Elizabeth City, NC
Elizabeth City State University’s award-winning student newspaper
Forum On Race
photograph courtesy of Eugene O’NeeA
Marcus Riddick, left, shoots over the outstretched hand of a St. Paul’s
College defender during last year’s action. He is expected to be one of the
key contributors this year as the Vikings make to the 1998-99 Central
Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) tournament^
season in full
By: Artelia Covington
Race relations is a concept that has
been mishandled and misunderstood
for years. Recently a number of Uni
versity representatives and city officials
came together to discuss the seemingly
age-old dilemma which continues to
confront all of America.
Their aim was to make sure that the
notion of race relations in Elizabeth
City and on the campus of Elizabeth
City State University is better imder-
On Nov. 10 The Black Issues Forum,
a program produced by University of
North Carolina Television (UNC-TV)
was held in the G. R. Little Theatre on
the ECSU campus.
The program was taped in two
twenty five minute segments and fea
tured as panelists Rev. Whittle Bass,
pastor, Carm Memorial Presbyterian
Church, Dr. Deborah C. Fontaine,
ECSU Vice Chancellor for Student Af
fairs and Mr. Raymond Rivers of the
Pasquotank Coimty National Associa
tion for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP) chapter.
The forum was moderated by Mr.
Jay Holloway of UNC-TV.
Mr. Holloway's first question to the
panelists was whether or not they per
ceived racial tension in Elizabeth City
as being a different from that in other
areas of the state.
"Things have not changed here in
Elizabeth City. There is a good ol' boy
mentality that still remains here. We
(African-Americaris) are stiU disenfran
chised from the rest of the commu
nity," the NAACP's Mr. Rivers said.
According to the other panelists,
however, things continue to change and
have changed over the years, if only
Rev. Bass said that Elizabeth City is a
small enough city and one in which
the citizens and students have a real
opportvmity to bring about measurable
"We do have a segregated commu
nity here in Elizabeth City, but there
are people who wish to see that abol
ished," he said."
HoUoway then asked : How are the
students dealing with these issues?
According to Vice Chancellor
Fontaine, student participation in
meaningful dialogue is a key element
in the change process.
"Dialogue is (very) important. Stu
dents should get involved in the com
munity and take a more active role in
what happens arotmd them," she said.
Still, Rev. Bass characterized the
meeting as one which "reveals race ten
sion in African-American students
"I think that students are dealing
with race relations and that they vm-
derstand the reasons surrounding the
necessity for change," he said. "So far
feedback has been positive, but there
are still issues."
Another issue of concern for the au
dience, comprised of students and lo
cal officials and community people,
was how they felt about white students
and their impact on ECSU's racial bal
Ms. Deanna Morring, an ECSU
sophomore, said she did not see a prob
lem with white students becoming a
more integral part of campus life.
The program concluded with a svrai-
mation by Ms. Denise Whimbly, a di
versity trainer for UNC-TV, who ac
companied Mr. Holloway.
"We have a problem naming things;
we need to leam how to call things
exactly what they are and then deal
with them. "We haven't gotten to the
point where we call things what they
are," she said."
The forum was open to the general,
public and was one of eleven Black
Issues Forum town hall meetings tak
ing place on UNC system campuses
throughout the state, nationwide out
reach campaign on race issues.
The "Black Issues Forums" will be
broadcast over UNC-TV Dec. 11 and