneys'
offices and the courts.
Darryl was there in 2009 to push
through the Racial Justice Act,
which the North Carolina NAACP
and our HKonJ partners count as one
of the greatest legislative victories
for criminal justice in recent history.
In 2010, he joined the staff of the
North Carolina NAACP as the
founder and director of the Anti
Death Penalty Project. He helped
lead our efforts to defend the RJA as
long as possible so that the cases
could get into court before the
extremists in the General Assembly
gutted and repealed the bill.
When the damning report on the
practices of intentional perjury
emerged out of the SBI labs, Darryl
traveled the state on our behalf edu
cating the branches and communities
on the "Swecker Report." He led
court "jury watches" during capital
trials where we know black jurors
are struck from the rolls at dispro
portionate rates. Ever since his first
plenary in 2010, we've always
reserved a spot for Darryl to speak at
our State Convention.
And none of this is to mention
his role as a national leader in inno
cence projects and movements. For
his work, Duke.University awarded
him an honorary doctorate in 2012.
Darryl was a wounded healer in
the greatest sense. I can remember
him often saying that he has foigiven
those who put him in jail when tbey
knew he was innocent, but he has
For Darryl, it was a spiritual mat
ter. He would say that he did not
know how to ask others or God for
forgiveness if he was not willing to
forgive those who imprisoned him.
He was not going to let them
imprison him again with bitterness.
And neither would he let them keep
him from fighting for justice.
Darryl traveled the nation and
the world with his witness that injus
tice does not have the last word. For
a generation of activists, Darryl was
hope incarnate. Justice was his call
ing. Courage and love was his
answer. We pledge to you brother
Darryl, that your spirit lives on in
each of us. Those you touched will
touch others and others as we keep
our hands on the freedom plow. Let
it be so.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II,
president of N.C. NAACP
A1 McSurely, Former Legal
Redress chair, N.C. NAACP
Rob Stephens, Former Associate
Director, N.C. NAACP Anti-Death
N.C. NAACP Staff, Executive
Branch Leaders, Members and
in the Forward Together Moral
glimpse into early
black life in
To The Editor:
Back in the 30s, 40s, 50s and
60s, most black people played num
bers on the stock market (winning
numbers were derived from these
numbers) especially "butter and
eggs" (a commodity). The money
won helped put food on the table.
For 2 cents you could win $8.00, for
5 cents you won $20.00 and for 25
cents you won $100.00. My sister
Rachel and her next door neighbor,
Delia, played every day. Every
neighborhood had its own number
writer. Their writer was a tiny little
lady and they didn't know her name.
She was always bundled up like she
had on too many clothes - two
sweaters, extra scarves and jackets -
so they called her "Rag Baby."
Rag Baby was a good "numbers
u/rif#?r " Qhp wac
ntiivi. uiiv nuo
and if you "hit"
the number on
her book, the
money was as
good as already
in your pocket.
One lucky day
both Delia and
Rachel had a 5
noage . . _
cent hit on Rag
Baby's book. Oh boy! $20.00 dollars
each! They were oveijoyed talking
about what they were going to do
with all that money. "Girl, we won't
go to Henry's today. Let's walk up
on Liberty Street to the Meat House,
I want some pig tails and kraut,"
Rachel said. "1 want some fried pork
chops and Spanish rice," Delia said.
"Lord, Lord 1 can taste it right now."
After talking a while, Delia said,
"Wait a minute, Rachel. What's
holding Rag Baby? She should have
been here by now, it's getting late. I
believe I'll run around to her house
and pick up my $20.00 dollars; you
want me to bring yours?" Rachel
said, "Yes, I'll be dressed by then
and we'll walk up to the Meat
Rag Baby lived a block away on
the comer of 14th street and
Cameron Avenue. After about 10
minutes, Delia was running and ,
"Open the door quick, Rachel, Lord
have mercy, let me in!! "
"What's wrong? What happened
"Oh Lord, Rag Baby dead!!"
What? Let's go up there before
anybody comes to see if we can find
her pocketbook and get our $20.00,
come on let's go!!"
They ran around the corner, too
late!! The police had already come
in and nobody could come in and
nobody could leave the house until
the coroner could come and examine
the body. The coroner came and
examined the body and said that she
had died of natural causes. Nothing
was in the newspaper about it. At
that time nothing was printed about
black people too much.
Her family came up from South
Carolina and carried her home for
burial. We never knew her name,
just Rag Baby.