75 cents WiNSTON-SALEM GREENSBORO HlGH POINT Vol. XXIV No. 17
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WINSTON SALEM - The choke for African-American News and Information e.mail a(H?ss: wschron@ne,unlimited.n.t
Farmers push for mediation of discrimination claims
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Prodded by a federal
judge, the Cliotcm administration agreed Friday to a
six-month mediation process aimed at settling hun
dreds of discrimination complaints brought by
black fanners against the Agriculture Department.
The move postpones a costly court battle over a
$2 billion lawsuit filed by 227 Mack fanners who
contend they are victims of discrimination over
repeated denial of loans and other benefits.
"I'm glad the government finally agreed to
mediation," said Tim Pigford, a North Carolina
fanner and the lead plaintiff in the court case "This
is killing folks They need money so they can farm."
On Dec. 17, Rep. Eva Clayton (D-N.C.) gar
nered a meeting with the president in support of her
efforts to achieve justice for the disadvantaged and
small family farmer.
The coogresswoman from North Carolina
says she has fought tirelessly to bring to the fore
front the past slights of the small family fanner. The
Congressional Black Caucus held a hearing in
April, and the first ever full Agriculture Committee
hearing to address the plight of the disadvantaged
farmer was held in October.
Earlier this year, Clayton introduced legis
lation, the USDA Accountability and Equity Act,
which now has more than 60 co-sponsors.
"I hope that we will be able to bring atten
tion to the terrible injustices that have been wielded
against these true American workers," said Clayton.
"Without our farmers, there are no food products,
we must support all of our farmers."
U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said the
mediation process would be directed" by Michael
Lewis, an experienced Washington arbitrator, and <
would begin immediately. Since the lawsuit was filed
m August, Friedman has repeatedly urged the
Justice Department to accept a mediated settlement ; ;
instead of insisting on a trial. ; -
"I'm willing to sit here forever if it's needed to > !
get this thing moving," Friedman said. ? ;
Lawyers for the Mack farmers had sought blan
ket mediation that would cover all of the estimated
2,000 farmers, most of them from the South, who
may have suffered discrimination. The Justioe
Department adamantly refused, saying each case
must be investigated separately even though the j
Agriculture Department has acknowledged past ?
discrimination. ;3 [
See FARMERS on A3
- ?, - . .
By SHARON BROOKS HODGE
Thc Chromcil Editor
iAIderman Vernon Robinson has
accused fellow Alderman Vivian
Burke of . trying to weaken police
effectiveness and morale.
On Friday, shortly before new
police recruits were scheduled to
graduate from their training pro
gram, Robinson contacted local
media and offered terse words for
"Act like a chairman of public
safety," admonished Robinson, a
Robinson said his remarks were
intended to keep Burke, who is chair
man of the Public Safety Committee,
from "playing politics at the gradua
In a written statement to
reporters, Robinson said. "I'd hope
that today Mrs. Burke would conduct
herself with the decorum befitting
her post as Chairman of Public
Safety and celebrate the achievement
of these hardworking men and
women who will graduate today
rather than continuing her attack on
the morale of the police depart
Burke, however, said she isn't
interested in getting into a verbal
confrontation with Robinson, who is
vice chairman of the Public Safety
Committee. The two disagree over
police use of pepper spray.
"I would hope that when we have
disagreements we're able to move
on," said Burke.
Robinson was one of three alder
men who supported a resolution to
back police in their continued use of
the substance. Burke was one of the
fivp Democrats who?voted to kill a
motion supporting police use of pep
BJ FELECIA P McMILLAN
GREENSBORO-Attorney Walter T. '
Johnson Jr. is serving his first year as pres
ident of the Guilford County Association
of Black Lawyers. On Saturday, Dec. 13,
he invited the group to come to his home
for a holiday gathering. Many of the attor
neys and their spouses, friends and rela
tives attended. Although this was a lighter
moment, the group has a profound pur
According to Johnson, the goals of the
association include working together to
improve African-American lawyers' partic
ipation in the profession, to promote con
tinued education, to improve their skills
and especially to speak out and educate the
community on issues they believe are
important. The group has been in opera
tion since the late 1960s.
Judge Patrice Hinnant places high
value on the work of the Black Lawyers
Association. "I am a lawyer first. Though I
happen to be a judge, I'm still a lawyer,"
she said. Hinnant sees the importance of
being connected in order to strengthen the
unity of black professionals in a support
system. Working together helps all of the
members stay informed about current
According to Greensboro Councilman
Yvonne J. Johnson, the Black Lawyers
Association is greatly needed^ "They do
very important work. Even meeting and
sharing ideas is a plus for all involved," she
said. She is also the executive director of
One Step Further Inc., which houses the
Sentencing Alternatives Center, Mediation
Services of Guilford, and the Victim
Offender Restitution Program.
Wanda Bracks Daughtry sees the group
as a way for them to combine their talents
and be of more service to the community.
"We serve as a legal voice for black attor
neys and minorities in this area." she said.
"If we don't speak up, no one else will."
President Walter Johnson agrees that
the group has a crucial role in educating
the public. One issue in particular that con
cerns the association currently is the pro
posal that was developed under former
Chief Justice James Exum regarding the
reorganization of the judicial system. The
Sec JUDGES <>n A6
Prmsldont Waltar T. Johnson Jr. (smatod), is joinod by (Mt to right) Angola Fostor,
sot rotary Camilla Paytan, Judga Pott ho Hinnant, Wanda Bratks Da ugh try, Tratmy
Banks-Coon, and Angola Lhrorman, diroctar to tha Board of Oovomors.
Former slaves share stories
of bondage in radio project
By STEVE GILLIAM
Special to The Chromclf. '
GREENSBORO-The actual voices
of ex-slaves will soon be telling their sto
ries of life in bondage to a national radio
audience through a project on which lin
guist Dr. Jeutonne Brewer of the
University of North Carolina at
Greensboro has been working.
Tentatively titled "Slaves No More."
the project is being undertaken b^ Radio
Smithsonian, a branch of the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington,
D.C., and the Institute of Language and
Culture, based in Clanton. Ala.
Brewer is part of a group of scholars
who are working on the project. They
are examining and working with the
recordings that will comprise the series.
All of the interviews were recorded in
the late 1930s and early 1940s with indi
viduals Who were born into slavery and
who survived. ?
In her office in UNCG's Mclvcr
Building. Brewer works on a transcrib
ing machine with earphones to carefully
set down the actual words of the ex
slaves on her computer. To her. as a soci
olinguist, there's a world of difference in
whether someone says; "I tol' him'Trr "I
told him," in terms of accuracy. And the
stories, even 60 years later, are fascinat
ing. said Brewer.
"I. cannot listen to these tapes with
out being moved." said Brewer. "The
stories of survival from the ex-slaves/the
stories about how they chose when
they chose ? to resist. When they tell us
those stories, it's hearing history from
people who lived it and who are recount
ing it in their own words.
"These are very moving stories, and
the images are very vivid. Whenever you
hear very good storytellers tell about
their lives, the accounts are usually
engrossing. That's what happens with
(hearing) this material. In a very impor
tant way. we gain an understanding of
those times, what slavery was like and
how people managed to survive."
Part of the material came from the
Federal Writers Project, a WPA enter
prise during the Depression which sent
interviewers all over the country in 1937
to locate and interview ex-slaves. Brewer
had earlier analyzed these written narra
Recently. Brewer's work has been
See SLAVES on A2
M *? tight) AJ. Meere from lltwirf Wmmifiiy fM, JorW liWm o# Mffloy Oomontory School, on4 locith McCorS of Bmimwy SdM
?nra ffw Ant to tit on Soulful Santo'* lop ottho SopHat Church SCO Ah tutorial party. |
ly FELEC1A P. McMILLAN
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas. Come sit on my
lap and tell Soulful what you want for Christmas this
year?" This is Soulful Santa's most famous line.
More than 20 years ago Soulful Santa (Wendell
Carr Sr.) made his first appearance at Providence
Baptist Church on Tuscaloosa Street in Greensboro,
where he attends. The Rev. Howard Chubbs is his
pastor. Serving as the center of the church Christmas
play, Soulful Santa found his calling. He returned in
his glorious splendor Thursday, Dec. 18, to bring
hearty laughter and charm to the children who par
ticipated in the Sickle Cell Association of the
Piedmont's (SCDAP) annual Christmas party. The
children raced to hug him, kissed him, rested on his
lap and told him their heart's desire. Dr. Alfreds
McCauley, coordinator of the SCDAP tutorial pro
gram, invited Soulful to the party.
Soulful was glad to volunteer his services to cheer
the hearts of these special children. The members of
the SCDAP tutorial program either have sickle cell,
sickle cell trait, or they have parents or siblings who
do. The tutorial program meets at Providence Baptist
on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:13 p.m. to 4:13
p.m. The children in the program range from kinder
garten to fifth grade. Currently the program is fund
ed by the Cemala Foundation Inc. for 1997; however,
this United Way agency is searching for sponsorship
"What the SCDAP wants for Christmas this year
is a source of funding for next year," said Dr.
McCauley. "The tutorial program is a must because
the children are ill very often." Having sickle cell dis
ease does not affect learning ability, but it often caus
es respiratory problems, swelling of joints and other
complications. However, because of advanced treat
ments, the life expectancy of those with sickle cell has
greatly increased. "Some of our patients are in their
70s, and this it good news," said Jo-Heather Layton,
public relations coordinator. The SCDAP serves as a
liaison with medical centers, as they offer transporta
Ste SANTA cm A3
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